Freeport City Council meeting discussed new Freeport Government Complex phased master plan. [PREMIUM]

MAYOR RUSS BARLEY at the Aug. 22 Freeport City Council meeting.

Story and photo by STACY MARTIN 

The City of Freeport held its regular council meeting on Thursday, August 22. The council meeting began with the approval of the consent agenda with additions. 

Staff reports began with updates from the clerk’s office. The clerk’s office informed the council on new employee/intern and projects completed. 

The Planning and Zoning department presented several issues addressed to the council. 

First was a request from Wags Boutique for the allowable one time, one-year extension for their expansion project. The boutique has been set back due to last year’s hurricane. The council voted to grant the extension. 

Next item presented was a review of the master plan from the City Facilities Planning Committee on the Freeport Government Complex Master Plan. The project will total 4,000 sq. ft. and will include expansion of City Hall offices, council chambers, and parking lots with road entrances both from SR-20 and Business 331.  he project will also include a government building to include a sheriff’s office, a new community center, and expansion of current nature walk. The project expansion will not disturb or relocate the current Veterans Memorial park or the children’s park.  

The council then reviewed the next item on the agenda, discussing a resolution for the expansion of the Freeport Library. The resolution would approve to go forward to apply for grants for the project. The council agreed under the conditions that a few sentences be removed from the resolution that would hold the city accountable for any matching grant funds not secured.

The council then made a motion for the second reading of two ordinances concerning the Barrier-free Park. The ordinances serve to change the zoning and land use from its current commercial zone to public service. 

Under the legal department, the ordinance read for the adoption of properties annexation into the city limits. 

The water department requested approval to replace an engine on a city vehicle and reviewed two meter change-out contracts with Core & Main and Vanguard Utility Services. The council made and passed a motion granting the vehicle service request and to contract with Core & Main for utilities. 

Under the Parks Department, the request was made and granted to focus on Pickle Ball courts for the complex. The council also decided to go forward seeking grants for additional services for the park including a possible skate park. The council voted on going forward with steps to secure points to apply for federal grants for the development project.

Under new business, Council member Amanda Green brought up the need to change the phone lines to include extensions from all departments and to redirect some of the existing extensions. Green also discussed a shared Outlook Calendar with all the council members and departments. The council agreed to go forward with both suggestions. 

Council member Elizabeth Haffner brought up the discussion with the council concerning the contract with the county’s Waste Management, with interest to move to a more long-term commitment instead of the current contract schedule. The committee agreed that their current contract is working and not to move forward with any further discussions on their agreement with the county.

The next regular council meeting will be held on Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. at the Freeport City Hall.