By STACY MARTIN
Note: This story concludes the report on the council meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 12; owing to press time constraints, last week’s Herald-Breeze contained a partial report on that meeting.
The finance department approached the council with new Purchasing Policy Updates that would require any department wishing to assist with the purchasing of items for another department would do so under an amendment with approval from the city council. The council approved updates to the policy, budget amendment, and the capitalization thresholds within the purchasing policy.
USDA Waste Water Treatment Plant Reconstruction-Expansion Project; request to use the sewer impact fees until the city receives reimbursement from the USDA, which will go back into the sewer impact fees. The council voted and approved the request.
Security Plus upgrades to the city’s Internet security plan, which will cost a total of $4872.00 for one year. This is a safety item, which under a new resolution made by the council, this funding can be reimbursed out of the safety funds that came from the Fire Impact Fees.
Under budget amendment number two, the finance department requested an amendment for the parks department, about their concessions and storage unit the department is in the process of completing. Money is roll-over that was budgeted and not used for another project. The council approved the amendment.
Under the planning department, there was a discussion of car-safety concerns addressed by council member Amanda Green concerning the protection and use of right-of-way as it pertains to Hammock Trail East.
The engineering firm representative states that PDP requires (that is, any stormwater pond has a slope 3:1 or steeper – three feet horizontal, one-foot vertical), then there must be a fence around the entire perimeter pond, and if there is slope of 4:1 (four feet horizontal, one foot vertical) its not required to have a fence. A representative from the engineering firm will investigate and return information back to the council by the end of the week.
Additional information concerning the Land Development Code (LDC) South 331 Corridor Ordinance as proposed by the planning board – First Reading/Request to advertise for Second Reading- Adoption at Dec. 10 meeting. The council made a motion with four ayes and one nay and approved the 1st reading with the date set for second reading.
The engineering department presented the Commercial Rate Study to the council to determine the adequacy of the current rates for commercial property and mobile home parks. The council made a motion and approved the data presented by the Dewberry Engineering firm.
Engineering also submitted a proposal for Washington Street resurfacing and stormwater improvements with the projected start time to be in March 2020. The council approved the proposal as well as the proposal for Barrier-Free Park Phase I Improvements.
SRF Phase I Wastewater Improvements – CHELCO electric service cost to Hammock Bay lift Station. The city will issue CHELCO a check and then be reimbursed through the SRF project. Council approved the request.
WWTF Screw Press pilot study demonstration – approval of $5,000 mobilization cost, which will cover the comparison of equipment to make sure operating equipment is compatible and operational. The council approved the engineering request.
Under Old Business, the council covered the pending list and looked at the
job description for Admin. Floater-Technical Support position. The council made a motion to approve the job description.
Concerning the Marcum Agreement with their forensic audit, the council made a motion and approved upon replacing the verbiage “plus” to read “inclusive of” concerning the rates plus travel.
New Business; Council member Eddie Farris discussed the courtesy mass emails that are sent out with meetings and hearing notices. The council addressed that these emails are in no way an official notice but serve only as a courtesy. Based on the inconsistency of the times and dates these emails are sent, the council approved discontinuing the emails, except for one last courtesy email that will also serve as a notice of the discontinuation of emails. The public receiving these emails will be advised that official notices are posted on the city’s website along with a physical copy posted on the community board outside the council chambers in city hall.
Council member Amanda Green presented issues concerning Kylea Laird and SR-20 access to the middle school with some dangerous traffic patterns happening in that area. Green asked if there is anyway to notify WCSO to have them be present during peak traffic times. Members of the council agreed to look into making contact with WCSO.
Green also asked about an update on the Christmas Lights; CHELCO wILL be putting the power and pipes at no charge to the city.
Another item discussed by Green is the possibility of appointing development and optimization within several projects that are currently going on and the possibility of authorizing a temporary project manager or utility director to assist with keeping the council up-to-date on current projects going on until the hiring of the city manager. Motions were made and carried to offer the temporary position up to any department head that would be interested in taking on the additional duties with compensation until a city manager is hired.
The last item brought up by Green was to address the discussion of the firing range issues brought to the council earlier by attendee Mr. Clark, because the firing range is only roughly 150 feet from the 500 ft. protection zone of the city’s well located on Wagon Wheel Rd. The council made motion to approve a draft of a letter of concern addressed to the county, and will be sent to the legal department for approval; emphasizing that the range is outside the city’s 500 ft. protection wall and that the city does not express any specific opinion or preference regarding action.
Under public comment, a Freeport Merchant Association (FMA) member addressed the council thanking them on behalf of the FMA and local businesses for approving the Planning Board’s considerations to not go forward with any city ordinances restricting local businesses to monument signs and cladding metal buildings along the South 331 Corridor.
A couple of council members indicated that they were not aware there were any concerns from the area businesses about these ordinances. Council members made recommendations on engaging and working with area businesses to open up better systems of communication with an eye toward keeping Freeport unique in its look.
The next Freeport City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m.