Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL
The Freeport City Council held its regular meeting on Feb. 23, 2023, at the Freeport City Hall.
The city received $273,506 in water and $1,775,580 in sewer tap fees towards the Quail Run project.
Travis Digges, Parks & Recreation Director, relayed the problem the new fire truck had trying to get over the speed bump at the Regional Sports Complex. It sits about 6” lower than the older ones. They had to make a 4-point turn trying to turn around. The council agreed to remove it, cut the curb for handicap access, and mark the crosswalk. Digges also received approval to enter into a contract with Omnia Playground Equipment.
Katherine Gatewood, City Clerk, presented the council with an issue that has been a long time problem: records retention. Records are required to be kept in an environmentally controlled environment, and for various time periods depending on what they are. Approval was given for a shredder scheduled for monthly service. The records had been kept in a storage unit, but that had been released some time ago. The council agreed that more investigation needed to be done into the issue and the matter was tabled.
Latilda Hughes-Neel, Planning Director, reported that Anthony Vallee of McWhorter Vallee Design Inc., is designing the new community center. They have decided on the outside, and now want to have a planning meeting to design the inside. They decided to meet on March 9 at 6 p.m.
Discussion was held on the cost of a service call to repair sewer lines that had been cut or vandalized. A plumber had stated that they charged $6,000 for a service call for such a thing. The council agreed to raise its fees to $4,000 for 5 hours, and $1,000 per hour after that. An accidental cut, or mis-marked spotting wouldn’t necessarily receive such a bill. Water line service call would be from $150 to $200. All contractors would be advised of changes.
Hughes-Neel also stated that they are going to add language on all new plats that will state specifically that dedicating new streets to the public does not automatically mean that the city has accepted them without a written agreement.
Discussion was held concerning derelict vessels. There is a grant that will help pay to remove some of them, and with a 75/25 percentage split of costs. The city would have to pay 25%. There is from $100,000 to $150,000 available from the Florida Boating Improvement Program (FBIP) that may help to remove about six vessels in the bayou; they would need to apply for it before March 3. The request passed.
Phillip Jones of Dewberry gave an update concerning the sewer plant project. A generator that had been ordered was delayed about 18 months and is not expected until June of 2023.