Story and photos by RUBY KEARCE
The Freeport City Council met for its regular council meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Jennifer J. Green, President of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee LLC and Vice President Tim Parson approached the board to discuss the current elections. Green announced that an unprecedented 300,000 new Republican voters have registered in the state of Florida. All four cabinet seats are being voted on this election season, with Commissioner of Agriculture also up for grabs; incumbent Nikki Fried is not running for re-election since she is on the ballot for governor of the state.
Parson then approached the council and explained that Florida House Rules require all appropriation requests in the House budget be filed as individual bills. And in order for a project to be funded it must be filed as a standalone bill prior to the start of the legislative session.
On the other hand, when talking about Local Funding Initiative Requests (LFIR) , Florida Senate Rules do not require all appropriation requests in the Senate budget be filed as individual bills, and in order for a project to be funded a LFIR must be submitted by a senator.
A total of $5,812,000 in legislative appropriations have been afforded to Freeport in the last two sessions: In 2021, $1 .illion for the U.S. 331 South water and sewer utility improvements, $500,000 for Freeport Community Center, $312,000 for Jackson Street roadway improvements, then in 2022, $3.5 million for the Marquis Way connector road, and $1 million for U.S. 331 South water and sewer improvements.
City Manager Mark Martin, discussed Freeport’s ever-growing storage issue, and brought a possible solution to the council. Martin explained the versatility and movability of steel storage containers. One set of two, 40 ft by 9.6 ft containers costs $7,850, and Martin suggested buying two sets. A motion to allow Martin to buy up to four storage units was passed.
Martin then explained a plug-in device for vehicles by Verizon Connect, that has the ability to track location and speed amongst a slew of other features. This device comes with a 12-month commitment and costs $16 a month per device for 19 cars. Though it is not in the budget the council agreed that the city should look into ways of funding and moving forward with the offer. A motion was made to approve the offer and move forward.
Then, the discussion of Coca-Cola vs Buffalo Rock vending machines ensued. Even though there is no exchange of funds among Buffalo Rock and the city of Freeport, Coca-Cola is offering up to 20 percent a month, after an initial $50 dollars has been spent at the machine, to the city if they are willing to change the city’s coolers in the concession stand to the Coke brand. The offer also included free printing of banners and signs for city events once they have joined the Coke brand family. A motion to move forward with Coke was passed.
In other news, the council meeting started by the swearing-in of new Council Member Tracey Dickey, to replace previous council member Trip Hope. Tim Ard, with the Veterans Memorial, advised the council of upcoming construction around the Freedom Flame Pool, which has had a consistent leak since the placement of the memorial. It is costing $14,000 to fix the leak. A new flag pole is being raised to commemorate the new Space Force branch of the military. The council has been sent a list of style options for the new Community Center and have been asked to look them over prior to the December meeting. There will be another Movie At The Park, Nov 18, at 5p.m., featuring “Polar Express.”