Paxton City Council holds workshop for Five-Year Plan

By RUBY KEARCE 

Paxton City Council met for a public workshop on Tuesday, May 16, in order to get public input on the five-year plan currently being created. The first issue to be discussed was speeding on U.S. 331. Jesse Gainey with Paxton Area Sports brought up the issue and asked if it was possible to have the speed limit photo enforced in the area. Gainey said that areas who use this tactic give out a warning citation the first 30 days of being active, and then tickets any time after the first 30 days. He believes that this should bring in enough income for the city to be able to afford a local code enforcement agent. 

Mayor Ann Sexton asked what codes this officer would be enforcing, and Gainey responded any local codes, for instance building codes. Council member Bill McRae stated that the issue would be that no one reports anything when they see it; so there is little point in having a local code enforcement officer if no one is reporting code infractions. McRae went on to say that there are several issues that are difficult to resolve, such as the speeding issue down U.S. 331. McRae and Sexton both agree that photo enforcement would be ideal, but Sexton reminded everyone of the cost factor. The city of Florala wanted to do the same thing but reportedly had to drop it due to cost. 

Sexton went on to explain that not only is the initial price high to buy the camera and have it installed, but there is also a monthly cost associated with it. City Clerk Judy Williams stated that the city only receives a small amount back from tickets. Gainey reminded the council of the recent car wash put on by students at Paxton’s school, and expressed concern about the dangers associated with them standing by the street to advertise it. Sexton responded that it doesn’t matter how fast a vehicle is going if a child is in the street when a car passes, the child will be inured or killed. 

City Clerk Judy Williams pointed out that everyone agrees that photo enforcement would be a good idea, but getting the equipment and having DOT approval to have it installed on their equipment is going to be the real challenge. Gainey said there should be a cost effective way for a small town to be able to install this type of equipment and asked whom he should call and/or write to have this issue resolved. Williams said she does not know at the moment, but will look into it further. 

Another solution for this issue is sidewalks. Sexton mentioned that the Transportation Advisory Committee already has sidewalks in its plans for Paxton. These sidewalks would go down U.S. 331 to Adams Street. Another resident asked if there will be a marquee bought in order to advertise things such as the meeting. Williams said that there is one being requested with the upcoming new senior center, but there is not one currently standing anywhere. 

Gainey then moved the discussion to a library being brought to the area. He had heard about the possibility of one coming but that it would be too expensive to renovate the old Masonic Lodge to be handicapped accessible. Williams stated that representatives from the Walton County Library Advisory Board have approached Walton County Commissioners about building on other property. A member of the public, Melonie Adams, stated that the county has set aside property for a library in Paxton, but she was unaware of the location. 

The discussion then moved to Paxton’s post office, which has been shut down. Williams announced that she got word from Crestview’s Postmaster that Jacksonville is currently working on drafting the advertisement for the position at the Paxton Post Office. As soon as the advertisement is complete then Paxton will receive it for posting. Residents are still complaining about confusion regarding their mailing address, since it is difficult to determine exactly where Paxton is in regards to insurance; for example, one residence is Adams Street, Laurel Hill, Fla., and their relatives’ address is Kings Lake Road, DeFuniak Springs, There is a $75 difference because Laurel Hill is in Okaloosa County. Williams stated that this residence is not a Okaloosa County residence, but rather a Walton County residence, and needs to ensure the insurance company understands that. The resident mentioned that GEICO did not take this into consideration and still considered the residence in Okaloosa County. 

The question was raised as to how to fix the issue of determining the city limits of Paxton, so Paxton residents no longer have a Laurel Hill address. Williams asked if another workshop would be necessary, with the council agreeing while being hesitant of it lasting an hour. City Attorney Clay Adkinson suggested the council hold the next council meeting at 5:30 p.m. and then hold the workshop immediately afterward. That way no time is wasted while giving people time to get off work and make it to the meeting. The council agreed.