Story and photos by STACY MARTIN
On Tuesday, March 17, the city of Paxton held its regular council meeting.
The meeting began with the approval of the minutes and bills. The next item on the agenda was a presentation from Ronnie Bell with Waste Management services. Bell requested from the council a contract renewal to last for five years. Council voted in favor of the contract renewal.
Next was an update in regards to the city purchasing a new ice machine. City staff received a two-hour maintenance tutorial on how to work on the old machine.
In the mayor’s report: Mayor Hayward Thomas made a request to the council to appoint Keith Ross as an interim council member, filling in for the remainder of council member Charles Cook, who resigned at last month’s meeting. The council voted in favor of Hayward’s request, and Ross was sworn in.
The next item was a proposal to repair or replace the generator, at a cost of $7,599.63, of which the insurance will pay all but $1,000. The city pays everything upfront, with the insurance reimbursing them. Council voted in favor of the request.
The mayor then requested the council to declare a state of emergency. The council voted to ratify and approve the mayor’s declaration of the state of emergency. The mayor made a request for the following closures and suspensions made until further notice:
1. Paxton Town Hall will be closed to the public, conducting all business by telephone (850) 834-2716 or (850) 834-2489 and using the payment dropbox.
2. The city of Paxton regular council meetings for April and May will be canceled
3. The convenience fee of $4 will be waived, and no additional costs for payments by phone. Cutoffs will also be suspended.
4. All rental reservations have been canceled until further notice, with rental fees and deposits being refunded. The Council on Aging meals delivered to the AG building will still be provided; however, the recipients will have to pick up and take home only, depending on emergency standards. The council voted in favor of the request and will continue to monitor and make changes as necessary.
Under council reports: Jenice Armstrong requested updates concerning the lights. Billing clerk Judy Williams gave an update that CHELCO will be replacing all lights to LED and with the six-foot extension, also stating that Patxon is the first city to go to all LED lights and may get an exclusive in the CHELCO newsletter.
Ann Sexton volunteered to represent Paxton at the Council of Aging quarterly meetings.
Williams informed the council of the annual writeoff of bad debts, which came to a total of $4048.19, and added that any customer that left owing any funds, the system will pick them up and require payment before any future services can be activated.
The next city of Paxton council meeting is tentatively set for June 16, unless the council determines otherwise.