Ponce de Leon City Council discusses citizen concerns, fire department, CDBG grant

By RUBY KEARCE

The Ponce De Leon City Council met for its regular meeting on Jan. 18, at Ponce De Leon Town Hall. Town Clerk Jessica Harris informed the council that she received a call from a resident outside the city limits who had a tree fall on their home during the recent storms. The resident was forced to stay in the home for lack of a place to go. Harris referred resources to assist her with the issue. 

During council member reports, Council member Ashley Johnson informed Harris that a citizen who was having trouble finding a plot at the cemetery recently approached her for help. Harris recommended that Johnson tell the citizen to visit Town Hall and either Harris or Assistant Town Clerk Tyler Nixon can help them locate the plot via maps from the library and/or other resources. 

PDL Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Douglas Remmel approached the council and informed them that the department received 22 calls total for the month of December with a total of 274 calls for the year of 2023, which was lower than the previous 2022. Remmel went on to inform the council that a total of 46 children were helped through the department’s Christmas program, 44 children from Holmes County and two from Washington County. Remmel said that the state is currently working on the grant agreement, and once it has been completed it will be brought before Holmes County for approval and then signed by PDL’s Mayor Shane Busby. Remmel’s only concern is the completion of the Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), that he has brought before the council and is awaiting their completion of the update. 

Harris informed Remmel and the council that the council will have time to review the SOPs and SOGs in order to create their list of issues and concerns, and then there will be a workshop held to make the updates that the council recommends to the SOPs and SOGs. Harris added that the goal is to have it completed by March, but there is no guarantee. The council then agreed on the workshop being held on Monday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m.. 

Harris then informed the council that she received an Audit Engagement from Ben Vance, the same auditor that the city used in 2023. Harris stated that the city’s CPO was happy with Vance’s work, and that Vance did not raise the rate from the year prior, $11,500. The council passed a motion to accept Vance’s engagement letter. 

Moving on, Harris said that South Eastern performed a survey for the Multi-Purpose Building, also known as the Old Gym, without payment on the understanding that the company would be paid once the city received the CPBG grant. Due to the state being behind on the approval of various grants, the company has yet to be paid, so Harris asked the council if South Eastern could be paid using ad valorem funds that would be reimbursed once the city received the needed CDBG grant. The council passed a motion allowing for the payment out of the ad valorem account. 

The meeting ended with the recreation department stating that the city’s first New Year’s Eve firework show was a success. The fire department was able to put on a firework show non-stop for 15 minutes, with nothing but good things heard from the community about the performance. The participating children also enjoyed the maze and obstacle course at the event.