Three firefighters recognized for job well done at DFS council meeting [PREMIUM]

FIREFIGHTERS HONORED (l-r) Walton County Fire Rescue Firefighter/EMT Austin Arnold, Lt. Garrett Miller, and Firefighter James Stolz were recognized at the August 26 city council meeting for their quick work in saving a child’s life on August 11.

Story and photos by JENNA BAILEY

On Monday, August 26, at 6 p.m. the DeFuniak Springs (DFS) City Council held a regular meeting at the DFS Community Center. 

Proclamation — The meeting began with Mayor Bob Campbell reading the Labor Day Proclamation in honor of the American worker. Consent Agenda — The consent agenda was approved as presented. Regular Agenda — The regular agenda was approved without adds or deletions. 

The first item on the regular agenda regarded a request by Lisa Henderson with the Walton County Tax Collector for a fee waiver to use the main room, meeting room and kitchen of the Community Center for a fundraiser on November 9, 2019. The fundraiser is to benefit St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital and will take place from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. The motion carried to waive the fee as requested. 

Second for the regular agenda was an informational item presented by David Harrison of MOJO Sportswear Company. Harrison spoke to the council on his thoughts on DFS and a suggested strategic plan for improving the economy of DFS. Of Harrison’s suggestions was for the city to pursue bringing in businesses that citizens currently will leave town to patronize. 

Executive Requests — In executive requests council member Kevin Crystal provided the council and those in attendance with a report on the 93rd Florida League of Cities conference. The 93rd Annual Conference of the Florida League of Cities was held August 15-17, 2019, at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The conference provided an opportunity for municipal officials and senior staff to enhance leadership skills, learn from municipal experts, share ideas with peers, discuss strategies for Florida’s future and hear about the latest in products and services for municipal governments.  

Finance — For the finance portion of the meeting, Finance Director Debra Gibson requested council approval of a software contract with Tyler Technologies. The council approved this item. 

City Attorney Report — The first item for the City Attorney report was a request for council approval of Special Events Bylaws. The bylaws have three purposes. The committee shall focus on events which raise awareness of the city by providing a variety of events and activities beneficial to the community in a family-friendly environment. The committee shall not attempt to provide events or activities which will be specific to a certain business or industry, however, this provision shall not prelude the committee from being involved with such events that are otherwise sponsored or held by the City or another local government entity, provided the city council has authorized such involvement in advance. The committee shall work with other community groups to coordinate efforts and where possible, combine with other community groups in order to maximize mutual effectiveness.  The bylaws pertain to Special Events Committee membership, typical duties, time commitment, and authority. Following council discussion the Special Events Bylaws were approved with some changes. 

Second for the City Attorney Report portion of the meeting, City Manager Mell Smigielski presented the first reading for the Rental Fee Ordinance which would give the City Manager authority of waiver or rental fees for the Community Center, Chautauqua Building, and amphitheater. The first reading was conducted. The final item for the City Attorney Report was a request for the city council to approve a resolution approving the City Manager to grant waivers, reductions, abatements, and other customer-related matters in regards to water and wastewater. Resolution 2019-15 was adopted. 

Staff Reports — In staff reports three Walton County Fire Rescue (WCFR) employees were thanked for their quick actions in a recent incident where a child’s life was saved. A letter to Fire Chief Charles Burney from WCFR Lieutenant/Paramedic Rich Allison reads, “On 11Aug19 Lt. Garrett Miller, James Stolz, Firefighter and Austin Arnold Firefighter/EMT responded to a possible drowning with CPR in progress. All of your Firefighters were a supportive key in the survival of the 6-year-old boy. The boy was transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, then to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital where he made a complete recovery. Without the team work of all, I believe the outcome would probably have been a lot worse, possibly grave. These are true professionals and deserve recognition for a job well done.”

The next regular DeFuniak Springs City Council meeting will take place on Monday, September 9, at 6 p.m. at the DeFuniak Springs Community Center.