DeFuniak Springs City Council talks finance department restructure, disc golf – The Defuniak Herald & Beach Breeze

Date:

DR. MELINDA HENDERSON briefed the council on Chipley Park.

Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL 

The DeFuniak Springs City Council held its regular meeting on Aug. 14, 2023, at City Hall. Council member Anthony Vallee was not present. 

Following approval of Consent Agenda and Regular Minutes, the council moved on to the regular agenda. 

Interim City Manager Mike Barker presented several items for discussion. 

• Amendment to the public transportation grant agreement increased for the Airport North Terminal Complex Site Development by $1,000,000, noting it would probably be “the last of that money.”

• The paperwork along with an associated resolution to complete the financing from Cadence Bank for two police vehicles was approved. Barker was authorized to executive the necessary documents. 

A motion was made and approved for an State Revolving Fund (SRF) Amendment to a Loan Agreement (for a watermain replacement project). Council member Amy Heavilin asked whether sewer and water funds had been pledged. City Attorney Clay Adkinson said that funds were pledged and noted the amounts in detail. 

• State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Department) and the city of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, (Project Sponsor) entered into a State Revolving Fund Loan Agreement, Number SRF DW660250 AC Watermain Replacement. Semiannual Loan Payments as set forth in Section 10.05 shall be received by the Department beginning on February 15, 2024, and semiannually thereafter on Aug, 15 and Feb. 15 of each year until all amounts due under the Agreement have been fully paid. The first Semiannual Loan Payment in the amount of $5,687 shall be due February 15, 2024. 

• Finance Department Restructure: The Finance Department updated some job descriptions or renamed positions. They are currently looking to add one customer service position and an accountant. The agenda item included supporting documents (some 20 pages, accessible via link from the Aug. 10, 2023 meeting agenda on the city’s website). The documents include a “Summary of proposed changes: 

1. Finance Director (current) – no changes; 

2. Rename Accounts Receivable Specialist to Utility Billing Supervisor – update job description. 

3. Finance Admin Assistant (current) – update job description 

4. Reclass Finance Supervisor to Accounts Payable/Payroll – update job description. 

5. Rename Utility Acct Specialist to Utility Billing Assistant – update job description. 

6. Customer Service Rep (Current 1 employee) 

7. Add one Customer Service Rep (New) Total of 2 

8. Accountant (Current but vacant) 

9. Reclass Public Relations Manager to Grants Coordinator move from Admin to Finance.” [end of excerpt]. The documents also include detailed job descriptions for the positions.  Council member Heavilin asked some detailed questions about positions, job descriptions and pay. She also asked about who would be responsible for getting Accounts Receivable in order and updated, which she noted was of special importance. She also said, “I think there needs to be an assistant finance director…” and that the finance director “has her hands full.” Heavilin also noted her concerns that there might be an “under-budget problem,” and that FICA and overtime need to be taken into account. 

Barker said that staffing needed to be increased and rearranged. 

Council member Todd Bierbaum noted that this is the first such comprehensive plan that he has received, and pointed out the improvements that it implements. “I am in full support of this plan.” 

Council member Josh Sconiers agreed on the need for an assistant for the finance director, but also concurred with Bierbaum’s approval of the plan.  

There was also a discussion of the grant coordinator position. Adkinson commented that some grants – routine operating grants – do not need to be outsourced. A grant coordinator could provide administrative coordination. City Marshal James Hurley supported the need for a grant coordinator as well. 

TIM PARSON VP of Liberty Partners LLC updated the council on federal and state grant and appropriations funding.

Stewart Duncan presented DeFunk Disco’s Doubles Disc Golf Tournament Special Event Application as a fundraiser for Argyle Fire Department 1-day disc golf tournament on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Council member Henry Ennis Sr. made a motion to deny, because it was not the original purpose of Chipley Park to hold this type of function although he supported the fire department. Council member Sconiers asked about the specifics of park deed.  

Citizen Dr. Melinda Henderson responded concerning the intent of the deed to the park. She said it was supposed to be a passive park for quiet activities, picnics, walking and so forth. A boathouse was allowed as well as gazebos. There are to be no permanent vendors, or power wires. She said that personally, she didn’t mind the tournaments occasionally. Henderson commented that the flying discs may be hazardous particularly to the elderly or handicapped who cannot get out of the way fast enough. She added that on the Disco’s website it pulls up the city’s webpage, and Chipley Park. Someone recently criticized her, saying she needed to “get off her high horse because it’s going to be permanent!” There was further discussion of public comment. 

There was some confusion – Ennis had made a motion to deny instead of approve – so the council members needed to respond to the form of the motion. When the vote was made, it was unanimous to approve the event. 

On July 31, 2023, the city received three bids for the old police department in the amounts of $101,000.01, $125,900.00, and $177,004.00. (On Aug. 9, 2023, the bid for $177,004.00 was withdrawn). The property is appraised at $130,000. The council voted to approve going back to the second highest bidder and renegotiate to at least the appraised value or the fair market value. 

Liberty Partners reported on the Federal and State grant and appropriations funding 2023-24 Major Funding Request List containing requests for the airport, water and sewer projects, a new police and fire station, extend Bruce Avenue to 19th St., a pavement condition index, and a downtown farmer’s market structure. 

The consent agenda contained items that were approved:

• Main Street Whiskey Tango Special Event on Baldwin Avenue from South 7th Street to South 8th Street with alcoholic beverages, food, live / recorded music, and street closures on Saturday, November 11, 2023, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It is planned to be an outdoor Veteran’s Day Celebration. Opened alcoholic beverages will not be allowed to leave the predetermined special event area. Main Street DeFuniak Springs will have individuals checking IDs to ensure that only legal-age adults are allowed to obtain wristbands to allow the purchase of alcoholic beverages. 

• The city was awarded grants in the amount of $10,000 each for LakeFest 2024 and Christmas Reflections 2023 from the Tourist Development Council (TDC) Grant Funding. These two agreements are for the reimbursement process and brand inclusion standards to be eligible for those reimbursements. 

Meeting agendas, agenda forms, and supporting documents for items brought before the council can be accessed and/or linked to on the city’s website. Minutes from meetings are also available on the website, defuniaksprings.net

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