By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Staff 

Jay keeping its tax rate at same level

Inspection of livestock market set Sept. 10

 

September 5, 2019



The Jay Town Council approved Tuesday night to keep the millage rate of 2.5 mills, which is a negative 9.6 percent rollback from last year.

Taxing is based on Santa Rosa County's assessment of properties within the town of Jay that are valued at $48,138,187.

The town will receive $133,064 in revenue. In the past year, the town has received $110,742, although $104,144 was projected.

Mayor Shon Owens made a motion that was seconded by Councilman Wayne Godwin to keep the 2.5 percent millage rate. The motion carried unanimously.

Night lights

Mayor Owens asked Jay Operations Manager Eric Seib about the number of street night lights the town is being billed for, which is currently around 196.

Seib said Escambia River Electric Cooperative (EREC) wanted the town to flag all the lights they think belong to the town to reach a total. Seib and Owens agreed the town does not have the manpower to do that.

Owens said he met with EREC to have a better understanding of how many lights the town is paying for and where they are.

“Nobody really knows what the number is,” said Owens. “We want to have a better understanding of what we are paying for. The discussion was if we could give them a map of the city limits, their engineers could number and GPS locate them and we would be on the same page.”


Owens said the town pays about $3,600 a month, which is a lot.

“I have to remind myself that we are the customer, and we should expect some customer service,” said Owens. “If they do go mark the ones we want to pay for, they can turn the rest of them off.”

The council agreed to let Owens pursue a resolution with EREC about the street night lights.

Livestock Market

Contractors are waiting for permits and the Jay Livestock Market is on track for a Sept. 10 inspection.

Seib said the HVAC for the auction barn is coming in and the electrical will be tied in to operate it. The sidewalk has been pressure washed and Seib said a general deep cleaning is one of the final steps.

Council members discussed the name of the facility, but the issue was tabled until later.

“I would like to call it the Jay Community Market,” said Councilman Wayne Godwin. “You don't want to restrict it to Jay Farmer's Market. Some people might get the idea they're not welcome, but you want all events to come in there if it's practical for them to.”

Park Master Plan

The Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) cycle will open in October and according to Dewberry Engineering's Crystal Weatherington, they did not fund FRDAP and are not rolling over projects, which means the town will have to reapply.


Ideas to improve the park include new playground equipment, ground cushioning, a new swing set for the playground, refurbishment of the concession stand and a new walking trail.

The town did apply last year for new playground equipment through FRDAP which scored high enough to qualify their project.

Weatherington said on $50,000 grants, there's no match requirement. From $50,001 to $150,000 there's a 25 percent match and from $150,001 to $400,000, there's a 50 percent match.

“Just keep in mind, two years ago, the last time they funded this, they allocated $2 million and they ended up funding 40 projects of the $50,000 projects,” said Weatherington. “They didn't do anything over $50,000.”

She said the council needed to make a decision about what they wanted to pursue if they plan to apply in October.

There was discussion about what part of the park to improve, and council members had different ideas.

Owens suggested asking the county to match if the town is approved to make as much improvements as possible.

“Let's shoot for the playground equipment and at the same time, let us communicate with Commissioner Don (Salter) about some funding to match,” said Owens.

Weatherington suggested the council schedule a FRDAP workshop to go over the application so council members can familiarize themselves with the process.

 
 

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