Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Staff Writer 

Jay wraps up, continues projects


July 23, 2020

The Jay Council heard an update on the status of the town's projects, discussed the issues to be considered in a new garbage service and approved salary adjustments for two town employees Monday night.

Community Development Block Grant

Operations Manager Eric Seib told council members the town will apply for a second Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) as soon as they close out paperwork on the current CBDG that replaced waterlines is completed, by Aug. 18.

Seib said if the town is awarded another CDBG, it will be used to improve and clean up roads over the new PVC pipe water lines. Discussion between Dewberry Engineering, LLC representative Crystal Weatherington and Jay Mayor Shon Owens determined just overlays would be used to repave, which prompted Owens to ask if there were drainage problems that may require design. Weatherington assured him overlays would not cause drainage issues.

“When we applied for legislative appropriations, we did ask just for an overlay because I think the majority of the streets would be okay with that,” said Weatherington.

Master Park Plan

A $50,000 Florida Recreational Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) grant was awarded to the town, which has to be used on the playground, as part of the town's master park plan.

Council members discussed using the money to install a splashpad, add additional equipment pieces for a wash station, install American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance equipment and other possibilities at the park for the money.

Garbage contract

With the current garbage service contract with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) set to expire this year, the town is looking at a new garbage service contract. Council members discussed the type of garbage truck (front- or rear- loading) and the number and size of cans or dumpsters offered, noting that current and future placement of dumpsters on county right-of-ways may present a problem.

There was some concern about several businesses outside the town limits and who will pick up their garbage. ECUA and Waste Pro serve various customers and there was confusion about which service does and will service those businesses.

Mayor Owens said the two trash companies may need to coordinate the details between them.

The county will have a new contract starting in January. Council members discussed the implication of customers who have water, gas, sewer and garbage service who are not able to pay the entire bill or are late and how to address the problem.

“I anticipate us writing one check to our garbage service provider,” said Owens. “And then we have to worry about doing the collections.”

Requests For Proposals (RFP) are due to the town Aug. 15 and a bid will be selected with negotiations slated for Tuesday, Sept. 1.

In other business, the council:

-Approved a $1 an hour salary adjustment for town employee Trent Flowers and a 50-cent an hour salary adjustment for town employee Tony Howard.

-Approved Seib and Interim Town Clerk Donna Bullock to be town representatives with Florida Gas Utility (FGU) though a resolution.

-Approved a $250 sergeant level sponsorship for the Santa Rosa County Law Enforcement Appreciation Day 2020 event on Friday, Aug. 14.

-Discussed the current millage rate and the reasons for the town's lower tax basis from 2019, which was $39,294,292, to 2020, at $33,494,013.

According to Seib, almost 60 percent of the 264 houses in Jay are from the 1950's and 60s, and there are less than 10 new homes were built. Several council members said the presence of many mobile homes in the town may also account for the decrease.

“The only way to increase that tax basis is through new construction,” said Owens. “We are positioning ourselves to be a less expensive place to build in Santa Rosa County with no space nowhere to build.”

Jay Attorney Steve Cozart suggested that the town could be helped with redevelopment through a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and council members agreed it might be something to look at in the future.

He town's next council meeting is at 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at Jay Town Hall.


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