Citizens from the Floor at the May 7th Workshop, Part one.

Not knowing that we haven’t money to spare in the Town of White Springs, next came all of the ideas of where we can spend more money.  As Joe Stated, this was done eight years ago and look at where we are today, the same ideas are being presented.   Okay, I am so happy for our new leadership in our Council, but please, transparency means telling everyone where we stand and what they can expect in possible increased taxes, water and sewer rates, and a limited General Fund since we no longer can use LOFT funds to pay salaries and attorneys.  If our new council does not explain this frankly to the Citizens who do not understand, they will be blamed for the Bullard, Lofton mistakes of the past and we do not want that.

Randy Madison said the Town should place signage for the various biking trails and the river, showing every spot on Highway 41.  He said it will assist Eco Tourism and the cost for all the larger sign standards (The bike club’s signs are too small) would be $15,000 with the Major Map of all trails costing $2,000 of that.  Randy’s wife could assist with the signs.

Dennis Price stated that he has done Maps for 40 years.  He feels the Town should creat offices and that SHE is a great idea for offices (obviously he doesn’t understand what it will cost the citizens, of course).  He then explained how much money he placed into his property  (residence/business) and he is disgusted with the use of the Old Jail and doesn’t believe in the current concept.  Mayor Miller stated that the Old Jail owned by the Town is now on a month by month lease (since April) rather than on a yearly basis.  He said the grass isn’t cut and it makes his expensive property look bad.  We need to offer the Old Jail as a place for businesses.

Dennis Price complained about our not handling Zoning LDR’s.  He said we should do one and we have to do it.  All letters should be sent out to the owner then move on the next problem.  The Business District is not properly occupied.  Empty houses which the owners do not take care of and they need to pay the same taxes he does.  He said these houses are an eyesore and that the old jail is not properly mowed and the fencing is inside of the property line and the Staff needs to look at it and take care of it and move the fence on the property line.  The Town needs to lease it or have someone purchase it.  How legally we can do it has to be determined per Mayor Miller and with the first notice for the staff to enforce.  You will recall that our Code Enforcement officer currently is leasing the old jail for no money.  We don’t even know what she (Shonda Werts) is doing for the people of the Town with her 501 3 (c) and she couldn’t even answer questions as to when the building was open to provide items to the needy.  We have no idea who is paying the utilities (electric, water, etc).

Mayor Miller also stated that not only SHE is possible for offices but the Old Dollar General Store which Ivan Udell owns under the Black Bay Seafood Company which will be reestablished and that there are spaces for 3–4 offices.  She suggested speaking to the owner because it is his goal to reestablish Black Bay as well as leasing additional space.

Mayor Miller stated at one time there was $20,000 for Economic Development, but that went away without council approval.  She wishes to know where the $20,000 went. She wishes to see the Barnett Track developed for Eco Tourism and the Land belongs to the Town.  She would like to identify private sector partners who are willing to work with the Town to build trails, cabins, yurts and lodging opportunities on the 140 acres. These 140 acres may not be sold but have been given to the Town for economic development.  It requires infrastructure and it needs to be cleaned up so Developers can look at it.  It would be perfect for restaurants and shops because when people come to White Springs, there is no place to stay so that they spend another night.  There are only 5 cabins in Stephen Foster State Park.  She said we need partners and the Department of Transportation Application doesn’t look that Tough. It was suggested to go to Susan Ramsey of the Hamilton County Develop Authority and Mayor Miller suggested Glen Harter who has seven hotel projects ongoing and he would be a resource for White Springs.

Manny Perez of Stephen Foster State Park liked the ideas and said that we can partner together and suggested Edwin Cook of Water Management.

We now have new owners for the Suwannee River Motel, who state they have water but no sewer.  We also have Scott Gay who owns a motel who has lost money for the second year in a row because the Town has not provided Sewer and Water in that area of town and that is why Woody Woodard de-annexed. Scott Gay pays the same millage rate as those of us who have sewer and water and yet the Town has not seen fit to do anything about the situation.  We need to straighten this out because seriously, the Folk Festival brings people from everywhere but there is insufficient lodging and here we have two motels, one with water and one not operating.

Karin for the blog

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