City Manager Comments

Kisela says that representatives from the EDC and TDC will be in Destin in the coming weeks to have an update for the city council.

With that said, we turn to comments from the audience.

Mike Buckingham is up to the podium.

He is telling the council that parking at the ball fields near the elementary school is a concern, but the crime tape has to go.

Buckingham says the parking issue can be compounded by tournaments at the little league park.

“I know parking is an issue throughout this town,” he said.

He said something needs to be done moving forward.

That’s a wrap for tonight’s meeting, so we are adjourned.

Thanks for following along.

stormwater repairs

After the recent storms, Kisela said the city must pay out some additional funds for storm drain repairs on Airport Road.

The repairs cost almost $20,000.

City Engineer David Campbell said if installed properly concrete pipes have a 100-year lifespan. But, FDOT had approved a different type of pipe, which was used and is now failing.

He said these types of issues are being seen in Destin, Okaloosa County and in Bay County as well.

“I think that we are paying very close attention to those patches that are being put in,” Campbell said.

Kisela said the city may be able to get some funding reimbursement from FEMA. He mentioned a repair in front of the fire station, as well as an area near Twin Lakes that’s in need of repair.

During the repair process, Campbell said he has been on site each day, as has Tim Pietenpol, the city’s deputy public services director.

The motion to approve is passed unanimously.

Comments from the Council

Councilwoman Ramswell is telling the council about a concern for Norriego Point. She said the concern is that it has eroded “significantly” since the city has put in the new sheet pile wall.

She is talking about a “lagoon/pond thing” that has been created on the point, as well as people hanging out on the point at night “doing whatever they do.”

“It’s something really important for us to stay on top of,” she said.

Ramswell is also talking about a concern for “lack of parking” at the Palms of Destin.

Councilman Dixon is now telling his colleagues about the amount of cars that are trying to get into the elementary school and the traffic pattern in the area. He says they are using “crime scene tape” in the area, so they may want to consider using something different.

He is now asking about the bid process for Kelly Street reconstruction.

“I’m taking a lot of phone calls” about this, he said.

City Engineer David Campbell said the city opened the bid recently and they have received two bids. He said they will more than likely have a recommendation to the city in early October.

If they accept the bid at that point, they can enter into a contract and begin work.

Dixon is now talking about how the demographics in the city have changed. He is passing out a study from the Haas Center.

“I’d kind of like for you to see this,” he said.

Dixon added that the city may want to consider raising the dollar amount of the people that are targeted to visit the area. He said it should be more in the area of $75,000 annual income.

Councilman Cyron Marler is talking about Waste Management, saying that people can call the company and they will replace the can if it’s in bad shape.






Sunshine Shuttle

Finch has plenty of options he says he could implement in the city of Destin, if it’s something they feel would be beneficial.

“It’s green, it’s environmentally friendly,” he said.

That’s a wrap on his presentation. We turn this back to Wood.

Councilwoman Trammell says “I appreciate what you are doing.”

That’s a wrap on this presentation.


Sunshine Shuttle

John Finch and Alan Roberts from Sunshine Shuttle are up to the podium. Councilman Jim Wood says he invited the shuttle operator here tonight.

“What they have tonight is an educational piece for you,” Wood said.

Finch is to the mic. He is telling the council that he wants to talk about “changing the culture of the Emerald Coast” and making transportation “more of an amenity” by bringing a higher level of service to the area.

Finch says they are one of the largest employers in Walton County with about 95 employees. They have hubs in Panama City, Santa Rosa Beach and in Sandestin.

He is currently telling city leaders about the programs they offer and the successes they’ve had at Sunshine Shuttle.

Roadway issue (continued)

Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell says this “seems like a unique situation,” since a person owns the road.

At this point, there is no debt on the road, Shirley is telling the council. He said ownership has been transferred, but taxes haven’t been paid in three years.

“We need to resolve this issue,” Kisela said. “This road hasn’t gotten better with age; we need to bring it up to standard.”

“We’ll have to work through who is going to have to be specially assessed,” he added. “We know how to do it, we just have to work with the affected property owners.”

“We can’t fix the roads that we have right now,” Councilman Tuffy Dixon said. “I certainly want to work with the people the best we could.”

With that said, this presentation is a wrap.


Roadway issue (continued)

City Manager Greg Kisela says this is a private road.

“At this point, the responsible party has not paid taxes and so forth on the property in a few years,” he said.

Kisela said it would cost about $150,000 to bring the road up to standard. He said they can work with the affected property owners to see if they would be willing to accept a special assessment to fund the repairs, then the city could consider taking the road over.

Land Use Attorney Scott Shirley is addressing a question about earmarking upcoming fees, which is something that cannot be done since they are transportation impact fees.

“It’s a little tricky as we work our way through it,” Kisela said.

The assessment can be paid at once or it can be paid over time, he said, adding that liens would be placed on the property until the assessment has been paid. At that time, it would be removed.

Kisela is telling the council not to accept the road via a quit claim deed, which Martin said could be an option. This would give the city the complete liability over the roadway.

Councilwoman Sandy Trammell is telling Martin that the city cannot make a motion on this item, since it’s not an agenda item.

“I think the city has set precedent on a few other things they’ve never done before,” Martin chimed in, after Trammell said she has never seen the city accept a roadway in this condition before.


Roadway issue

The next item on the agenda is a presentation by Tracie Martin from the CAM Firm. Martin is asking the city to take over Regions Way, a private stretch of roadway in the Crystal Beach area.

Here’s a preview story I wrote.

Martin’s firm manages the Villages of Crystal Beach.

“The developers of this association are also the owners of this road,” she said.

Martin said her company just spent $1,200 to “temporarily” fix the road. She said there are more than 1,000 homeowners in the Villages of Crystal Beach.

A woman who lives in the community says the roadway is in bad shape and that people do not want to purchase property there, due to the condition of the road.

“It’s pretty bad and it’s hurting us, and the city of Destin,” she said.


Millage and budget

City leaders will next look at the proposed millage rate and budgets for the fiscal year 2015.

The proposed millage rate is 1.500 mills, which is unchanged from the year prior.

A Jerry Jones is up to the podium. He is telling the council that “sometimes I pretend to be the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.”

As a homeowner, he said the city is about to increase his taxes for the third time.

“Please think before you tax,” he said. “If you must tax, please tax the right party.”

Jones says he came to Destin to get away from Panama City.

“Don’t let Destin become another Panama City,” he added. Jones is telling the council if they raise taxes, he may have to sell his property or rent it out.

“Reward the homeowners,” he said. “Force the visitors, the renters and the home buyers to pay more taxes.”

The motion to adopt the proposed millage rate is on the floor.

A few of the councilors have clarified that they are not raising taxes, adding that more than likely the man’s property values have increased, which would account for the increase in “taxes.”

The millage rate is approved on first reading. It will not become final until after the second reading.

Looking at the proposed budget, which is $12,920,745, it is up for first reading tonight. Just like the millage rate, the city must adopt this item on two readings.

The item is approved unanimously.