Public Comment

With that said, we turn to public comment.

Former Councilman Larry Williges is back to the mic. He says he is concerned about moving forward with the YMCA.

A January 2013 water bill from the YMCA in Destin was more than $3,000 Williges said. He is also adding that visitors to the facility has never been strong, with the exception of swim teams.

“Please, if it comes back to you, don’t vote to get the city in the pool business,” Williges said.

With no more comment, this meeting is adjourned. Thanks for following along.

Heritage Run pump design

This would be a request for Jenkins Engineering to design a drainage and outfall pump for the Heritage Run subdivision in the amount of $34,400.

The motion is approved 6-1, with Braden voting against.



Mitigation Strategy

This item relates to the city’s flood insurance and ratings. There’s not much from the city staff on this topic, nor from the council.

So the motion to approve the item is on the floor and approved unanimously.

Comments from the Council

Councilman Tuffy Dixon says Calhoun Avenue is in need of some serious TLC, whether it’s structures that need to be torn down or just properties that must be cleaned up.

Councilman Wood says there may be a need for Adopt A Street folks to come out in force on Calhoun Avenue.

Trammell says there is a pine bore infestation in Destin, which is killing pine trees throughout the city.

She said there are people in the city who don’t have the ability to cut their trees down, so she has tasked the public works committee and tree committee to look at this as a safety issue.

The city’s open house will be held Thursday at the Destin Community Center. Lunch will be provided, Ponder said.



Comments from the Council

Now that the YMCA discussion is over, the room has cleared out.

City leaders are having a debate about the proposed comp plan, more specifically chapter 1, that has yet to be 100 percent adopted.

There is still some confusion about the direction the city is taking when it comes to the Tier System along Holiday Isle and other parts of the city.

We are going to take a quick 5-minute break.

And we are back.

The discussion turns back to Councilman Braden.

He is talking about the language in the comp plan, which he is not a fan of. He said there are plenty of “loopholes” in the document.

Councilwoman Ramswell is now talking about medical marijuana, saying cities in the state have written “preemptive ordinances” about who and where the drug could potentially be sold.

She is making a motion to have the staff draft an ordinance that would regulate dispensaries and such.








Councilwoman Sandy Trammell said the pool isn’t even on city land, so she doesn’t want people to think the city can take over the pool on a long-term basis.

“If we are looking at a partnership, then we need a partnership,” she said. “For 60 days that’s great, and I hope we are looking into this.”

During the 60-day period, the city will be authorized to accept revenue to help offset expenses.

“This is our council contingency,” Councilman Wood added, as this represents $30,000 out of roughly $36,000 available.

The motion to approve goes through unanimously.



The motion gets a second from Councilman Tuffy Dixon.

Councilman Jim Foreman is telling the crowd that it’s been a goal for the city since incorporation to have a pool.

“We looked at the possibility of the city to have a pool,” he said, but the city realized they were not the best entity to do so.

“I think it’s in the best interest of this city to at least give it an opportunity in the next couple of months,” Foreman added. “Then we appeal to the community for support.”

“We’ve got two months now to determine who this thing is going to work out,” he said.

For his part, Councilman Jim Wood says he served on the YMCA board at one point as well, but resigned due to being “frustrated.

By supporting the 60-day period, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation would then be tasked with finding a long-term solution, Kisela said.

“They are the landlord, they own the property; they would have to endorse this lease and anything that happened after January,” he added.

At the close of business Dec. 31, “we would be out of this,” Kisela said of the YMCA.

“It’s very frustrating that we brought something to the community to try and better it, and they didn’t support it,” Wood said.

“I will agree to 60 days,” he said. “If this comes back again, there will be a loud discussion.”

Councilman Dixon says “it’s incumbent upon us to try.”

“There’s a lot of people out there who use this facility,” he said. “There’s a lot of things it can be used for.”

Councilman Rodney Braden is asking if the $30,000 cost will support the facility for two months. Kisela said that is the city’s best guess at the present time.



“We can be a viable partner and we can help that place prosper,” he said. “I think it can be a destination for people to come, just like Morgan Sports Complex.”

“I employ you do everything to help us and help keep this facility alive,” he added.

Mike Raim, a local resident, says this entire project came as a “shock to me.”

He said the interesting thing is he was on the first board of managers for the YMCA, which helped get a facility in Destin.

“It is very important this facility stay in function,” Raim said. “I certainly think, as I speak to these members, I think that we would be very much in favor or anything the city does to provide for this.”

Next up is former Councilman Larry Williges. He is telling the council that the case has been made to keep the pool open forever.

Williges said during the last four years that he served on the council, he represented the city on the YMCA’s board.

“The cost of operating that pool far exceeds the $10,000-15,000 Mr. Kisela indicated,” he said. “It’s over half-a-million dollars a year.”

“We never did want to get in the pool business when I was on the council,” Williges added. “There are three pools, not one.”

Williges says he’s not against the pool being open for the kids, but he “draws the line at the city becoming involved.” He added that the city took a loan out to help fund the costs at the YMCA.

“I don’t know what the assets would be outside of the furniture,” he said. “You can’t take the pool out of the ground.”

“I would rather see some more support coming out of the community… not off the backs of the taxpayer,” Willges said. “What happens come December? Who bails it out then?”

“I think you have to act responsibly with the people’s money,” he added. “I just don’t want to see the city of Destin bear the burden of it.”

Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell says swimming is an “essential part of this town.” She told her colleagues there are plenty of folks in the community who are willing to help.

“There is a desire to keep this pool open,” she said. “We’ve got people here that are willing to do the job.”

She is making the motion to approve the lease agreement.




We now turn to the proposed lease agreement with the Destin Family YMCA.

City Manager Greg Kisela is telling the council that the city would enter into a 60-day lease with the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation to operate the YMCA in Destin for the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

This would cost the city $30,000.

The Destin Family YMCA, as well as the facilities in Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, closed its doors Oct. 10, given a tremendous financial burden that could not be overcome.

In 2005, the city entered into a $1.4 million operation and service agreement with the YMCA for the organization to construct and operate the community pool. In return for the funds, city residents would receive discounted memberships for a period of 10 years, which began on Jan. 9, 2006.

“Our agreement would go through the early part of January 2016,” Kisela said, based on the initial 10-year agreement.

“This is would require the city to operate that facility…” he added. “We’ll need to be able to hire a certified pool cleaner.”

There are also additional costs for insurance and such, Kisela said.

He said they would ideally like to recoup one third of that cost from outside.

The YMCA has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, Kisela said, adding that a court trustee has been appointed to manage the liquidation.

“We would expect that we are a creditor, since we still have outstanding obligations…” Kisela said.

If approved tonight, the city would enter into the lease, subject to approval by the trustee.

After the two-month lease, the Art Foundation would move forward and figure out “what’s best” for them and the community.

Attorney West Ritchie is telling the council that pending abandonment of the lease by the trustee, this vote tonight “should not cause any difficulty whatsoever.”

He said more than likely the trustee will be willing to abandon the current lease so the city can takeover.

A young man from the crowd, Justin Robertson, who swims for fish aquatics, is a high school senior who swims at the facility.

He is telling the council that it’s not that easy for swimmers to find places to swim.

“The YMCA, compared to many of the other pools, is a very nice pool to practice in,” he said. “It gives opportunities for young people to swim, as well as others.”

The next man up is Brad, missed his last name. He is the coach of Coast Aquatics and says Destin is the flagship of local aquatics.

He said they have more than 200 athletes involved and “we need that facility to survive.”

“I think it represents something for the city of Destin,” he said.

The man said they can provide people with plenty of experience in all facets of swimming and pool related areas.


Public Hearings

Next up is the second reading of a proposed ordinance that would further restrict the locations of sexually oriented businesses along Airport Road and Main Street in the industrial zoning district and Town Center Community Redevelopment Area.

There is no public discussion on this, and a motion to approve this item goes through unanimously.

The next item is a proposed ordinance that would prohibit gambling and casinos in the city of Destin. This is also the second reading of this particular item. The motion to approve the ordinance goes through unanimously.

City leaders are now looking at an item that relates to design standards of portable buildings in the flood plain. This would essentially deal with the kiosks and portable buildings along the harbor.

Councilwoman Sandy Trammell makes the motion to approve. The motion is approved unanimously.