City Manager Comments

Ustick is asking the council for an early release from duty. Her last day would be Aug. 11. Incoming City Manager Greg Kisela will be available for duty the following day.

The council unanimously approves a motion to allow Ustick’s early release. They also unanimously voted to allow Kisela to begin his term early.

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

Mr. Ward, who spoke earlier, is back to the mic.

He is telling the council that TDC funding for the parks department is something the city should be able to utilize.

“This is not temporary,” Ward says of the county’s use of city land.

Ward is showing the council a poster board that shows the work he used to do when he had the contract. Apparently Ward operates the Sandman Beach Cleaning service.

“They are sitting around trying to catch up, trying to figure this out,” he said.

“They came in here tonight and gave you guys a big show, but gave you nothing but empty promises,” Ward said. “Do not permanently go into this road with the county. This is not in our best interest.”

Former councilman Larry Williges is up to the mic. He is telling the council that temporary storage wasn’t a problem when the commercial operation cleaned the beach, but now it’s a problem with the county-run operation.

And that’s a wrap for tonight’s meeting. Thanks for following along.

Gambling and Casinos in Destin

Next up is a proposed ordinance that would prohibit gaming casinos and such uses in the city of Destin. This is more of a preventative measure on the part of the city.

Much like the prior ordinance, this must go to the Local Planning Agency for review.

“This really cures a potential discrepancy in the code,” Shirley said, adding that in the existing code there is a portion that uses gambling in the title.

Moody is back to the podium to share that his board of directors are opposed to gambling in Destin.

The motion to approve is passed unanimously.



Sexually Oriented Business ordinance

The council is now looking at a proposed ordinance that would prohibit sexually oriented business in the industrial zoning district fronting Airport Road.

Shirley is telling the council that this could prevent any sexually oriented business from being located on Airport Road.

“It’s a setback from both Airport Road and Main Street,” Shirley said. “These are both content neutral regulations.”

“These do not regulate the content of the speech,” he said.

Shane Moody, president and CEO of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, is up to the mic. He is telling the council that his board decided, back months ago, to take the position that the chamber opposed the strip club in the Industrial Park.

Trammell makes the motion to send the proposed ordinance to the Local Planning Agency for review. It’s approved unanimously.

Millage Rate

The city will now discuss the tentative millage rate, which is proposed at 1.500 mills. The current millage rate is 1.500 mills.

Ustick says staff is currently working on the budget. There is a workshop Aug. 11 to discuss the budget, which includes an increase in the sheriff’s contract.¬†An additional five deputies have been proposed, Ustick said.

Councilwoman Ramswell is talking about the “high priority” items the city wants to address, and is talking about an updated stormwater master plan.

“I look at this as an opportunity to include a higher millage rate to include some of these projects,” she said. “I would move that we bump up the millage rate a little to tackle some of these stormwater issues that we have.”

Ramswell is making a motion to set the tentative millage rate at 1.68 mills. And there is no second, so the motion goes away due to a lack of support.

So the motion to set the tentative millage rate to 1.500 mills is back on the floor.

While he says he agrees with Ramswell about the amount of things that need to be done in the city, Dixon says this would be considered a “tax increase” and right now he’s not on board with that.

Trammell is making a motion to set the tentative millage rate at 1.55 mills, which would ideally give the city the funding to complete the stormwater management plan.

Ramswell gives a second to the motion. The motion fails 2-5. Only Trammell and Ramswell voted yes.

We go back to the original motion, which is approved unanimously. The tentative millage rate is set at 1.500 mills.



Outdoor seating requirements

The next item relates to outdoor seating and how it’s factored into parking requirements in the city.

If outdoor seating is used in parking requirements, there is a deficiency in the amount of 300 parking spaces in the harbor district, while there would be a surplus in excess of 100 parking spaces in the town center.

There would be a surplus in excess of 200 parking spaces in “other areas,” if outdoor seating was used in parking requirements.

The city would ideally use a phased approached to help remedy some of these issues, Ustick is telling the council.

We now turn to council discussion with Councilwoman Trammell making the recommended motion.

The motion is approved unanimously.


Comments from the council

Councilman Jim Foreman is telling his colleagues that he has learned something from the county tonight. That is that the Tourist Development Department should come before the city to explain what they are working on and items that could be beneficial to Destin.

Not much from the other councilors, who said they have already spoken enough tonight.

That’s a wrap on the council comments.

Trash Talk

Wood is making a motion to allow temporary use of the storage facility for beach trash.

City Manager Maryann Ustick said city staff will come back with a written item for the city council to further consider.

Ramswell is requesting that staff look into any mitigation of potential hazards, such as rodents.

“We need to look at the effects it might have in the immediate area,” she said.

Both Trammell and Ustick said the city currently stores the trash they pick up from beach access points in the exact same location the city is currently using.

It’s just the Fourth of July,” she said. “I’ve been here since 1973 and it’s been that way every year.”

With that said, the motion is approved 7-0.


Trash Talk

Councilman Tuffy Dixon, who was outspoken on the topic during the last meeting, is telling Hofstad that when he first saw the garbage piled up it was the July 4 holiday, and that he didn’t get any kind of notice that this was taking place.

Dixon said it looked “horrible,” and made the city look like a “garbage dump.”

“I still don’t like the idea that we are going to be storing garbage like this on the city’s property, but I do see this is a temporary arrangement,” he added.

Dixon says he couldn’t support a long-term trash storage at the city’s public services yard, but on a short-term basis, it will work for now.

He said it would be nice to see the trash taken away daily, as opposed to staying on site for a few days.

“I want to make sure whatever we are doing we are making it better over time, and by better I mean somewhere else,” Dixon said.

“I wish I could have guys out there like ball boys at Wimbledon perched down on one knee grabbing the trash before it hits the ground,” Hofstad said.

“We’ll look to advance this to find a better solution,” Hofstad said. “You have my word.”

We turn to Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell.

She is talking about the fact that she works on the beach and she is able to see what’s happening daily. Since the last council meeting, Ramswell said she has received multiple pictures and even went out there in the past few days to look around.

“It didn’t look like it had been raked,” she said of her most recent visit.

Ramswell says she is concerned about the health hazards associated with storing trash on city property, adding that rodent infestations and such could be a possibility.