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Havana council ponders Well No. 4

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By Ray Willis

Havana’s Mayor T. J. Davis and Councilman Don Vickers were honored for their 30 years of public service to Havana by the Florida League of Cities at the February town council meeting. Sharon Berrian, the associate director of membership for the organization, made the presentation. The mayor was present to accept the award; Vickers was absent.

Travia Cromartie, representing the Big Bend Hospice facility in the community, addressed the council to make them aware that the hospice organization has been active for the past 30 years. Cromartie announced an advisory council will start soon in town, and it would meet the fourth Thursday of each month. It would be funded by Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies. She stressed that Hospice is a service for the whole family, not just the one who is ill. Town Manager McKinnon said recently his family had used the services of Hospice and that he was personally thankful for the services rendered by the organization.

A public hearing regarding the Water Facilities Plan was held. Michael Murphy of the Hatch Mott MacDonald consulting firm was present to address the attendees.

Murphy reported that the water quality of Well No. 4 is not up to state (DEP) sanitary standards although it presented no threat to community. The water is too high in hydrogen sulfide but could be controlled by chlorination.

Councilman Miller interjected the presentation to ask if the issue at hand was one of two options regarding the well: 1) that Well No. 4 be treated or, 2) that a new well be drilled. And if so, what would be the cost?

Murphy said Miller was correct and to treat the well would cost the town $3.5 million dollars. A new well drilled would cost approximately half as much. Murphy said the town owns land in the east, toward Lake Frances, where the old Boy Scout Camp existed, and it would be a better site for drilling a new well than would city land existing south of town.
Murphy added that grants and loans were available. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) would be a good place to obtain a grant. However, towns had to compete for grants, and it would be October before a new cycle started before grants could be sought. The state has a bond program and funded water plans. Interest rates are traditionally fairly low.

Motion to obtain grant and other monetary assistance for water facilities plan was passed.

A motion was passed for approval of continuing the Interlocal Fire and Rescue service agreement between the town of Havana and Gadsden County.

Councilman Thro updated council on Havana Economic Development Committee to be formed to promote bringing more business into Havana. Nine members would be ideal number with acceptance of member or two residing within five or six miles of town. A motion passed to go ahead and form the committee and for Councilman Thro to represent the council at the new committee.

Town Manager McKinnon reported he was very satisfied with how well the town fared with all the rain it had received.  He was also happy with results of recent tree-trimming in town.