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Midway city manager reports budget back on track

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By Robert Allen

Willie Brown from the Gadsden County Planning Department attended Midway’s monthly city council meeting June 5 to provide a second reading of an annexation document for property owned by Greg Russell. 

Councilmember Charlie “Chuck” Willis asked for what the annexed property will be used. 

“The business is already there,” said Brown. “The Greg Russell property is known as the Auction House.”

Willis motioned to adopt the ordinance. Councilmember Delores Madison seconded the motion. It passed unanimously. 

Brown also provided the first reading of a map amendment that would change the designation of a 40-acre parcel of land owned by Rooster Crossing LLC from county conservation land to Midway conservation land, allowing it to now be used for hunting and fishing. 

Howard Smith from the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office provided the council with a special presentation about the Rural County Summit on community disaster and emergency response. The Summit is scheduled for July 9 through 12 at the Florida Public Safety Institute. 

“This year, we thought we’d lean a little more toward the firefighters and volunteer responders,” said Smith, noting last year’s summit focused on school shootings and safety. 

Smith said last year’s event turned into an unforeseen tourist attraction for Gadsden County. So this year the sheriff’s office is making a deliberate effort to promote the event beyond its inherent educational value for 

emergency and 

law enforcement 

personnel. 

“It’s going to actually bring money to the area,” said Smith. 

This year, the event will feature more speakers over more days — and be augmented with recreational opportunities and evening entertainment.

Andrew Easton, a planning and grants consultant, said, “I know there are financial constraints on the city.” He went on to explain the fees for his services would come from funds awarded through the related grant. 

“If we don’t get the grant, how do we pay for the services?” asked Dot Inman-Johnson, city manager. 

“If we don’t get the grant, there’s no fee,” said Easton. 

Madison said, “He did help us in many ways be where we are today,” noting many of the grants for which Easton previously applied have been successfully secured. 

Willis said he was OK with applying for grants — but he said he was concerned the city was getting ahead of itself. 

“When are we going to schedule a meeting for the city council to meet with the CRA board?” he asked. “We’ve got to meet.”

The city’s finances were also reviewed. 

“You have a copy of the financial report that shows we are in the black, as of April — and still in the black according to the bank statements,” said Inman-Johnson. 

The city manager said the police department, the city’s most expensive agency, is now actively cutting costs. 

“The numbers are going in a good direction,” she said. 

The meeting recessed at 8:30 p.m. to allow for a closed attorney/client session concerning, in part, the pending lawsuit relating to the city’s payment for the construction of the new fire station.