There are many issues which have not been completed by the current Town Administration. If they have handled these items, it has not been communicated to anyone.
The Fire Department Issue –
1. Do we have sufficient volunteers to comply with the Insurance Service Office requirements? When a raffle was conducted through Suwannee Hardware, we were told by the Special Events committee that they received only around $50.00. We ourselves gave $50 in a form of a check so it appeared many were not concerned with the Fire Department issue. Yet two Wal-Mart gift cards were being raffled. Thereafter, the Special Events Committee offered to pay for two volunteers to attend Fire School. Since the Town fired John Peeler and elected to take all of the Department’s funds, there should have been some interest on the part of the Town at this time to provide incentives to volunteers as we suggested previously
2. Are we in compliance with the shelters which were required for the fire trucks? We apparently have not received the grant and volunteers put up one bay by Town hall. Yet, the Jasper news speaks of progress but there does not appear to be any.
If we have not complied with the standards required by the Insurance Service Office (and I believe the extended compliance was required by June, 2014) then expect your insurance rates to increase or cancellations by companies who do not or will not write in Class 9 or 10 areas. When checking with our insurer, the cost was estimated at an additional $200.00 a month.
If the Town Administrators would not be in charge of the Fire Department, I can see where the FD would benefit, just like in the past. I think there would be less reluctance by the citizens to even donate money if the FD was separated from the town. Currently all funds are intermingled and the administration robs Peter to pay Paul….like in the case of the PCS check that was to have been used for the H.O.P.E. program.
The Water Tower Issue –
When we visited the town manager he was proud of the fact that upon requesting costs for painting the water tower, he was advised that the actual painting of the water tower would be done at no additional cost because it was part of the contract the town had entered into with the contractor. It was said this would be a savings of $24-25,000. Yet it does not appear that has been done. There should be no surprises. If we have specific contracts with individuals or companies, we should know what is in them rather than being surprised and saying “Look what I found!”
The Swap Meet Issue
For years, the Swap Meet has been successful at the Hardware Store area. Many of the items sold are not of high value and include even some farm fowl and animals. Most of these vendors receive only a limited amount of money for their wares. But the Town decided at the Azalea Festival to Charge each vendor $30.00….and now vendors are no longer showing up because of their fear of another surprise. Many of our citizens loved to shop there, but the Town changed the situation.
Now it is not uncommon for a Town or organization to charge a fee for Vendors. It is part of the money which goes to the General Fund. Yet, the Swap Meet was not part of the Festival and even after talking to Farley about special events coverage, etc., he threw my ideas out stating the League of Cities provides him with all that information. This is the problem. You can charge $30.00 for each vendor at the festival, but the Town should have been assured that each vendor carries at least $1,000,000 of premises, operations and products liability insurance and that each vendor holds the Town of White Springs harmless. Special events coverage in itself is reasonable whereas products liability is not. That is why most food vendors are restaurants who provide food through a trailer or kiosk. Now products liability may not be a factor for works of art and the like, but the food vendors I am positive did not have products liability and hold the Town harmless. This means that if anyone was poisoned with contaminated food of any kind, the person injured would have to sue the town or the Special Events committee.
The sad part is that Hamilton County had to fix the road on Jewett Street because our Town did not care about its residents after the road washed out.
There have been many more projects that the town started and failed or were left dropped by the Town Administrators. If they were going to charge so much money for sewer, why have they not replaced the asbestos pipes in the older section of the town? Why is the water not flushed regularly so that our residents’ water is not brown? Why do we have such large late fees when most cities charge a percentage like one or two percent of the bill. It is clearly mismanagement and paying for other pet projects which do not help our citizens