Scenic Walton offers partnership with Paxton [PREMIUM]

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By RUBY KEARCE The Paxton City Council met Tuesday, June 21 at Paxton City Hall. The meeting started by electing a separate cemetery board. The cemetery board will have their own meeting within 30 days. Latilda Hughes – Neel then approached the board to discuss Grit and Grace, a stage-play drama depicting the life of Paxton native Bobby Kemp, as told by Bobby Charles and Brendan Roberta. The show is nearing completion, and it will be the second in a lineup of 11 stories about Walton County History. Hughes- Neel, with permission from Charles, read an excerpt from the play: “Mama and Daddy were a team. Mama went to city council meetings with Daddy. If he got overly excited about something, all she had to do was say ‘Bobby.’ And at home when she calmed him down, she would just quietly say ‘Bobby I’ve heard all I want to hear’ and if he’d kept on she would say ‘Bobby I said I have heard all I want to hear.’” The Council was invited to the performance of Grit and Grace. Patrick O’Neal, developer of the future Black Lake RV Park, then approached the board regarding utilities for the park. The project is projected to have 35 spaces and needs sewer services in order to move forward. O’Neal is asking the board for a letter of availability and a time frame in order to know if the project will need to be done in multiple phases or if it can be done in just one phase. The board decided that the city’s engineer will gather the needed information and get it to O’Neal in a timely manner. Public Works Representative Anna Hudson then came forward with a list of roads and sidewalks scheduled to be resurfaced. Council member Donna Smith, brought County Hwy. 147 to the board’s attention. The road is in need of more than resurfacing and will be used as the main entrance and exit for all Paxton School traffic. A motion to make County Hwy 147 a top priority was passed, and the board approved the resurfacing list Hudson presented. The board then discussed the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application and ways to make the city’s application more competitive. The two suggestions made were for the city council to contribute $25,000 to the project and to form a committee appointed by Mayor Ann Sexton. The grant will be used to make improvements at the sewage treatment facility. In other business, the council agreed to donate a new credit card machine to the Paxton Post Office. And, the council passed a motion to change the monthly meeting time from 5:30 p.m. year round, to 6 p.m. during the summer, and 5:30 p.m. during the winter.


Paxton City Council held their monthly meeting Tuesday, Oct 18, at City Hall. Leigh Moore, representative for Scenic Walton, attended the meeting to give a presentation to the council. Moore explained that Scenic Walton is known as an organization that focuses on the beautification of communities and is currently attempting to expand the their efforts. 

Scenic Walton is a non-profit 501c3 organization that has evolved since the mid 90’s and focuses on landscaping in public spaces, minimizing visual impact of utilities and cellular facilities, and works to minimize litter throughout Walton County. In 2019 the Scenic Walton board voted to start expanding their efforts throughout the county and plans to coordinate with Freeport and Defuniak as well. 

Moore reached out to Paxton City Council to offer partnership for future beautification projects in Paxton. Scenic Walton’s program not only beautifies an area but also keeps pedestrians safe. They evaluate areas in the county and determine where a project needs to be done, like bike trails and landscaping, then hire a designer to design the project, donate the design to the city and assist in securing a grant or other forms of funding.

Scenic Walton’s next project will be on Hwy. 331 from the Alabama State line to the southern boundary of Paxton. The design plans are at a point where the council can view and start giving opinions. Scenic Walton is encouraging the council to participate in the design process. 

Latilda Hughes-Neel, approached the board in regards to the first reading of the Property Rights Element. This element uses similar language as Property Rights Elements established in other cities in the state. A motion was made to allow Hughes-Neel to continue with the first reading of the element, stating property rights will be considered in regards to decisions made in the city. Hughes-Neel also announced that the EAR reports have already been turned in and accepted.

Council Member Bill McRae approached the other council members about clearing the wooded area in the southeast corner of the cemetery in order to expand the number of cemetery lots available. McRae also suggested raising the rates for cemetery lots. A motion was passed to allow City Clerk Judy Williams to contact the county about the possibility of clearing the land and expanding the number of lots. 

A local whose water bill waiver had been tabled in order to ensure the potential leak was appropriately fixed (the council only allots one waiver per citizen ever.) approached the council and announced no leak was located and his bill has gone back down to the normal monthly cost. The council approved the one-time water waiver. Then a Tallahassee woman whose mother lived in the area and passed away in May, asked the council for a water waiver for the mother’s property. The water bill was approximately $360, with no one in the home to use the water. The water had been shut off at the meter, and she plans to fix any problems with the property prior to selling. The Council approved her one time water waiver. One final local approached the board with a water bill of approximately $730, who experienced a mainline break. The council agreed on a one time water waiver. 

In other news Robin Phillips, Representative for Phillips and Associates, approached the board about the building for the Senior Citizen Center. A meeting needs to be held between council members and the architects creating the plans for the facility. The meeting was set for Oct 27. 

Also, a resolution was read by City Clerk Judy Wiliams for a 15 percent increase in water and wastewater services as a way to replenish reserve account funds, which is required for the current grant/loan process. A motion was passed to adopt the increase.

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