The Town of Branford had their monthly meeting at Town Hall on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
After the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, the council approved the minutes of last month’s meeting and reviewed the financial report and approved accounts payable.
Code enforcement report
First order of business to come up was Matt Tyre with the code enforcement report.
“I wanted to fill you in and let you know things are going very nicely,” said Tyre. “We have about 50 percent compliance on the notices on the ‘clean up.’”
Tyre was referring to owners of cars that have left them unattended and unkempt which became a public eyesore.
Tyre continued that the ownership of some cars was still questionable and they were waiting until it was resolved. He added that the owners on several properties have been contacted and only one hasn’t responded yet.
“So, we’re moving towards an end on that,” said Tyre. “And, I’ve opened up the proverbial can of worms.”
Tyre warned council that they may soon see some of their constituents as they are pressing on with the issue of unregistered vehicles in town. He said they’re looking at 20 to 25 vehicles currently that within the next 30 to 60 days will either be registered or moved.
“We’ve still got some that are in question as to how long they have to be there or how often they have to be moved,” said Tyre. “That’s where the questioning is going to come in before you or (Town Attorney Kevin Daly).”
Tyre said next on the agenda is citing for those individuals that don’t comply.
“We’re all on schedule and everything is going well,” said Tyre. Tyre asked if there was anything else that needed to be addressed.
“We got some old houses around here,” said Mayor Don Owens.
Tyre agreed and told them that there were a couple of more houses added that have gotten notices on complying to clean up and/or to make necessary repairs.
Councilman Charlie Daniel asked Daly what the time limit was for the vehicles. Daly said that he would look into the matter.
Tyre and council both wanted to clarify what be classified as a collectable vehicle and a “hunk of junk”.
“We’re talking about the ones that sit out there and rust,” said Daniel. “You know there’s a difference between a collector and ones that are all banged up.”
Tyre agreed and reiterated that appearance and intent of the vehicle would be taken into consideration. Also briefly addressed was the issue of cars that needed mufflers or new mufflers as they are a nuisance and disturbance of the peace.
Fire department report
Branford Fireman Terry Burgess opened with remembering the tragic fire recently at Branford Villas. He said that it went as best as it could have. Under the circumstances, he said it could have been much worse.
“Being able to contain it to mainly that one apartment,” said Burgess. “With the roof damage, not including the smoke and water damage, we got real lucky on that.”
Councilwoman Shirley Clark brought up that she wasn’t sure, but thought that Branford Fire Department wasn’t mentioned in the paper that they were present and helping to contain and put out the fire. She wanted to personally thank him and the men for their service to the town. Burgess said that the online article did mention them.
Burgess wanted to let council know that they were thankful to Hardee’s and McDonald’s for contributing food to the firemen during that time as they were dealing with the fire for several hours.
Heritage House update
Clark said that they will be using the Heritage House soon but she’s not sure on the date of the event. She’s leaning towards April 19, but that date could change at some point.
“We talked to Tallahassee and some various people to have this event,” said Clark. “Were working on that.”
Town Clerk Donna Hardin was up next and wanted to let everyone know that the town had been awarded a grant.
“Today we signed the agreement where we got awarded the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) that we applied for,” said Hardin.
She also mentioned returning from Lake Mary where she attended what she called her first, “out of my normal conference schedule board meeting” for the Florida Association of City Clerk’s as the northeast director.
“That went well and we are finally starting our budgets to where we’re not as far in the red as we were when we were an association,” said Hardin. “I thank the council for allowing me to serve as the northeast director and represent this area.”
Carolyn Saft of the Suwannee Extension Office of the Sparkleberry Native Plant Society wants to use Hatch Park Community Center at no cost for any of their upcoming functions this year.
“Just to let you know we are providing services to the community,” said Saft. “We have monthly programs and field trips, tree give-a-ways.”
Daniel said that he thought it was a good idea and entertained a motion to allow the society to use the park. The vote was unanimous.
Revision to personnel policy
Some revisions were to be made to the personnel policy that was currently in place as there was little to no difference in full-time and part-time benefits. It was agreed that it would be re-written and voted upon.
Lastly, Councilwoman Alice Childress read a proclamation that stated the Town of Branford recognizes military men and women and their families by declaring that April 17 would be Military Family and Community Covenant Day. The proclamation was a heart-felt reminder of the courage and sacrifice that military personnel and their families give to us to secure our country’s freedom. The council were all in agreement to sign the proclamation.