WHITE SPRINGS — At a June 11 meeting, the White Springs Town Council discussed the future of the old Town Hall property.

Prior to the meeting, there was an offer of $25,000 for the purchase of the building from Dennis Price.

“Currently, it’s a non-productive asset of the town,” Mayor Helen Miller said. “I think Mr. Price’s objective was to turn that into a productive asset. First step is having an appraisal done.”

The council voted 3-2 in favor or having a certified appraisal done on the property on Wesson Avenue. Miller, Vice Mayor Walter McKenzie and Council Member Tom Moore voted for the appraisal while Council Members Spencer Lofton and Tonja Brown voted against getting the appraisal.

With a Food Pantry located in the property at the moment, Lofton expressed his concern about what would happen if the building was sold.

“It does have a value,” Lofton said of the Food Pantry. “It’s helping to feed the community.”

The Town Council then discussed providing notice to vacate the Food Pantry (Bebish Inc.), which is run by Shonda Werts. McKenzie originally made a motion to vacate in 60 days, but that decision was withdrawn. The council tabled the decision and will vote again at the July meeting.

“It gives her time to search for a new place,” Moore said.

Fire department funds not yet received

Also at the meeting, the fire protection agreement was discussed.

In April, there was an agreement made with the county that White Springs Fire Rescue would receive a $2,500 quarterly base with the remaining $5,000 quarterly being a prorated amount that reflects the total amount of calls answered verses the total calls for service.

Town Manager Stacy Tebo said a check request was prepared for two quarter base payments, but Fire Chief Steve Stith confirmed the base rate for the first and second quarters hasn’t been received.

Tebo said it is taking longer than expected to determine what the prorated payments will be. The county is reviewing six months of dispatch calls and comparing them to reports entered.

Hatton resigns

Town attorney Karen Hatton offered her resignation in a June 6 letter to Miller. According to the letter, Hatton’s last day as the town’s attorney will be Sept. 5.

Hatton was hired as the town’s attorney in December 2017 after being the only attorney to apply for the position that came open when Koberlein Law Offices withdrew from that role the month prior.

White Springs was the first municipality that Hatton served as town attorney. She previously worked for the State Attorney’s office before opening an office in Mayo.

The council approved a new contract for Hatton at its February 2019 meeting, which included a 25 percent rate increase.

Police officers recognized

Town Council members spoke about their gratitude for the White Springs Police Department and their service at the Folk Festival and May Day.

“We got $12,360 worth of in-kind services at May Day that didn’t cost us anything because seven White Springs police department officers were willing to work for four hours and not take any pay,” McKenzie said. “And because mutual aid resources had six police officers that worked for eight hours and didn’t take any pay for it.

“A town that has to be as careful about their financial resources as we are appreciates it when you receive $12,000 worth of value.”

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Mike Jones is a sports writer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press in North Florida.