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Airport will see vast improvements at minimal cost to the city

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

With the resignation of one city councilman and two more on vacation, Tuesday’s Williston City Council meeting was brief and to the point.

After calling for a special election, the council passed two resolutions that will be improvements and enhancements to the Williston Airport. Councilors Elihu Ross and Charles Goodman voted via a telephone conference call.

The first project, valued at over $3.2 million, will only cost the city about $42,000 and will improve Taxiway A.

The bulk of the projects funding will coming from the FAA and the FDOT.

The other project, aimed at the design and rehabilitation of Runway 14/32 will cost $950,000 and is funded by a grant from FDOT. 

In other business, street repaving by V.E. Whitehurst and Sons is set to begin after the award was approved and the contract signed.

Councilor Jason Cason noted that NW 2nd Avenue, what is considers to be the worst street in the city, is not in the  repaving package.

That street is county owned and maintained. Councilor Norm Fugate suggested residents contact their county commission, Danny Stevens, and voice their concern about the condition of the road.

Fugate, who lives on that street, laughed, “It’s in pretty bad shape but it keeps the speeders down.”

 During public participation, Avis Seabrook asked the council what it planned to do to bring down utility rates in Williston.

Cason said residents should see a small decrease on the solid waste portion of their bills, now that the city has a new provider.

As for the electric portion, Cason said  the city could either request proposals for electricity providers, negotiate with the current wholesaler or decrease the amount of money from utilities that is channeled into the general fund.

Mayor Gerald Hethcoat said he thought negotiating with the current provider may be best for the city consumers.

Fugate said the city should reduce the markup it has on the wholesale rate. Currently it’s about a 20 percent profit margin, he said, and most cities are 10 percent or less.

If there are cuts to the general fund, he said, the city’s residents should decide what cuts in services they are willing to give up.

 “It’s a balancing act,” Goodman said.