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Cpl. David Wayne Moss will be honored by a grateful city 20 years after his death in the line of duty. A memorial to Moss was erected several years ago in front of the Williston Police Department headquarters. Now, city council has directed that SW Main St., which runs from Noble Ave. to the public safety complex at SW 1st Ave., be renamed Cpl. David Wayne Moss St.
The decision grew from an initial suggestion by Lt. Clay Connolly that the Linear Park be renamed in Moss' honor. Connolly had made the same request some years ago, but no action had been taken.
The discussion about renaming the park was wide-ranging among council members and those in the audience. Dr. Ken Schwiebert, chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency, said that the CRA had envisioned a name that would commemorate the history of Williston, rather than dedicate it to an individual. Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat agreed, but said he felt that it was appropriate to honor Moss on this anniversary. He suggested possibly naming the police and fire complex after Moss, or designating a specific site in the park in his memory.
When the suggestion of naming a street arose, it was embraced by many at the gathering. The suggestion of SW Main St. seemed appropriate, as it leads to police headquarters, where Moss dedicated himself to the city's welfare.
The renaming of the street will be part of a special ceremony on July 30 honoring the fallen officer.
The city council agreed to disagree with the School Board of Levy County about the compensation of crossing guards. The board had suggested continuing the existing $7 per hour rate, and covering eight hours per day. Two guards spend two hours morning and afternoon at the Noble Ave. crossing in front of the high school; this also covers access to Joyce Bullock Elementary. There are guards at Williston Elementary School and on Noble Ave. at NE 10th St, to secure a main crossing for Williston Middle School. Each of these posts is manned for an hour morning and afternoon.
The City of Williston already pays the guards more than the suggested amount, and anticipates further increases when the minimum wage goes up. Council members would like to see the county's contribution increased.
The School Board is in a similar dispute with the City of Chiefland, whose commissioners declined to sign the suggested agreement. The Board pointed out that the current agreement, which pertains to both cities, plainly states that "the Board desires, but is not obligated, to contribute to the expense of school crossing guards."
According to news stories about the Chiefland situation, Schools Supt. Cliff Norris has said that the state allocation to the county for crossing guards has been decreased by more than 4 percent, and that the city's request for additional funds cannot be honored.
Council directed Interim City Manager Mark Schiefer to communicate to the School Board the council's request for an increase in crossing guard pay, and declined to sign the agreement with the School Board pending the outcome of discussions with the Board.
Council approved the signing of a mutual aid agreement with the Dunnellon Police Department. This simply formalizes an existing relationship in which each department offers manpower and equipment when requested by the other. Williston Chief Dan Davis said that this pact is usually used for large events like the Williston Independence Day celebration and the Dunnellon Balloon Festival, which require additional personnel for traffic control and like services.
The Williston Animal Group was granted a waiver of nearly $2,000 in costs for installation of a water main and meter at its new facility at the airport. Councilman Steve Holcomb dissented.
Modifications to the CRA plan were accepted by council for official public hearings of the resolution and ordinance necessary to put them into effect. The changes have been made to reflect the current status of redevelopment efforts in Williston. The first public hearing will be held on July 22 at the council's regular meeting.
Mayor Hethcoat and City Manager Schiefer discussed the Heart of Florida, a coalition of governments and civic groups based mainly in Alachua and Marion Counties. The City of Williston has been asked to join the group, and, after some discussion, the council agreed in principle but deferred the decision until the membership fee can be considered during the budget process.
Two residents of the Woodfields subdivision appeared before the council. Ms. Edie Niloff requested speed bumps in the development, noting that there are many children and pets who are in danger from speeding drivers; she added that some of those speeding drivers are residents. Council President Debra Jones explained that a survey of the neighbors is needed to determine whether they agree that speed inhibitors are needed. She also said that the city now uses speed tables instead of speed bumps. Ms. Niloff will contact city offices and Chief Dan Davis for further information.
Ms. Barbara Allen wondered why the city does not provide bins instead of bags for recycling. Jones told her that it was a matter of available funds and that the city would look into the cost of bins. Allen and Niloff also said that many residents are unaware of the city's recycling program, to which Jones replied that such information is supplied to customers when they come to set up their utility services. Allen also mentioned the dust generated by the Wise Gravel operation on South Main St. She said that the owner had rebuffed the requests of residents for fencing or landscaping to shield neighbors from the dust.
In reference to the anticipated purchase of a new city hall building, council directed that the option contract be drawn up using the counter-offer presented by the Church of Latter Day Saints, which they've declared to be their final offer. City Attorney Norm Fugate reminded council members that the option rests with the council, so that, should it decide at some later date that the price is unacceptable, it may withdraw from the contract.
The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the city hall complex. Public participation is encouraged.