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Front Page July 11, 2017  RSS feed

Buffalo Council closes south end of Center Street

By Mac Shadix

In their Special Called Meeting at the Buffalo Senior Center on July 10, the Buffalo Council heeded Johnny Wilson’s request and closed the South end of Center Street. Wilson owns both sides of the portion of the dead end street that is being returned to the land owner, with the exception of the far end which belongs to Clint Walker. Walker was said to have approved the closure.

“He (Walker) is more eager to close it than I am.” Wilson said. Wilson had jokingly said earlier that he hated to lose the revenue from selling the empty beer cans that visitors leave on the property.

Dealing with the only other action item on the agenda, the council bit the bullet and approved $336,108 in badly needed sewer repairs along Highway 79 East and Railroad St. near Harriman Park. $235,000 of the money will come from a grant, and the remainder from next years water and sewer budget. The city has the money available in a Water and Sewer department dedicated CD that matures next year Debbie Waters told the council.

Other than Wilson who left after the Center St. closing was approved there were no citizens at the meeting which continued as a budget workshop after the two items of new business were taken care of. The discussion of the 2017-18 budget did not get much further than the discussion of the request for a donation of $35,000 for the Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department.

Mayor Royce Dawkins told the council that the fire department wanted the donation to be able to hire a fireman to man the station eight hours a day and to respond to alarm calls. The Buffalo VFD is experiencing difficulty responding to calls during the day because of the lack of available volunteers.

The discussion of the problem then turned to the Emergency Services District. (ESD). ESD 4 fire departments began experiencing difficulties raising funds after the passage of the ESD. The first year of its existence ESD 4 borrowed over $300,000 to fund that years ambulance service. The cost of that debt service and the cost of providing ambulance service each year has prevented any funds being available for the Buffalo, Oakwood or Flo fire departments. After voters approved the ESD tax it has proven difficult for the affected VFWs to raise sufficient funds from public appeals, fish fries and auctions. Flo Water allows its members to chose to contribute to any of the three departments but only raises just over $1,000 per month, mainly for the Flo VFW.

“ I would not look to the ESD for fire money.” Council person Martin Housler told the council.

Constitutionally mandated to aid the fire departments, Leon County contributes $2,000 a year to each of the county departments.

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