ESTO — The Town of Esto discussed the upcoming Water Rate Ordinance during their monthly meeting held on Tuesday, March 5, which would increase the water rates for those using water provided by the Town of Esto.

ESTO — The Town of Esto discussed the upcoming Water Rate Ordinance during their monthly meeting held on Tuesday, March 5, which would increase the water rates for those using water provided by the Town of Esto.

Esto Town Attorney Jeff Goodman suggested a few adjustments to the ordinance and reviewed the procedure for introducing a new ordinance.

One adjustment was that the town put out a notice requesting compliance in 90 days.

“It doesn’t have to be 90 days,” said Goodman. “I just find this is the standard amount of days used for most municipalities I’ve worked with.”

Goodman explained that in order to adopt a new ordinance, the best procedure to follow was to put a notice in the paper before the next meeting, hold a public hearing and first reading, notice it again for the next meeting and hold another public hearing followed by a second reading and approval of adoption.

“This is provided so that the public has plenty of opportunity to give their input in the matter,” said Goodman. “This also gives you the chance to hear the public and give them two chances to speak their piece.”

The council members agreed to put in a public notice to have the first ordinance read and public hearing at their next scheduled meeting in April and the second and final reading and public hearing at the meeting scheduled in May.

Town Clerk Jody Sellers informed the council that she had received an invoice from their auditor for $10,000 for his services.

“He quoted me an estimate of between $6,000 and $7,000,” said Sellers. “Now he’s changed his mind and is requesting $10,000.”

Goodman said there wasn’t much he could do from a legal standpoint because it was only an estimate and not a set figure given and that there was no contract to bind that price.

“If you don’t protect yourself from the front end you can’t protect yourself in the back end,” said Goodman. “This isn’t a legal issue, it’s an issue with an employee; someone you have hired to do a job hasn’t provided the services required. I suggest you send him a letter telling him that he hasn’t provided his service in a timely manner and then tell him what you’re willing to pay.”

Goodman then advised them to have all their documentations in order to prove he had ample notification of the due dates of his work and from what he knew, Goodman said that the council had a favorable chance in getting the matter resolved in a positive manner.

The council agreed to draft a letter stating insufficient services and requesting the return of owed files and to make necessary contacts to hire a new auditor, this time under the prerequisite of having a contract as suggested by Goodman.

Sellers said the town had received a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection stating that all the requirements to get the water system up to code was almost complete, but the last requirement was also the most expensive.

“We need to paint the water tower and it needs to be done by April 2014,” said Sellers.

Town Council President Danny Powell said that DEP has worked with the town before and it was possible to get an extension.

“If you show you’re working to make progress they will work with you,” said Goodman.

The council members agreed to look into the request of a resident to put in a new backstop to be built at the town’s park at no charge to the town.

The council also agreed to look into resident Brady Well’s offer to sell his property to the town, which has been used by visitors as extra parking during the Two-Toed Tom Festival.

Powell agreed to council member Darlene Madden’s request for scaffolding for the soundman to use at the Two-Toed Tom Festival.

Powell also requested that their water meter readers log their meter readings in a log on a regular basis so that the town’s water operator can monitor and record any major changes.

The council agreed to inquire the Florida League of Cities on behalf of an employee in regards to Workman’s Comp.

“The employee followed proper procedures in regards to Workman’s Comp and we should contact our insurance provider to see what needs to be done now,” said Powell.

Sellers informed the council that they had received several complements of the fence donated to the town near the pond.

“Someone donated that fence in response to a concerned parent about their kids playing too close to the pond,” said Sellers. “It’s so nice that I’ve even seen people using it as a backdrop to take pictures.”

Madden gave an update on the progress of the Two-Toed Tom Festival.

For the car show she had received several calls from participants and that she found someone willing to judge, provide trophies, a sound system with a DJ and was also willing to “hook up” with other car shows for additional support.

She said someone was willing to put in the work to add additional power to certain areas if the town was willing to provide wire and a trencher.

Powell and council member James Daniels agreed to donate the wire and to look into making the needed adjustments so that they can rent a trencher for $150 and have the whole procedure done in one day.

Madden informed the council that there was someone donating handicap signs for parking, four to six parking signs and possibly a couple of banners in exchange for advertising in the event’s flier.

“There’ll also be inflatable slides and we’ve got plenty of vendors coming in,” said Madden. “Everything is set up for that morning’s opening ceremonies and we’ve got the Holmes County JROTC coming as well. Everything is coming together quite nicely.”

She also said that she had used the Town’s Sam’s Club card to purchase items for the Two-Toed Tom Beauty Pageant concession stand.

The next scheduled meeting for the town council is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at the Esto Town Hall.