ESTO — The Esto Town Council approved the final reading and held a public hearing of an ordinance to increase the town’s water rates on Tuesday, May 7.

ESTO — The Esto Town Council approved the final reading and held a public hearing of an ordinance to increase the town’s water rates on Tuesday, May 7.

The rates will increase to $19 inside town limits and $21 outside the town limits for the first 3,000 gallons and $4 per thousand gallons over 3,000 gallons as well as $1 per month per meter for fire protection, $125 for security deposits, $200 for connection fees and $500 for tap-in fees.

The rates will take effect immediately and will be reflected on the statements mailed out in June.

Landowner Brady Well Brady Well made an offer to sell his property to the town for $36,000. The property has been used by visitors as extra parking during the Two-Toe Tom Festival.

Town Clerk Jody Sellers informed the council that the property was appraised at $7,500.

“I suggest we send him a letter letting him know we appreciate him for letting us use it for the festival and at the present time it is not in our budget,” said Chairman Danny Powell. “However, we are interested and if we have enough in our budget by the next festival we’ll make him a substantial offer.”

The council also discussed their current maintenance man, due to the fact that his one-year raise was up for review.

“He does good work,” said Powell. “He’s a jack of all trades and can do just about anything. We just have to work on his time management.”

The council approved of giving him a five percent pay increase.

The council also approved a resolution and supplemental agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Sellers explained that there was an agreement with the FDOT to pay the town for maintaining the sides of State Road 79 within the town limits for $2,533.86 a quarter and they were requesting an extension of their agreement from June 30 to Sept. 30.

“I don’t see where we have a choice,” said Powell. “We need the money.”

The council agreed to look into getting a getting a grant for additional playground improvements at the park.

“We’ve noticed an increase of the use of the tennis courts and would like to expand for more recreational options for older children and teens,” said Powell.

Council members also agreed with Council member Darlene Madden’s suggestion to look into improving the recreational center by possibly repairing the kitchen’s cabinets, new tile floors for the bathrooms, reinforcing the window seats and putting a new seal on the concrete floor.

“Women have the tendency to notice things in the kitchen,” said Madden. “It’s nice that we’ve got a new roof, but we need to do something about the inside because we’ve got these women coming in for family reunions and cooking and it’s just an awful sight. How are we going to get more people to rent out the recreational center when it’s looking like that?”

Powell informed the council that there had been acts of vandalism on the dock at the park.

“We’ve patched it up the best we can until we can get the parts we need and in the color we want because when I went up there to get what we need they didn’t have it in the color we needed,” said Powell. “I’ll keep looking for our color and I’ll also get quotes to see if we can get the whole thing replaced in red or cedar.”

The council approved of moving the Two-Toe Tom Festival to the first weekend in April instead of the second.

“We just can’t compete with Toad Lick,” said Madden.

Council members agreed that it should be mandatory that maintenance workers work a full day before and on the day of the Two-Toe Tom Festival.

Madden also informed them that the Esto Fire Department would be covering the Two-Toe Tom Beauty Pageant concession stand and that additional outlets would be required for B&B Inflatables to return to the next festival.

Further discussion of the festival took place, including the possibility of a new soundman and increasing the entertainment to cover both sides of the park.

Powell informed them that they made a profit of $1,206 at last year’s event.

The Esto Town Council will meet again at 7 p.m. on June 3.