New Faces and Other Updates
After 29 months of manning the city office with volunteers on a “when we could be there” basis, we felt it was time to add an Office Assistant to our staff so that we can post regular office hours. Starting this week, Chris Cushing will be in the city office from 9:00 to noon Monday through Friday. Chris will have a variety of responsibilities including digitizing and filing city records and documents, posting notifications, maintaining the City Website, and providing residents with things like trash bag tags and garage sale permits. She will also be available to answer questions when people call in or direct them to the appropriate person. And of course, Chris will prepare documents when necessary for City Council and Planning Commission resolutions and regulations. Chris is a relatively new Holiday Island resident and we are so glad to have her on board.
Many of you have probably already met our new Deputy Jeff Bilbo. Jeff is basically assigned full time to Holiday Island however due to the fact that the Sheriff Department is still in the process of getting the latest new hires through the Police Academy, he may get called out of town from time to time to respond to emergencies in the area. Jeff has quickly become familiar with the issues in Holiday Island. I told him early on that what he will hear most from the residents is the need for more traffic control. But I told him that my #1 priority is dealing with residents who have no regard for the rules of an acceptable society. What we have found in some of the most egregious code enforcement cases, is that those individuals also have a long history with the law. When we mention to the deputies who we are dealing with, they know all of them. Even our new prosecuting attorney knows most of them based on the number of times they have cycled through the court system. We don’t need nor want those people here unless they are willing to become civil members of the community. Our agreement with the Sheriff Department calls for a 2nd deputy to provide additional patrolling. Sheriff Klatt is still looking for a candidate for that position.
By now you have probably also heard that we are looking for a larger space for the city office. The one room we have been leasing from HISID has worked well up until now. But with the amount of activity going on with the Planning Commission and Building Inspector, it is impossible for others like myself, Wes, or Chris to meet with people or have a phone conversation. We are considering taking the space vacated by 1st National Bank (now Bank 1889) next to the Sheriff substation. Having the sheriff office and city hall next to each other right on highway 23 gives the city a more visible presence. A final decision will probably be made at the June Council meeting.
The City Council will be having a workshop this Thursday to discuss the next priorities for the city. Topics include regulating VRBO’s and short term rentals, business licenses, animal control, broadband, and the potential for a library.