CRESTVIEW — The Hub City may have representation at this year’s Florida League of Cities annual conference, despite council members’ absence from last year’s event.


CRESTVIEW — The Hub City may have representation at this year’s Florida League of Cities annual conference, despite council members’ absence from last year’s event.



City leaders decided not to attend the 2012 conference due to budgeting concerns, but council president Robyn Helt said the Aug. 15-17 Orlando event is too important to miss.



"I feel that (league conferences) are a very vital part of city representation ... municipal leaders have opportunities to meet with vendors and service providers and learn about different issues affecting municipalities," she said.



Helt said she has shared energy-saving and cost-cutting tips with Public Services director Wayne Steele following past conferences.



Councilman Shannon Hayes said he would like to learn other cities’ tips from the conference, but raised concerns about funding. Council members Mickey Rytman and Joe Blocker shared his concerns.



City clerk Betsy Roy offered to present the council with a listing of travel approximation, hotel costs and registration fees during the council’s July 8 meeting,6 p.m. at city hall.



If city leaders attend the conference, Helt said the council should consider taxpayers when traveling.



"It made sense to me that you would carpool to drive down there, and that mileage (reimbursement) would be paid to one person," she said. "That would be better stewardship over the taxpayer's dollar and resources."



In the past, council members drove separately to avoid the appearance of violating state open meetings laws.



"The council and the public (have) been briefed by the First Amendment Association ... that two or more council members can breathe the same air, attend the same functions ... and not break the Sunshine Law," Helt said.    



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.