CRESTVIEW — City leaders have weighed the benefits of attending the annual Florida League of Cities conference and the costs to taxpayers, and unanimously have voted to send a maximum of three representatives.


CRESTVIEW — City leaders have weighed the benefits of attending the annual Florida League of Cities conference and the costs to taxpayers, and unanimously have voted to send a maximum of three representatives.



Mindful of Crestview’s tight finances, city council members have decided the meeting's networking and education opportunities would pay off.



"If people think education is expensive, lack of education costs a whole lot more," Councilman Tom Gordon said.



"If you run into an idea that saves the city $5,000 or $10,000, you pay for the trip," Councilman Shannon Hayes said. "You can't put a price on knowledge."



The Aug. 15-17 conference in Orlando could have cost taxpayers nearly $1,400 per representative, including mileage reimbursement.



However, Hayes and Councilman Joe Blocker said they would decline reimbursement, saving taxpayers more than $800.



A third representative, if any, has not yet been selected. Gordon and Councilman Mickey Rytman have scheduling conflicts. Council President Robyn Helt was absent from the July 8 meeting at which the matter was discussed.



Council members have thought of carpooling, but Hayes said two or more elected officials sharing a long car ride could raise questions about possible Sunshine Law violations.



"There might be some things come up that you want to discuss," he said. "You can talk about your family and food and the weather for a few hours, but after a while it's going to get boring."



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.