LAUREL HILL — City officials on Tuesday will move toward placing a dissolution ordinance on a future ballot.
Two items on the meeting agenda pertain to a proposed ordinance that would allow Laurel Hill residents to vote on the whether the north community should remain a city.
One item involves discussing a fact sheet that would list pros and cons of dissolving Laurel Hill.
Council Chairperson Larry Hendren is working on the fact sheet, which would be mailed to residents after he gets fellow city and Okaloosa County officials’ approval.
"This will give the citizens insight before they make a decision on whether or not they want a dissolution," he said.
Residents would receive the information in advance of a March 2014 referendum.
In addition, the council on Tuesday will discuss creating a timeline for placing the ordinance on next year’s ballot. The timeline would include circulating the fact sheet and the scheduling the ordinance’s first and second readings before the matter appears on the ballot.
The council at a December town hall heard residents’ input on the matter. Most attendees favored dissolution.
Those who support such an ordinance hope dissolution would lead to improving the city's roads, particularly Steel Mill Creek Road and portions of New Ebenezer Road.
The timeline includes possible application for federal and state grants that would help fund road repairs.
The council on Tuesday will discuss possibly applying for a $600,000 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant for road repairs, Hendren said.
The council has unsuccessfully applied for the grant for the past two years.
"(Laurel Hill) would have most likely received the grant due to the amount of points they earned during the application process," Sonya Negley, president of Green Consulting and Solutions LLC, said.
However, the city lost consideration in 2012 for not having a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit submitted with the grant application.
"That money could provide a lot of street repair," Hendren said. "I think everyone in the council will be for it."
Should the city get the grant, Hendren suggested the grant would provide timelier road improvements than the county could provide.
"It would be awhile before the county gets out here to repair our streets," Hendren said.
If a dissolution ordinance passes, roadwork wouldn't immediately happen, Okaloosa County officials have said.
"It’s not like we show up the next day and start repairing the roads," Okaloosa County Public Works Director John Hofstad said at the December town hall. "We have a process we have to go through."
Protocol would require county commissioners’ consideration and approval of the project and its funding.
Want to go?
The Laurel Hill City Council will meet 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 8209 State Road 85 N.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.