LAUREL HILL— The Laurel Hill city council voted unanimously to seek Okaloosa County's help in paving portions of Sunnyside Avenue and Steel Mill Creek Road on Thursday night.

LAUREL HILL — The City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to seek Okaloosa County's help in paving Sunnyside Avenue and a portion of Steel Mill Creek Road.

Councilman Larry Hendren said the Okaloosa County Commission responded favorably to his letter requesting road repair assistance.

"The county said the letter was fine with them, with the exception that they wanted us to add specific streets for the fiscal year," he said. "Then, every year after that, we simply redo the letter simply by adding different streets."

The city would cover the cost of material needed to repair the roads, whereas the county would provide equipment and labor, under Laurel Hill's proposal.

Click here to see the resolution, in full.

Sunnyside Avenue, from State Road 85 to 3rd Street, was the first road added to the letter.

Councilman Robby Adams proposed that a portion of Steel Mill Creek Road be added.

The council then voted to add Sunnyside and the portion of Steel Mill Creek Road to the letter.

"I make a motion that we add Steel Mill Creek on, if there is enough in our budget," Councilman Clifton Hall said.

The council during a workshop last month discussed using $83,000 from a reserve fund on road repairs.

If the two streets extend so much that would cost that amount, the matter would be raised at the next council meeting, Hendren said.

Engineer may also write grants

In addition, Thursday, council members voted in favor of advertising for an engineer who could aid grant writing of a Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG.

The council last January voted to pursue the grant, which would give the city $600,000 for road repairs.

The city came close to obtaining the grant money last year, but fell short after a permit missing from the application eliminated Laurel Hill from consideration.

Hall suggested searching for an engineer capable of grant writing, which would preclude the need for a grant writer, too.

"We would be killing two birds with one stone," he said.

Candidates with grant writing experience would have an advantage in the selection process, Mayor Joan Smith said.

The council decided to give each finalist a chance to make a presentation at the next scheduled council meeting, 6 p.m. April 4 at City Hall. 

Budget approval

The council voted to approve its budget, which includes moving $83,030 from reserved funds to a checking account for fuel tax revenue. The account's funds would be used for roadwork.

Another change included adding $200 to the payroll budget for each fiscal year.

"The $200 is covering the 2 percent increase in costs in Medicare and Social Security costs," City Clerk Nita Miller said.

Council members also unanimously voted to change council meetings to 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. The council had been meeting on the first Tuesday.