LAUREL HILL — The City Council is considering cancelling a 2012 resolution to dissolve the city and turn it over to the county.
One factor that led to the dissolution discussion four years ago — inability to do needed road paving — was negated with last fall’s paving of several miles of city streets.
Following meetings and talks with county officials, council members realized Laurel Hill residents would face increased living expenses if the county had to assume providing municipal services.
Trash collection, streetlights and water are some “buckets of worms” questions that will need to be answered, Councilman Daniel Lane said he learned during discussions with Okaloosa County Administrator John Hofstad.
Councilman Scott Moneypenny said during talks with county Water and Sewer Director Jeff Littrell, he learned, “If you are a city customer, you can essentially start right off with doubling your water bill.”
As for street maintenance, “If you want to see how the county would take care of the roads, just look at Old Ebenezer Road,” city attorney Dan Campbell said.
Though Council Chairman Larry Hendren assigned each council member specific topics to research for a dissolution information handout, Councilman Travis Dewrell refused to work on his.
“Not one citizen has said, ‘Hey Travis, I want you to work on turning off the street lights and shutting the town down,’” Dewrell said. “I don’t spend any time working on the dissolution of the city. I want to spend my time on making the city a better place for the citizens.”
“Can’t the council vote to dismiss this referendum?” resident Mike Hanula asked Thursday.
Based on the council members’ consensus, Hendren said he will put discussion on canceling the dissolution resolution and canceling a planned 2017 referendum on dissolution on the May 5 council meeting agenda.