Havana council members approved two voluntary annexations on first reading at their February meeting Tuesday morning. A 7.6-acre parcel on Fairbanks Ferry Road adjacent to the Twin Ponds subdivision and a 1.9-acre plot just east of it will become part of the Town of Havana on second reading, expected next month on March 25th. The larger piece of land will serve as the location for the town’s new well and the 1.9-acre piece will serve as a buffer zone for the town and an adjacent property owner.
The Northwest Florida Water Management District recently awarded the town $500,000 to construct a new well. “That is very much appreciated,” said Town Manager Howard McKinnon. He said the town is also applying for a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) grant of $650,000 for the well. That grant application is due by March 15th.
“Hopefully, we can get that to help pay for it. The legislature has also set aside a pot of money to assist municipalities with water and sewer projects,” said McKinnon, in talking about other funding avenues to help with the well. The old well in the Hinson region, he said, may still be used for water storage.
Council members gave approval authorizing Town Manager McKinnon to sign documents relating to a grant application to help the town purchase an X-ray machine for the medical center, and also gave him approval to purchase the machine. That grant would come from the USDA Rural Development Business Enterprise Grant. The total funding is $66,265 for the machine. The federal grant would pay $62,950 and the local portion is $3,315.
McKinnon said both East Gadsden and Havana Middle School are opening their softball season at Gus Bert Park and that baseball is also coming soon.
Councilwoman Shirley McGill asked about the increase in patrons at Havana’s Internet Café next to Harvey’s, saying they were parking in all the handicapped spots that are utilized for the whole plaza. McKinnon said the town’s police will monitor the situation, but the Internet Café had met all requirements to operate and had paid the required registration fees.
Lt. Ridgeway Stone said that the café has hired off-duty Havana officers to provide security which is also required by law. “The Havana officers were selected by the owners and are paying for their services separately from the town. It can help the parking lot security and provide Harvey’s with visibility, too. We’ve had no problems yet. Right how it’s quite busy because we’re the only one in this area. There are lots of people coming from Quincy,” said Stone.
Havana’s Capital Area Community Action Agency (CACAA) board member Amy McBride told the council that the non-profit organization represents eight low-income counties in the region and holds one fundraising event each year. “We’re required to raise $1.00 for every $4.00 received from the federal government (for programs),” said McBride. That event will be held at the Tallahassee Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 15th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The BBQ Cookoff/PigFest is accepting donations to help CACAA with the weatherization, housing and other programs they provide to rural residents. The group also helps people pay utility bills. Donations may be made to Town Manager Howard McKinnon at town hall, who will forward them to CACAA.