Havana Ordinance #362 amending the town’s code of ordinances, allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. was unanimously approved by the town council without fanfare. Several nearby cafes have had the right to sell beer and wine on Sundays for many years.
According to the Florida Secretary of State’s office the first such sales will begin on Sunday, August 10th because of a state-mandated 10-day waiting period, said Town Manager Howard McKinnon.
The board also unanimously approved the town’s state revolving construction loan program for the town’s new well that will be built on 5th Avenue East (Fairbanks Ferry Road). A pre-construction loan was previously approved for the design of the project.
Havana set its tentative 2014-2015 millage rate at 1.823 mills, a one-percent increase over last year. That rate will give the town an approximate additional $500. Setting the millage rate at that amount will allow the town the discretion to lower the percentage but not to increase it. The board will meet on September 8th at 6:00 p.m. to finalize the rate. McKinnon said since 2008 property values have declined, and the additional $500 will help meet budget constraints.
The town’s final budget hearing for the next fiscal year will be held September 23rd at 6:00 p.m., McKinnon reported. He also said that he felt comfortable in saying that AutoZone will be coming to town because a representative had called inquiring about the town’s sign ordinance and also because properties at 9th Avenue East and US 27 as well as the lot between that location and the Ashmore & Ashmore CPA firm on US 27 are being surveyed by new owners, he said.
Additionally, the vacant lot at 5th Avenue East and US 27 has apparently been sold, said McKinnon, but didn’t know who had purchased the lot. “It will probably be a retail store. Activity is starting to pick up in Havana,” said McKinnon.
McKinnon said he had recently been notified by WTXL TV Channel 27 that they are filming various towns in the region, including Havana, Valdosta, Thomasville and others. Havana’s program will be on Ch. 27 on their early morning show, noon news and evening news. They will be in Havana filming at Tomato Café from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Friday, August 1st. Joanie’s Gourmet Market & Fabulous Café will be filmed from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and the stage and fountain area will be filmed at 5:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Tomato Café will offer a breakfast casserole and more while filming takes place Friday, August 1st, and those interested in seeing how a TV show is filmed are invited, McKinnon said. Joanie’s will serve their regular lunch menu that now includes hamburgers, said Bob Lauther.
McKinnon said he was honored to be selected as chair of the Florida Municipal Power Association (FMPA) after being congratulated by Councilman Bobby Miller. “(Havana) is the fourth-largest utility provider in the state. That’s the lifeblood financially of Havana because we buy our own power from FMPA, which serves 13 cities from Key West to Jacksonville to Havana," said the manager.
Councilman Matt Thro, who attended the FMPA annual meeting with McKinnon, congratulated the town manager for being selected ‘Member of the Year’ at the meeting.