Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Callahan to Get State Funds -- but Not Enough

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Callahan to Get State Funds -- but Not Enough

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

In these contentious times in Callahan, even the town's sewer system can generate friction among the town's elected officials.

Callahan got some good news and some bad news from the Legislature last week about its aging wastewater treatment plant.

The good news was another $750,000 made it into the final budget approved by legislators on May 13. The bad news was that town officials had been hoping to receive about $4 million more, with an eye toward building a new plant.

While the budget still needs to be approved by Gov. Jeb Bush, town officials said they're confident the funds for Callahan will make it through. But Mayor Danny Johnson said the town still needs the $4 million.

Johnson and Councilmen Jack Sikes and Mark McAninch lobbied during Monday's Town Council meeting to let former Zoning and Building Administrator Bobbi Boone continue pursuing grants for the wastewater plant.

But Councilwoman Claudine Braddock argued that the town had other options when it came to seeking grants.

Boone, who had been criticized by some residents for what they said was favoritism in her enforcement of zoning ordinances, was fired April 1 by the Town Council.

Questions about Boone's handling of some grants also were cited last year by prosecutors when they asked the state Auditor General's Office to conduct an audit of the town. That audit is continuing.

Boone was rehired April 2, at her request, in a limited capacity. She said she wanted to finish administering the existing grants she acquired for the town. The council rehired her until June, but retained the discretion to either shorten or extend that term.

Johnson said he had worked closely with Boone and Sikes for four years on grant applications for the sewer plant and said it would be a mistake to bring somebody else in midstream.

"I think it's in the best interest of this town to keep Mrs. …

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