SRWMD Water Permit Still Concerns Lee Town Council

By Jessie R. Box
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Lee Town Council held its monthly meeting Tuesday, June 3. The Council is still gathering information about the effect the water use permit, that JJJ & T Family Limited Partnership has applied for from the Suwannee River Water Management District, will have on the wells in Lee.
Justin Strickland, from the Florida Rural Water Association, attended the meeting to discuss what his findings were after the tests he completed on the wells near the JJJ & T Family Limited Partnership land.
Strickland used data from 2012 as a reference point as a drought period for the town of Lee. He explained that between the maximum drought level and the lowest point the well pumps can safely pump is only eight feet.  He explained that the eight-foot buffer is the savings account of water.
Strickland suggested to the town council that regardless of the SRWMD decision on issuing the water use permit, it would be beneficial to the town to drop the pump 20 feet down in the well.
According to Strickland, the  number four and number five wells in Lee can pump 16 gallons a minute and 21 gallons a minute, respectively, with a foot of water drawn out from each well.
The SRWMD will have the Governing Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 10 at 9 a.m., in Cedar Key, Fl. to make a decision on the water use permit. The council asked Strickland if he could create a presentation of his findings and present them to the board.
According to the Staff Report from SRWMD, the permit for the JJJ & T Family Limited Partnership has been revised to irrigate 1,748 acres with an Average Daily Rate of 3.1981 million gallons with 12 irrigations wells and 12 center pivots. The Average Daily Rate has dropped from the original 3.9712 million gallons advertised in the legal ad placed in The Madison Carrier on March 12.
The staff report also states that the permit contains special conditions regarding implementation of automatic monitoring of withdrawals, implementation and maintenance of conservation plans, irrigation of target areas, consistency with minimum flows and levels prevention and recovery strategies, specific allocations for crop rotations, determination of interference, non-use of pivot end guns and implementation of a lower intensity crop rotation.
The current Town Attorney, Scot Copeland is merging his law firm with another and will be moving to the Fort Walton Beach area. The town council voted for Copeland to make contact with Ernie Page of the Hardee Law Firm, to see if he is willing to accept the same contract as Copeland’s.
At the regular meeting on Tuesday, May 6, the town council discussed the possibility of applying for a grant for Comprehensive Plan Assistance. Jordan and Associates came back to present a proposal for the town council to vote on. This grant will focus on creating a comprehensive plan, help rezone property and develop an economic strategic plan. The town council’s main focus is to help rezone an area of land that is on the east and west side of Cr 255 toward I-10. The town council voted to accept the proposal and have the grant application submitted.
Wrapping up the meeting, the current Lee Town Manager, Danny Plain, brought an offer to the council of Wiffenpooh and Lulu Too leasing space at the Business Complex, located at the old Lee School building. The  council accepted the offer of $125 a month with the lease being from June until December.
 The council voted to sponsor the Fourth of July Fireworks on Saturday, July 5, and the Lee Day Committee reserved March 20 and 21 in 2015 for Lee Day. They also set a workshop to discuss TRIM on July 10th at 6 p.m.
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Jessie Box

Written by Jessie Box