Former Gulf Breeze City Manager Presents His Ideas To Save Century

July 9, 2019

The Century Town Council held a workshop meeting Monday evening with former Gulf Breeze City Manager Edwin “Buz” Eddy who has offered his consulting services to help the town solve the numerous problems identified in a recent report.

Eddy recommended the council take immediate steps on two fronts. First, he said the council should begin work on creating their budget for the new fiscal year that starts October 1. And secondly, he said the town should strive to get their gas, water and sewer services profitable.

“The very first issue in my thinking is all hands on deck, this is what we are going to work on for the town of Century. Remove the personality conflicts from the equation and we are going to start working on water, sewer, natural gas and sanitation to get those where they are paying for themselves. Then we are going to develop a budget for 2020,” Eddy said. “You get everything moving in the right direction, you can enhance…services (like streets and parks) and develop a capital improvement plan.”

Council members expressed concern that the town purchased new gas meters months ago in an effort to increase billing accuracy and revenue, but very few of those meters have actually been installed.

Eddy said the meter installations should be another priority, even if the town hires a contractor to complete the work because their gas department does not have the time or resources.

Ann Brooks, council president, noted that the council is “not getting information back” on the status of the gas department.

Eddy also floated the idea that the town hire a city manager or perhaps a contractor, at least on a trial or limited basis, to run the operations of the town directly under the mayor. While he said he could perform the service, it would be more practical to find someone that lives closer to Century.

Mayor Henry Hawkins said he was receptive to the ideas presented by Eddy.

“I am open; I am open to anything that is going to help,” Hawkins said.

Eddy made the unsolicited offer after reading a report by independent financial consultant Bob Inzer, whose services were provided to the town by the Florida League of Cities following a scathing grand jury findings. Inzer repeatedly told the town council that Century needs to hire someone for a chief financial officer type position to have direct oversight over the town’s finances.

Eddy is not currently seeking a full time job with Century. Instead, he is proposing an hourly rate of $35 as a consultant. He recommended that the town set aside $5,000 for the initial phase, providing for 143 hours of service. The town has not yet formally accepted his proposal.

He met with the council in early 2018 to discuss ways the town could increase revenue by raising utility taxes. Council members made it clear Monday night that they are not looking to raise taxes.

Pictured top: Buz Eddy (right) addresses the Century Town Council Monday evening. Pictured inset: Council member Luis Gomez responds to Eddy. Pictured bottom: Council member Ann Brooks (left) and Sandra McMurray Jackson listen to fellow member Ben Boutwell. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

23 Responses to “Former Gulf Breeze City Manager Presents His Ideas To Save Century”

  1. J.J. on July 10th, 2019 9:38 pm

    The dissolving of the Century city government is what is best for the citizens of Century. We’ve been governed by crooked and dumb for too long!! Turn everything over to the county as we do not have people who are grown up enough to do the right thing regarding the people’s business. At least the county seems to have people with at least a half a brain to govern!!

  2. Bob on July 10th, 2019 3:07 pm

    Tee bug,

    I agree with your thought but would add to the name of the bridge:

    Mayor Hawkins memorial bridge and Gas and Sewage and Water Fund

  3. Bowhunter on July 10th, 2019 3:06 pm

    @tee bug / Hawkins would want a free sun pass for all his ken folk’s and who he fly’s in from out of town

  4. Tee bug on July 10th, 2019 2:15 pm

    I got a good idea why don’t Century put a bridge over their town let’s say where US 29 is now (Century Blvd) and let’s name it the Mayor Hawkins memorial bridge and charge let’s say a $1.00 toll and the revenue it creates could go directly to the town what you think you reckon ?

  5. Mel on July 10th, 2019 5:16 am

    J.L.Seale has the best idea I’ve heard yet and it would really work. Lol

  6. JLSeale on July 9th, 2019 5:05 pm

    Century problem could be solved very
    easy.
    Put a toll both and charge for driving thur century.
    Pensacola Beach does, why not the north end……

  7. Bob on July 9th, 2019 3:58 pm

    “Council members expressed concern that the town purchased new gas meters months ago in an effort to increase billing accuracy and revenue, but very few of those meters have actually been installed.”

    Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right?

    BBBBBBBBBBBBAAAAAAWWWWWWW

  8. Centiry on July 9th, 2019 3:45 pm

    If people in the town office would do their jobs it would help out a lot. Read the meters correctly and enter them correctly, You already know the people that are getting free services so why are they still getting it free? Sounds like lazyness on someone’s part. If you just do your job and do it right then that would be the start of fixing the problem. Sounds to me if the has man has time to go fishing while on the clock then he can get those meters installed. Maybe they need to go in and clean house. If you can’t do your job then you shouldn’t be there. Start there and start fixing those problems.

  9. Thoughts and observations on July 9th, 2019 3:23 pm

    Is Century getting their money’s worth from past contract workers. Was the LDC complete for the 20K grant? What about the 400K grant from EPA. How about the accountant? Do the attorney really do anything?

    Paid employees: why do you have a clerk, chief financial officer plus billing clerk and window people?

    Why is road staff not contacting FDOT and getting grants for sidewalks to be ADA compliant ?Do they sit in the shop waiting for work orders rather than be proactive.

    I do believe hiring the right person may be key. Changing the charter at this time is not. reality is an elected position from the small population may not have the talent to pull this off.

    I think a restructure is is order and this person, (although raising taxes is not supported) is a proven leader and manager. There need to be leadership and a coming together and he has a lot of experience. He may or may not be involved with the CTA but if so, then so what?

    Perhaps something with a public purpose could be funded here via CTA.

    What ever has been going on is not working and he probably knows many professional people.

    The blame game dysfunction has to stop. Read the charter– the council president is supposed to set the agenda and if a mayor is not forthcoming with all financial records that is against the law — period.

    If Century can provide these service, in the long run right now, it is probably less expensive than being a part of ECUA.

    If it looks like some of the council will only do things to let Mayor keep his ham fisted power than so be it. It’s not working you know.

    Get along and pull this out, have a focal point, a leader to get this going in the right direction.

    I’d say hire him Mr Eddy for a short period of time. All hand on deck. Change can be magical.

    Have Mr Eddy look into the sawmill property, if the owner is actually known and has quit claimed the property to himself and not filed it he needs to get off it.

  10. Preston Hardy on July 9th, 2019 2:05 pm

    Mr. Eddy has offered good advice. If Century had a good Town Council, it would be followed.

    I expect that it won’t.

  11. resident on July 9th, 2019 11:18 am

    Gulf Breeze does not need anything from Century. CTA funds have been a blessing for Century for a long time. It is time for you negative people to find out more about CTA funds before you cut your nose off to spite your face. I am sure Gulf Breeze could easily find another town that would love getting this money. While there is a lot of things needing to be done for Century losing CTA funds is not one of them

  12. chris on July 9th, 2019 11:12 am

    @ Frank: “$ is still the root of all evil.” check your sources. The LOVE of $ is the root of all evil.

  13. IMHO on July 9th, 2019 10:23 am

    More good money after bad. Gulf breeze needs Century for $$$$

  14. Chelleepea on July 9th, 2019 10:07 am

    He hasn’t told us anything we didn’t know all ready….TOC can’t afford both a consultant and a manager…..just hire one person who can do it all….be smart folks

  15. Bob on July 9th, 2019 9:44 am

    Why give them prime rib when they want a hot dog?

  16. Oversight on July 9th, 2019 9:38 am

    900 plus gas connections and only 300 or so being billed. This is your sign, Century. You have hundreds of taps to your gas system that are not being billed. New meters will not stop the bleeding, but finding all the connections and billing for each and every one will be a huge step in the right direction. You don’t need to pay Eddy $5,000 dollars as a start for this free advice. Next is go after the water taps and sewer taps and ensure all are being billed also.

  17. Frank on July 9th, 2019 9:16 am

    Seriously, 1st thing I would do id check the road in front of the employee and family members of past employees to see if any have had unregister meters for the last 20 years. It has been stated there were poor records kept. $ is still the root of all evil.

  18. tg on July 9th, 2019 8:55 am

    Isnt this what a council is required to do without a coach. Time for major shakeup.

  19. mnon on July 9th, 2019 8:47 am

    Funny thing is Mr Eddy is not relating any information myself and others probably have not already thought of. The issue is will Century and it’s “counsel” will follow the advisement or continue working while Boots Randolph Yakety-Sax plays in the background… Century’s town song.

  20. James on July 9th, 2019 8:22 am

    For $5,000, I was expecting something more profound than what so many Northescambia comments have already deducted over the past year. Hey Century, I’m available with these same suggestions at a fraction of the going rate!!

  21. Niknak50 on July 9th, 2019 8:19 am

    If I was a contractor capable of providing the services Century needed, there is no way I would sign a contract with the town….for any amount of money!

  22. David Huie Green on July 9th, 2019 6:51 am

    Suggestion:

    Check that meter readings are going into the system and proper bills are coming out, especially for the ones who showed little or no usage during the winter months.

    David for being helpful

  23. Century resident on July 9th, 2019 2:47 am

    Sounds promising.





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