MILTON — Thursday’s Milton Committee of the Whole meeting commenced smoothly compared to the Milton City Council’s April 11 meeting, which suddenly ended after dispute between council members.

However, after city leaders discussed all agenda items and were ready to adjourn, Councilwoman Sharon Holley raised an item of discussion pertaining to Milton’s website.

Together, council members navigated to the webpage and arrived at a link for Main Street Milton’s website. On the right side of their homepage was a link that read, “Help save downtown Milton by signing this petition. A four-lane highway will destroy our town.”

“This is what the city of Milton has on our own website,” Holley said. “When I got a phone call about this and I looked on that, this is appalling to me.

“I would really like to know who posted this on the city of Milton’s website. And I would also like to know who approves things like this to be posted on the city of Milton’s website. I can understand Main Street Milton, if they were on there advertising good stuff … but this to me is like a slap in the face.”

City Manager Brian Watkins told Holley the page in question is Main Street Milton’s private website; the city of Milton merely has a link to their page.

“We need to unlink,” Holley said.

Councilwoman Peggi Smith said the petition was uploaded in 2014; however, Holley didn’t change her stance.

At the April 11 City Council meeting, there was extensive discussion about the possibility of having the Florida Department of Transportation study a southern alternate route for Highway 90; numerous local business owners attended, and the council decided to not pursue the route after hours of debate.

“Not everybody agrees with this,” Holley said. “This is a discussion that’s been going on about the FDOT and the southern route … If the city council votes to leave this thing on here … then so be it.”

Councilman Casey Powell expressed his concern about trying to control what all the people say on their websites.

“We’d have to go in and edit every link that we didn’t like something on,” Powell said. “What if we don’t agree with something that was written on Santa Rosa Press Gazette? Are we going to take their link off?”

Watkins recommended to Mayor Wesley Meiss that the council reassess their policies; Holley decided to make it a motion to discuss at a future council meeting.

Councilman Jeff Snow suggested making a statement above the links stating, “The city does not necessarily endorse or embrace comments listed on local links.”

“That keeps from removing the newspaper or different people that might have different views from [us],” Snow said. “We all can disagree on different things; we won’t stop.”

Holley agreed with Snow’s proposal to add a disclaimer, and many council members followed.

Cassandra Sharp, a local business owner, approached the council and thanked Snow for his idea.

“I find that subject to even be brought up to be appalling — very divisive,” Sharp said. “[I’ve] spoken before about this community, and it needs to come together. We need a council and a city hall that is more inclusive of all of its citizens, and that, to me, is one of the biggest problems that Milton has.

“One person or a group … has a varying opinion, then you want to just shut it down.”

Holley said that she wasn’t a part of Sharp’s “special interest group” in response to her statements. This comment sparked an argument between the women; Sharp accused Holley of ruining the Santa Rosa Arts and Culture Foundation, and Holley told Sharp to “be careful.”

Meiss quickly called the council to order, and Powell asked everyone to be civil.

“We’ve had this pushed to the committee. We’ll continue this in the Committee of the Whole next month, without objection,” Meiss said.

“There seems to be a lot of discussion going on here, and … if Miss Holley and Miss Sharp want to get together afterwards and talk about this, they can.”

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }</script