Reviewing and making corrections/changes until approving the minutes of the previous meeting took the first 5 minutes of this week’s meeting. Afterwards, money dominated the night’s conversation.
Police Department Expenses and Savings
The City financial report shows that over $12,000 went to maintenance and repairs on police vehicles between October 2018 and April 2019. In April alone vehicle repairs soaked up almost $3,000 of expenses.
Disposal of old and retired police vehicles via government auction came under debate as to whether the three Dodge Chargers with blown, inoperable engines were worth auctioning off through the government site. The Council decided to post the three vehicles on Facebook themselves and take offers directly from the public.
Chief of Police Rodney Smith delivered his status report for April to the Council. In summary, he stated that calls and arrests were up from previous months, while traffic stops were down due to less time for officers to patrol traffic because of the greater number of calls to cover.
It also came to light during the Chief’s report that the department intends to slowly convert the interior lights in the police station to LED and away from the old fluorescent overhead lights, which have been on and burning 24/7 for years, according to the Chief. Apparently, the light switches for the front offices also switch the outlets, so if the lights were turned off, so were all the computers and other electronic equipment. New switches will be wired in that will allow the roughly 40 lights to be turned off, saving significant money on power bills.
Two new tasers will also be purchased for officers that currently do not have one. The Chief found a source for refurbished tasers, which will save almost 50% of cost on this purchase, which was approved by the Council.
Potential Lottery and Gas Tax Woes?
Mayor Terry Morton expressed concerns for the additional expense to local businesses associated with lottery ticket sales. He wondered what the City would get out of the deal.
He also wondered what, if anything, the City will see in revenues from the new gas tax. To that end, Councilman Don Mack responded that he had numbers from a source in Montgomery that stated the County doesn’t get any of the money from it, and the money will go to the State and the municipalities directly. $85,000 total per year in gas tax revenue, including the new additional tax, was estimated to go to the city. This information seems to contradict what has been discussed in County Commission meetings regarding the distribution of the new tax revenues among the counties.
The Mayor was still concerned that the additional fuel expense to citizens wouldn’t be offset by the additional revenue. Mack postulated that the money could be used for “match grants” which could greatly increase the tax’s effect within the community.
Following this discussion, the Council went into Executive Session to discuss an employee. Afterwards, they agreed to change the date of their next meeting to Monday, May 20 at 5:00pm instead of Tuesday in order for members to attend BCHS graduation. They also passed a motion to invite Mr. Jimmy Lott to the invocation of their next meeting in honor of his 101st birthday.