Besides the Trenton City Commission's unveiling of its plan to rid itself of its elected city clerk (see preceding article), the body's Nov. 14 meeting was a low-key affair, with the mayor absent fighting fires, the session led by Police Commissioner Sandra Gray in his absence, and not much else on the consent agenda but approval of $343 for gravel for the city park.
The commission approved Commissioner Gray's proposal to allow off-duty Trenton police officers to join county deputies in assisting with safety at the construction site of the new 299 bridge on I-24. Of the $40 an hour the contractor will pay the officers, $10 goes to the city for gas and use of city vehicles. Fire/Utility Commissioner Jerry Henegar asked first if the officers would have to neglect their city duties to do the moonlighting, but Commissioner Gray explained that city cops work 12-hour shifts, get three-day weekends every other week, and can pick up the extra duty without interfering with their regular schedules.
The police commissioner reported, as she does every month, fines collected by the police department, and The Planet hereby passes those on, also as it does every month: $17,348.66 for October, $157,948.22 year to date.
Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten in her monthly report said the grassy sides of city sidewalks have over the years gotten so much higher than the walks that it was impossible to keep the concrete clean. She warned of work around town as her department addresses this problem. "They're going to start knocking them down and reseeding them," she said.
Commissioner Henegar (at right, displaying plans) announced that the Trenton Fire Department is building a fire training center from industrial shipping cartons. The department already has some of these containers but needs one more, he said, which will cost around $1800. He didn't have complete budget numbers but said most of the work will be done in-house by the fire department. The facility will be located at the city sewage plant.
Henegar apologized for not having a report on fire/building inspections, explaining: "The inspector's out there working on the wildfires also."
He said that Trenton's ISO--a fire-safety rating for insurance--is now class 4 for those homes within five road miles of the fire hall. But he intimated that insurance companies may not be aware of this, or may have changed the way they do business so as not to let the new, better ratings lose them money, so that homeowners should check with their insurers to make sure their premiums are as low as they deserve.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Terry Powell said that work had now been completed to make the Jenkins Park gate and playground entrance ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant. "This is something that we felt like should have been done a while back," said Powell.
He thanked Case Concrete for cutting its prices to help the park out with the work. He also thanked local manufacturer Bull Moose for donating materials for rails for the park bridge. Finally, he commended animal rescue activist Ann Brown for her work adopting animals out at the city pound.
On that subject, Commissioner Wooten, another animal welfare advocate, added that she and Ms. Brown will resume the low-cost spay-and-neuter transport program they ran in earlier years beginning this January. The Planet will furnish more information on that program when it begins.
Commissioner Gray said the much-discussed new insurance plans for city employees must wait for enrollment until February, as the provider had missed the deadline for November open enrollment. She and the commissioners set public hearings on the city's proposed 2017 budget for 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Nov. 29 and 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 at City Hall. The commissioners specified there was no raise in taxes.
Marshana Sharp, speaking for the Dade Public Library, said the library had received two grants recently, one of which will finance a "live history" of Dade. She invites all to contribute stories and photographs to the project. The other grant will pay for another installment of the popular "Prime Time" program the library debuted last year, in which school children and their families are hosted for supper with an evening session following of free or low-cost ways parents can aid their children's scholastic development. Call the library for details of both programs: (706) 657-7857.
Ms. Sharp reminded all that the library will be closed next Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25, for Thanksgiving and reopen Saturday the 26th.
Charlie Gray, reporting for the Dade Chamber of Commerce, announced that the Chamber had netted $930 for popular festivities it sponsored at Halloween. He reminded the commission of the C of C's luncheon at noon this Friday in the Dade Administrative Building and put in a word for the Small Business Expo and Christmas parade--both those Chamber events are on Dec. 10.
Trenton Tree City President Eloise Gass (left) berated the city commission--as Mr. Shakespeare put it, "Though she be but little, she is fierce"-- for letting the circular flowerbed in front of the courthouse wither in the drought. "It looks pretty poor right now because nobody helps us water it," she complained.
Commissioner Henegar, in charge of the city's tankers, said he'd see what he could do.
"I'm not going to stop until I get it," warned Ms. Gass. "Y'all get paid for y'all's jobs. I don't get paid for mine."
The Planet will keep an eye on the courthouse bed, and faithfully report on this important issue.
Following the regular meeting, the commission went into executive, or closed-door, session, joined by a Trenton police officer, but returned to report that no action had been taken.
The Trenton City Commission meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at City Hall.