Sewers, Hiring Figure on City Agenda

"The Great Wall of Trenton": A columbine planted by Trenton Tree City blooms winsomely above a new wall at the Jenkins Park parking lot. Commissioner Terry Powell said J&L Stone of Jasper generously donated the stones.

The Trenton City Commission meeting on Monday ran late but much of the time was spent in a closed-door executive session to discuss personnel. At the end of it, Mayor Alex Case announced the city would be advertising for two jobs, one in Parks & Recreations and the other in the Trenton Streets Department.

Mayor Case explained that a Parks and Rec employee was out for four to six months with an injured neck--just during busy season for the park. In the case of the Streets Department, a seasonal employee had been needed in any case but now, said Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten, a longtime employee was considering retiring. So the position will start out part-time but: "Who knows what it can turn into?" she said.

Police Commissioner Sandra Gray reported that the Trenton Police Department had taken in $21,931.83 in fines for March for a year-to-date total of $57,836.85. She had the department's new police chief, Christy Smith, report on needed equipment, which included a new radar for $3012 and Tasers for $10,638.

These expenditures resulted from a going-through, turning-out and taking-of-stock-taking in the department that had included one-on-one sessions with the individual police officers to see what was needed, said the new chief. "It's not going to happen every month," said Chief Smith.

Commissioners Gray, Powell and Henegar

On the subject of Trenton's Finest, Law Enforcement Day is May 2 this year, at noon in the large courtroom of the new Dade courts facility. On that day, the TPD, Dade Sheriff's Department and Georgia State Patrol are honored in a moving ceremony that includes bagpipes, and one person from each law enforcement agency is named as the year's outstanding officer. The ceremony is open to the public.

Fire and Utilities Commission Jerry Henegar, who was absent from last month's meeting, when the subject was introduced, explained at the April 10 meeting a proposed plan to boost sewer revenues by lowering the total gallon usage for the minimum bill. Currently, sewer customers pay $15.01 for the first 3000 gallons used with a surcharge for each additional gallon. Under the proposed change, they would pay that $15 for the first 2000 and the surcharge would apply after the lower minimum.

The change, which has already been made to the water bill on which sewer usage is based, is projected to generate about $45,000 more a year for the sewer department, and Commissioner Henegar and the mayor both spoke on the necessity for such an increase. The sewer system was $978 in the red last month, said Mayor Case, and while it did finish last year in the black it only did so by about $3000. With the aging system constantly in need of repairs and renovations, said Henegar, it can either draw from increased revenues or eat up limited SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds.

There was objection expressed to the plan, but no vote was taken on it this month. Also discussed was a comprehensive list of rules for the city park, such as the city already has for the municipal pool, including taboos against smoking, cussing, drugs, alcohol, threats--Mayor Case said it was important the list covered all possible prohibitions.

Another discussion item on which no action was yet taken was where to hold the city election in November, Trenton City Hall or the Dade Board of Elections. Parks and Recreation Commissioner Terry Powell reported that the Trenton Civic Center had been rented four times in March. He also said 80 feet of wall at the city park had been completed at a cost of only $350 thanks to $800 worth of contributed stones from D&L Stone in Jasper.

Eloise Gass reported for Trenton Tree City that six municipal flowerbeds had been cleaned out. She reminded all that April 28 is National Arbor Day. Marshana Sharp reported for the Dade Public Library that over 1600 people had come through the doors for the library's health and wellness fair last weekend in conjunction with the Dade Festival of Life. She invited all to the "Glow Run" at 8 p.m. on April 28 at the high school. This is a child-abuse awareness event the library is cosponsoring with Dade First.

Steven Ryan (left, with City Clerk Lucretia Houts) of the Dade Chamber of Commerce invited all to Music Between the Mountain, the Sheriff's Department gala that this year will replace the Dade Days festival the C of C has sponsored in the past. That date is May 6. Ryan also reminded all of the Chambers golf tournament on May 20, and of Cloudland Canyon State Park's Art and Craft Celebration May 13 and 14.

Jessica Castillo appeared to report progress on a Georgia bill she advocated strengthening strictures on sex offenders in schools--she'd invited the governor to town to sign it, she said. She said the city police would have to coordinate with the schools to enforce it.

The Trenton City Commision meets at 6 p.m. on the second of the month at City Hall.

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