Need Wood Chips? Trenton's Got As Mulch As You Want!

What the Trenton City Commission wants the public to know this month is that, with the new environmental anti-brush-burning rules, the town has been amassing piles and piles of chipped wood it doesn’t have room for. “It’s up for grabs,” said Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten.

Speaking at Monday night’s regular monthly commission meeting, Commissioner Wooten pointed out that the chipped brush is great for mulch or compost piles. It’s a mixture of whatever comes in, she said, so some of the resulting mulch is better than other parts, and residents may need to pick over it to some extent. But the big selling point, she said, is: “It’s free.”

Readers who could use a truckload or two of chipped mulch, please call City Hall and inquire: (706) 657-4167.

Besides setting qualifying fees and dates for its upcoming municipal election, which will be combined with its liquor-by-the-drink referendum as well as the countywide transportation sales tax referendum--see previous article--the city commission at its July 10 meeting also appointed Georgia Probation Service Inc. as its probation administrator for city arrestees. Mayor Alex Case explained that the town had already been using the service in conjunction with the Dade County Sheriff’s Department and jail, but that new rules require the city to designate its own provider.

This month the commission also approved a couple of requests for SPLOST--special purpose local option sales tax--funds. Commissioner Wooten asked for and was granted $27,500 to buy a new truck for the Streets Department. “Y’all don’t know how bad I hate to purchase a truck,” she said. But she said the truck she was replacing was over 20 years old and constantly in the shop for repairs. She withhdrew her request for $6500 for a utility vehicle from last month.

Mayor Alex Case said the new truck was needed, for hauling around prison trusties among other chores. “If we’ve got more than three, we’ve to to take two trucks,” said the mayor.

Fire and Utility Commissioner Jerry Henegar asked for and was granted $18,998.12 for the city’s portion of a fire/rescue truck, an F-250 the city will share with other agencies. He explained that the Georgia Forestry Commission will have possession of the truck but the Trenton Fire Department and building inspector will have access to it. The entire cost of the vehicle was $37,863, he said.

In his guise as utilities chief, and in conjunction with the city’s recent restructuring of sewage treatment costs, Henegar said he had figured out how much it costs Trenton to treat a gallon of sewage-- $2.03 a gallon including employee salaries and benefits, 73 cents a gallon just for the chemicals and processing.

Finally, Henegar said the town had recently procured two flat-bottom boats. “They’ll come in handy,” said Henegar.

Mayor Case agreed, adding that Trenton already had a motor for one of them. “We’ve always had to beg, borrow or steal boats when we need them,” he said.

Neither Case nor Henegar gave any clue as to what purpose Trenton begged, borrowed, stole or now owned boats for.

Streets Commissioner Wooten commended Streets Department supervisor Timmy Weathers (right), who she said had reported for work on July 4 in an emergency and ended up working the entire holiday. Weathers said he’d been filling in a lot of potholes, and had also put up flags.

“And took them down,” added Mayor Case.

Police Commissioner Sandra Gray announced she and the Trenton Police Department are organizing a “Silver Bells” Christmas benefit for the town’s elderly. The benefit begins with a fundraiser in Jenkins Park in September, with a silent auction, gospel singing and picnic. Anyone interested in singing, or otherwise participating, is asked to contact Commissioner Gray or Trenton Police Chief Christy Smith. Again, the number at City Hall is (706) 657-4167.

Commissioner Gray in her monthly police report said her department had collected $19,699.16 in police fines for June and $118,771.44 year to date.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Terry Powell said the city pool is staying busy this summer and has grossed $5395 in admittance plus $800 for 16 pool parties and concessions of $1462. Powell said the Trenton Civic Center had been rented four times in June.

Commissioner Gray added to his report that the pool’s capable lifeguards had saved two children from going underwater this summer.

Mayor Case reported that a bush ax the city had ordered, costing $39,900,will be ready to pick up this week. The city will use it to clear trees and brush. “It may take us a year or more,’ he said. A lot of that work will be done in the winter, he added.

The mayor said Trenton had received some state LMIG (local maintenance improvement grant) money, which it sorely needed for paving. “We have some areas of heavy concern,” said Case.

Commissioner Henegar asked about ongoing renovation at the historic Dade County Courthouse downtown: Was there an ETA?

No, said Mayor Case: “A lot of it we’re doing as money’s available,” he said. He said the courthouse’s handicapped-accessible elevator was now completed and approved, and that donors had paid to replace many of the windows. But he said major roof leaks and drainage headaches had now emerged. “During all this rain, we’ve found some more problems,” said the mayor.

Newly appointed economic development director for the city, county and Dade Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Peter Cervelli (end of table) told the commissioners he would help them reorganize the city’s Downtown Development Authority as planned, but that they had some serious work to do in that regard themselves. Particularly, he said, they needed to appoint workers as opposed to sitters for the DDA board of directors, and to decide what they wanted for Trenton going forward. “I think the heart of it is the vision you have for the city,” said Cervelli.

He said the Dade Chamber of Commerce should take the lead on tourism but the commission itself might see what it could do to encourage apartment construction. “The demand for rental property here is enormous,” he said. People want to be able to live in town and walk to stores, said Cervelli. “That’s a quality-of-life issue,” he said.

Cervelli was appointed to his newly-created position as of July 1. Previously, he had directed IDA part-time and before that had worked for years as Trenton’s Better Hometown manager.

“I’m thrilled to have you started,” said Commissioner Wooten.

The commission held a lengthy executive, or closed-door session to discuss personnel, returning a little before 9 a.m. Returning, Mayor Case said that the session had been an update on city workers with workers’ compensation claims, and 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 on South Main Street.

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