A Twice-told Tale: Trenton City Commission Low on Thrills This Month

"Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man,” one Shakespeare character declared. He had no idea. Twice-telling the Monday night Trenton City Commission meeting without vexing any ears would be a toughie for the Bard himself, much less your friendly neighborhood Planet. Not that much was going on. But tedium being the basic building block of democracy, let’s go ahead and take a whack.

Photo: Trenton Police Chief Christy Smith (left) and Police Commissioner Sandra Gray at the March 12 meeting.

The biggest item on the March 12 consent agenda was approval of SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds to outfit the Trenton Police Department patrol car driven by Officer Jeff Hartline, “just to make it the same as everybody else,” said Police Chief Christy Smith. Needed were a camera system ($5994.50), computer and computer stand ($3413.89) and bumper and installation ($1230). The city commissioners, minus Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten, absent on family business, duly approved the funds.

Chief Smith also hinted the TPD would have upcoming expenses maintaining the lower floor of City Hall, where the department is housed. Chairs and desks are broken, she said, the place could use painting, and the floor has settled and needs work. But no funds were allocated for that work Monday night.

The commission also okayed surplussing an aging police Ford Explorer in need of a new transmission—$2800 worth of work, said Mayor Alex Case—and giving it to Dade County for an EMS/first response vehicle. (Case’s day job is as Dade County’s EMS director.) He noted that the city wasn’t using the car and in fact, with one officer out on a pending workers’ compensation injury, these days had a spare cop car. “Nobody else wants it or needs it,” he said.

Another agenda item was a review of the long-heralded formation of a joint city/county historical preservation committee. Mayor Case said a six-member committee is under discussion, with three representatives for the city of Trenton and three for Dade County. “That way there’s an even representation,” he said. But the biggest problem, he also noted, was “getting enough people to do it.” In any case, said the mayor, the matter is still in the hands of the city and county attorneys. “More to come, I guess, on that,” he concluded.

The mayor also discussed the commission’s recent workshops on the city’s 2018 personnel handbook, and stressed Trenton’s zero-drug-tolerance policy. He proposed more work sessions on the handbook

Trenton Girl Scout Leigh Arnold (left), member of Troop 40118, infused a breath of youth into the meeting when she presented her proposal for the fitness project she wished to complete at Jenkins Park. Ms. Arnold proposed measuring the distance of the walking area at the park, putting up a sign to advise other exercisers of the length of that circuit, and establishing a warm-up and cool-down area where they could prepare for and rest from their exertions. The commission voted unanimously to approve the project.

Scout leaders present at the meeting specified that Trenton currently has two Girl Scout troops, a group of 25 younger girls and another of 12 older Scouts.

In her monthly report, Police Commissioner Sandra Gray said collected fines for February were $23,883.16 for a year-to-date total of $42,338.72. She also announced that Georgia State Patrolman Joe Geddie had recently been honored with the statewide “Trooper of the Year” award for Georgia. “We owe him a lot,” said Commissioner Gray. “He really does a lot for the city.”

Police Chief Christy Smith added to the commissioner’s report that the Trenton PD is working hard to make the Dade school system safer.

Parks and Recreation/Animal Control Commissioner Terry Powell reported that the Civic Center was rented 66 hours in February and that its floors had been resealed and polished. He said his department was trying to open the Jenkins Park rest rooms by the end of the month. He said Trenton Animal control was submitting two raccoons to authorities for testing—presumably for rabies.

Fire/Utilities Commissioner Jerry Henegar said the sewer department had had to replace a well pump when the old one went south. Later he added that running city water while the pump was out cost the city $657—maybe keeping an emergency backup spare pump might not be a bad idea, he suggested.

Henegar commended Dade County High School freshman Noah Hodges for saving his father with the Heimlich maneuver, the CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) instructors at the high school for teaching him how, and retired public health nurse Verenice Hawkins for her campaign to get CPR into county schools. “This has paid off already,” he said.

Additionally, Henegar reminded all of a good yearly practice when Daylight Savings Time requires householders to stand on chairs anyway adjusting their clocks: “Change the time, change the batteries in your smoke detector,” he said. Don’t have a smoke alarm? Call City Hall and get help installing one, he advised. That number is (706) 657-4167.

(Photo: Fire/Utility Commissioner Jerry Henegar (left) and sewer chief Dewayne Moore.)

Henegar had sewer supervisor Dewayne Moore report on his department. Moore announced Trenton had been selected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to participate in a nationwide study of sewage. Trenton will send in samples, he clarified later, that will allow researchers to study what is going into American sewers, a question that the project’s very existence would seem to indicate is more complex than any answer The Planet would venture to posit on the spot.

“I think it’s kind of unique that we’re one of 50 in the U.S.,” said Moore, and The Planet’s not touching that one, either.

In his mayoral report, Alex Case discussed the rural broadband access issue making headlines regionally. “It’s a problem in our own county,” he said. It looks like more federal funding may be on the way for studies, he sad.

Case said Trenton is at last getting the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) grant for $300,000 it needs to finish paving Vanguard Road to North Industrial Boulevard. “It’s going to take all of us and all our equipment to do that,” he said. Trenton is required to put up a local matching percentage for the federal dollars, but is allowed to do so “in kind”—using labor and equipment to satisfy its share. Case said a meeting to kick off the work would take place this Thursday.

Like Chief Smith, the mayor said he had been meeting with Dade schools about safety.​

​Case also took a minute to honor Trenton Tree City volunteers. Present among those were Eloise Gass and Joy Golden. “I wish more people would take pride in where they live,” said Ms. Gass. She reported on the group’s Georgia Arbor Day activities in February, and announced upcoming festivities for National Arbor Day in April.

Tree City volunteer Joy Golden (left) and President Eloise Gass pose beside a City Hall tree picture compete with plaque, as Ms. Gass often reminds The Planet, that bears her name.

Marshana Sharp, manager of the Dade County Public Library, reminded all of the upcoming Read to Lead event on March 24 at the library and spilling out onto the town square. Local leaders will read to children and there will be entertainment, booths, books, games and haircuts. Remember, said Ms. Sharp: “Everything is free.”

She also put in a plug for the upcoming Glow Run at Dade High for child abuse awareness, sponsored by the library and Dade First/Family Connection. That’s not until April 27 but participants need to sign up by March 31 to get their free T-shirts. Readers may sign up at the library or online at runsignup.com/blueribbonglowrun.

Ms. Sharp said, too, to call the library—(706) 657-7857—if you’d like to sign up for beginning computer classes. The library is giving at least one of these classes monthly now.

​​Cheryl Painter reminded all to attend the Dade Chamber’s awards banquet this Saturday, March 17. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Trenton Civics Center and costs $20. The theme is “A Night at the Movies.” Call her at (706) 657-4488 for tickets. She also announced that Seth Millican of the Georgia Transportation Alliance will speak on TSPLOST at the April 20 chamber luncheon. TSPLOST is the transportation local option sales tax that would raise Dade’s sales tax by a penny. It will be up for referendum in the May 22 primary election. The luncheon, which has a $10 fee, is at noon on April 20 in the Dade Administrative Building.

Ms. Painter also mentioned Dade’s annual Festival of Life is upcoming on April 14 and said planning had already begun for the July 4 celebration, “1945 Dade County Fair.”

The Trenton City Commission meets at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month at City Hall. The next meeting is scheduled for April 9.

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