This gleaming wooden rocking toy, handcrafted by Patrol Officer Danny Ellis and on display at Trenton City Hall, was too adorable for Tree City's Eloise Gass to resist at Monday night's city commission meeting. It will be raffled off at the Trenton PD's Toy and Silver Bell [motorcycle] Ride on Oct. 29.
With Mayor Alex Case out sick and Fire/Utility Commissioner Jerry Henegar absent for work purposes, Monday night's Trenton City Commission was sparsely attended and light on content. Police Commissioner Sandra Gray (below, head of table) presided over the meeting in Case's place.
City elections are next month, when two of the city's four commission seats are up for grabs, and Trenton voters will also weigh in on a liquor-by-the-drink referendum. (Trenton already allows beer and wine by the drink; the referendum concerns whether the city should alter its liquor laws to make distilled alcohol drinks also legal, matching the one recently enacted by Dade County.) This was the last time the city commission was to meet before the election on Nov. 7. But none of the three challengers for commission seats showed up at the Oct. 9 meeting, and nor did anyone offering to speak "fer" or "agin" spirituous beverages, or about the proposed new transportation local option sales tax that city voters will say yes or no to on Nov. 7 along with the rest of the county.
Nor, for that matter, was there hide nor hair of the Dade Chamber of Commerce, the Dade Public Library, the Dade County Commission or any member of the local print or broadcast media. But Eloise Gass of Trenton Tree City and representatives of the Trenton Police and Sewer departments attended, and so by God did The Dade Planet; so full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes.
The three commissioners in attendance voted to approve a transfer of city employee retirement funds from one financial institution to another. Otherwise, the major piece of business was to transfer SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds from the sidewalk project to a vehicles account, to pay for damage to police cruisers caused during two recent high-speed car chases that have made splashy headlines recently.
Police Chief Christy Smith (left) and Commissioner Gray explained that one of the city's police cars had been damaged while Trenton officers helped chase down and disable a vehicle driven by the suspect in an armed robbery of a drugstore across the border in Alabama. The other car was injured in a similar event, this one in pursuit of a joy-riding youth who tore into town at high rates of speed, ceasing only when a Trenton cruiser in his path frustrated further forward locomotion.
The commissioners approved $4906.90 in SPLOST for repairs on one car and $3,084.57 for the other after Chief Smith presented bids from bodyshops. There is hope of reimbursement from insurance, including in one instance the suspect driver's policy.
In her monthly report as police commissioner, Sandra Gray reported collected police fines for September of $19,358.44 for a year-to-date total of $170,758.97. She commended Trenton police officers for their valor during the aforementioned chases as well as during their everyday duties. "I praise them every day with everybody I talk to," she said, and urged others to do the same. "Just tell them you appreciate them," urged the commissioner.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Terry Powell said Jenkins Park was being heavily used lately, and that the Trenton Civics Center had been rented for 56 hours in September.
Commissioner Henegar was, again, not in attendance. Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten sought and was granted $1200 in SPLOST for a new grass catcher for the city mowers.
Commissioner Gray and Chief Smith both made pitches for the upcoming TPD Toy and Silver Bell Ride on Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Dade County High School football field. This is an annual motorcycle ride--in which, incidentally, both these ladies of law enforcement kick up their own kickstands--in benefit for local children and, beginning this year, local seniors. There is no admittance fee, but participants are asked to bring an unwrapped toy, throw blanket or cash or other donation.
The event coincides with a chili cook-off for local fire departments. Lunch starts at noon and consists of hot dogs, chips, drinks and--guess what--chili. The motorcycle ride starts at 2 p.m. and winds up in about an hour, after which there will be a raffle for the handsome wooden motorcycle rocking toy lovingly handcrafted by longtime Dade cop Danny Ellis (right). A photo of the rocker is at the top of this article. Chief Smith explained Ellis makes only one per year and each is numbered. Raffle chances are $1, six for $5. There will be other door prizes as well.
Tree City's Eloise Gass reported her group had been cleaning out flowerbeds and had just finished mulching at the Trenton post office (left), where virulent yellow lantana should reappear in force next spring if past years are any indication.
Budget matters, in the absence of Mayor Case, were tabled until the next meeting. A special workshop on the budget scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, had been canceled with the onset of the mayor's ailment.
The Trenton City Commission meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at City Hall.