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Political Debates
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By: Eddy Gifford, Publisher

 

The Trenton City Council opened its first meeting of 2014 with the swearing in of two councilmen and City Clerk.

Mayor Anthony Emanuel handled the duties of swearing in Lucretia Houts for another term as City Clerk.

Houts then handled the duties of swearing in Sandra Gray, Police Commissioner and Terry Powell, Parks and Recreation Commissioner. All three had been elected in the November elections.

A vacancy still remains for Streets Commission with qualifying set for Jan. 27-29 and the special election on March 18.

Mayor Emanuel started the meeting reporting good news about the City’s finances.

“The thing I really want of emphasize is we began last year with more than a quarter of a million dollars in deficits. We were aggressive in budgeting and in cutting expenses. The challenge was to get the expenses in line with revenue. Revenues had been declining the past few years.”

Emanuel reported that the City ended 2013 with a surplus of $70,000 and that all the sitting commissioners worked hard to maximize the productivity of everyone.

“I cannot be more proud of the job your standing commissioners did and I look forward to the New Year,” Emanuel said.

Commission Tommy Lawson and Clerk Lucretia Houts explained why the fire department was the only department that appeared to have gone over budget during the past year. It resulted in part to the way certain items are budgeted like the salary and benefits for Building Inspector Jerry Kyzer.

Two departments share his pay. Six months budgeted to the Fire Department and six months to another department.

One solution mentioned by Houts was to budget the salary equally every month between both departments but it is easier to continue to split it every six months.

Councilman Lawson also praised the fire department for the new training center at the Trenton department where the majority of the work was done by the firemen themselves. “They have done an excellent job and the new center was something to be proud of,” Lawson said.

Police Commissioner Sandra Gray reported that in December the Trenton City Police Department answered 243 calls, took 13 incident reports, worked eight traffic accidents, issued 115 citations and collected fines in the amount of $8,911.39. For the year a total of $109,152.43 in fines were collected.

Commissioner Tommy Lawson reported that the Trenton City Fire Department responded to 105 calls, 12 in which were fire calls and 93 medical and rescue calls.

The sewer department did 31 underground locates, answered seven sewer calls and two maintenance calls.

Streets Commissioner Preston Daniels reported his department handled 72 work orders during the month.

Mayor Emanuel commended the streets department for the job they did on the streets during the recent bad weather.

Commissioner Terry Powell reported that this is a slow time for Parks and Recreation but as soon as they could they would be getting the fields ready for the upcoming ball season. Powell added they hoped to work on getting the fields to drain better so they will be ready sooner.

Police Commissioner Gray recommended hiring Eric Hartline as a full-time police officer, bringing the total number of City police officers to seven. The Commissioners unanimously approved the hire.

Chamber of Commerce Director Chris Musser reported on activities of the Chamber during December and plans for the upcoming months.

Eloise Gass with Tree City thanked the city and Preston Daniels for their support and she also reported the ordering of trees for Georgia Arbor Day, which will be Feb. 21.

Marshana Sharp of the Dade County Public Library reported that fundraising efforts so far has brought in $21,000 of the $23,000 needed to keep the Library open and the group has until June to raise the remaining money.

Sharp also reported a lot of activities currently planned for the library and announced the next meeting of the Library Board would be Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. at the library.

Ginnie Sams with the Trenton Arts Council said that the council is busy on several projects and will have more to report in the coming months.

Mayor Emanuel reminded everyone of the upcoming special election for the position for Streets Commissioner. Qualifying for the position will be Jan. 27, 28 and 29 with early voting beginning on Feb. 24 and Election Day will be March 18.

The Commissioners also appointed Tommy Lawson as Vice Mayor, Jerry Kyzer as Fire Chief, Roger Castleberry as Chief of Police and Joel McCormick as Municipal Judge.

Ruth Goff and Wanda Page spoke to the commissioners about the Glenbrook Subdivision.

They stated that the neighborhood has seen an improvement and the City’s efforts are appreciated very much but one of the properties is a serious problem, that being 241.

“It is not only unsightly, but it is beginning to be dangerous as it deteriorates further,” Goff said. “We appreciate everything that has been done, we just want an update on where things are.”

Mayor Emanuel said that barring weather the lot in question would be cleared by the end of the month.

 


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