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Trenton Commissioners unsure about Veterans Parade, Christmas Parade during COVID-19 Pandemic

Trenton Commissioners addressed questions about whether or not the Veterans’ Parade and the Dade County High School Homecoming Parade would happen in the wake of COVID-19 at the Oct. 14 commission meeting.


While supportive of the parades, the biggest concerns for the commissioners are the state and national COVID-19 guidelines and liability in the event someone gets injured or tests positive for COVID-19. Trenton Mayor Alex Case said he has been observing how other cities are doing their events but ultimately knows that Trenton will be held responsible for any parade that happens.


“We’re telling the public to do this,” Case said. “So, how can we do this? We’d ultimately be responsible if we allowed this to happen.”


“What if the veterans said, ‘we appreciate it but we’re going to do our thing anyway,’” Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten said.


Case said that even if that were the case the city would still be held liable for the parade because it took place on city property.


Case said that the other concern is COVID-19 and the approaching flu season.


“We’re still seeing cases,” Case said. “We’re just now getting around flu season. How do we enforce people to wear masks?”


“I don’t think we can,” Wooten said.


“I’m just torn with what to do – what’s right and what’s wrong,” Case said. “I just don’t know the right answer.”


“Everywhere is different,” Police Commissioner Kirk Forshee said. “We don’t want to create a situation that because of our poor decisions someone got sick or hurt.”


“I see that as a commission, we can refuse to bless this,” Wooten said. “I also think that we can’t tell people ‘you can’t do this.’”


“We’ll just have to see how Rome, Ga. is handling this,” Case said. “I know we’re doing the trick or treating thing but we’re taking a lot of safety steps for that. We all want to see this happen but who’s responsible? We could ask people to stay in their vehicles but how much parking on the side streets do we have?” 


Case said that in Lafayette, Ga. the city is doing their Christmas parade as planned. However, multiple guidelines were made to lessen the spread of COVID-19. The guidelines call for no four-wheelers, no horses, no go-carts, no candy handed out and limited people on floats. Lafayette is also asking all attendees to wear masks.


It was learned during the meeting that DCHS will not be having the Homecoming Parade this year. As far as the other parades are concerned, the commission decided it would be best to wait before voting to have or not have the events. The Veterans’ Parade was originally scheduled for Nov. 14. The Christmas Parade normally happens on Dec. 5.


Fire and Utilities Commissioner Lucretia Houts told the commission that citizens near Corca Circle requested street lights to be installed. 


“I just feel like we need to do something about that,” Houts said. “They’re taxpaying residents.”


“I’m fine with it,” Wooten said. “I tried to get it two years ago.”


Case said that there was not an underground power supply in the area where the lights would be installed, meaning that the city would have to pay the full cost of construction to set up the lights, something he said he was not supportive of paying for with city funds.


“Maybe contact the person that owns the property,” Forshee said. “They might be willing to help pay for the power because it benefits them as well.”


“Whoever wants to tackle that is more than welcome to do that,” Case said.


“Either way we’ve got to wait,” Forshee said. “We don’t want to vote on something that’s going to cost us more than we anticipate it to.”


The commission did not vote on the issue and will wait until the next meeting in November before making a decision.


The commissioner gave their departmental reports.


Forshee said that the Trenton Police Department received 456 calls last month, conducted 1,955 business checks, made 14 arrests, made 23 reports, responded to four animal complaints, responded to five domestic calls, responded to five medical assists, conducted 181 traffic stops and issued 139 citations. Fines for the month of September totaled $18,848. Fines for the year totaled $125,855. 


Forshee also reported that the police department is in need of a new officer.


“We had an officer that quit,” Forshee said. “We have a vacant spot in the police department. We’re looking for somebody to fill that position.”


Parks and Recreation Commissioner Terry Powell reported that the community center is still closed due to COVID-19. The department also responded to 12 animal control work orders.


Houts reported three new utility inspections, two remodels, five HVAC and plumbing inspections, two HVAC and plumbing additions, 80 fire calls, 67 of which were canceled, 29 sewer locates, five emergency locates, 18 sewer calls and two mainline repairs.


Wooten reported that 1,575 feet of Walnut avenue has been paved.


“I’m thrilled with that,” Wooten said.


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