By REBECCA HAZEN
The City of Trenton Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of allowing distilled package sales and Sunday alcohol sales in the city during the Monday, July 12 meeting.
Senate Bill 0145 is a new law for distilled package sales, and Sunday alcohol sales.
“That law gives the authority of the commission to let the taxpayers vote on it,” Mayor Alex Case explained.
Case noted that prior, the law was that 30 percent of registered city voters had to sign a petition to present for the commission to put it on the ballot.
The county passed a referendum this past November for Sunday sales. The city has not.
“One of the Patels has approached us several times about this. He owns the building where Subway is, and property that has been cleared on McKaig Road,” Case explained.
“I request for all of you to consider to pass it in the city, as long as all the taxpayers agree,” Sanjay Patel said.
It was noted that Patel wants to build a 4,000 square foot liquor store building on McKaig Road. In addition, within the next six months, he hopes there will be a ground breaking for a hotel, a 25-unit Deerfield Inn.
If the referendum is not passed, Patel said that he has another plan, possibly for a Dunkin Donuts.
Commissioners Powell, Forshee and Houts were for a referendum, but Wooten was not.
“I’m definitely not for it. I guess I’m just old school. It’s okay. Our Mom and Pop’s are disappearing and I don’t really like what I see. But I’m just one. I’m not going to parade around the courthouse picketing for or against it, but my vote is no,” Wooten said.
According to City Clerk Russanna Jenkins, there would have to be two resolutions, one for Sunday sales, and one for distilled spirits.
“That resolution would have to be passed by the Commission, and then it would go on the November ballot,” Jenkins said. “Once it passes, then you would have to write the ordinances.”
The commissioners will discuss it further and put it to a vote at next month’s meeting.
Also at the meeting, Commissioner Houts spoke about raising sewer fees.
“The department is not in the best shape now. I’d like for it to go into effect in August if we can, if not, September,” Houts said.
The regular sewer bill rate is $17.26, and there would be an increase of .5, to $17.31. This rate is for the usage of up to 2,999 gallons. After that amount, there will be an increase of $3.06 per 1,000 gallons.
It was noted that most households do not go over 3,000 gallons, but some businesses do.
The commissioners will meet with the Water and Sewer Authority to approve the changes.
Case noted that Trenton’s first half of their American Rescue Plan money was received last Friday. The second half of the money will come in 2022. The money needs to be obligated by 2024, and it has to be spent by 2026. Trenton will receive $803,262 total.
Case reiterated that he hoped to spend the money on water/sewer infrastructure.
Wooten asked if it was possible to spend a small amount of the money on bonuses for city employees, noting that they stayed with the city during the pandemic.
“We should reward them, just a little bit. I would ask the other commissioners to just think about it,” Wooten said.
Case said that the commissioners would have to have a workshop session in the future to make decisions about the funding.
The commissioners approved Resolution R-01-2021, which is a call for the election, to be held on Nov. 2, 2021. The city election, for the Parks and Rec Commissioner and Police Commissioner seats, will coincide with the election for the County Commissioner District 4 seat.
The commissioners approved the purchase of two Knox Boxes and five electronic keys for the Fire Department for $4,837.88. The boxes will be on the two fire trucks.
“Stores like Tractor Supply have these boxes at the front door. That has a key to their store for fire and police. That way we don’t have to bust the door down. We have an electronic key that goes into our box in our truck. We put a code in,” Ansel Smith explained.
“When the code is put in, it opens that box. You grab that electronic key, and you go and open the Knox Box at the business. You take their master key out and enter in,” Case explained. “That key stays in the Knox Box. It will say when it went in, who turned it on, how long it was in. It keeps track of all of that.”
Right now only one local business has a Knox Box, Tractor Supply, and there are a few more businesses that are interested.
Commissioner Terry Powell reported that the air conditioning stopped working at the civic center, and a new air conditioner was purchased. It cost $5,341 for a new unit.
Powell also noted that a new diving board needs to be purchased for the pool because it has cracked. It would cost between $1,700 and $2,000 to replace it.
Ansel Smith, representing the Planning Commission, spoke about proposed zoning map updates.
The Planning Commission met last month. Jeffery Town Road and Church Street east of the railroad tracks will be changed to R5, which is for mobile homes.
The commissioners approved the changes.
The commissioners also discussed pool memberships. Right now a family membership to the pool doesn’t specify what a family is. The membership pass is for five people and costs $100.
Right now, if a grandmother lived with a family of four, the grandmother would not be allowed to be part of the family membership, and would have to buy a single pass for $50.
The commissioners did not make any decisions during the meeting, saying that the summer was almost over, but the topic could be revisited.
Commissioner Wooten spoke about Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) money.
“This is something we get every year from the state. We get about $30,000 to $40,000. This year we have to match it with 30 percent of our SPLOST funds, so the total will be $40,625,” Wooten said.
Wooten asked for this year’s money to be spent fixing Walnut Avenue, and any left over money would go toward Oriole Circle. Wooten also proposed that 2022’s LMIG money be spent on West Crabtree Street.
The commissioners approved the LMIG money to be spent on those streets.
Forshee reported that there were 308 calls for service during the month of June for the Police Department. They conducted 1,215 business checks, five animal complaints, responded to 18 domestic calls, seven trespassing calls, 30 suspicious activity calls and worked 12 accidents. One hundred twenty traffic stops were conducted, resulting in 51 citations. Fines collected for the month of June totaled $13,908.30, bringing the total in fines for 2021 to $110,508.06.
Forshee also noted that Christopher Witt is the newest officer at the Police Department.
Powell reported that the Civic Center was rented for 82 hours; there were 13 animal control work orders and complaints, two county bites and one county vicious dog. There were 31 hours of private parties at the pool.
Houts reported that there were four remodels; three plan reviews, and one addition. There were six electrical, HVAC and plumbing inspections, and a fire inspection for the lineman school. The Fire Department had a total of 101 calls, 61 of those were dispatched and cancelled, five fire related, nine accidents, nine medical, and 17 standbys.
The Sewer Department had 31 underground locates and five emergency locates.
Timmy Weathers, on behalf of the Street Department, said that there were 57 work orders; they put up several “children at play” signs on McKaig Road, and new street signs up.
The commissioners all commented that the 1945 Dade County Fair, held on July 3, was a great success.
Case reported that there is $517,575.62 in the general fund account, and $154,918.72 in expenses for the month of June. Total income revenue for the year is $779,485.59. Total expenses for the year is $842,126.83. There is $111,327.66 in the savings account.
Eloise Gass reported that Tree City USA members cleaned six flowerbeds, and planted one tree.
Jane Dixon with Alliance for Dade reported that the Welcome Center is getting more visitors.
Dixon also reminded everyone that the second lunch and learn event will be Thursday, Aug. 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Civic Center. David Carroll will be the speaker.
The next city commission meeting will be Aug. 9.