By REBECCA HAZEN
The City of Trenton Board of Commissioners approved both the 2021 millage rate and the 2022 fiscal year budget during the commissioner’s monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.
“The budget will be set for 2022 for $1,915,261 of revenue and expenses, and the millage will continue to be the same, at 4.489 mills,” Mayor Alex Case said.
Case continued, “Each commissioner has done due diligence on their department. We all feel good about the budget.”
There was a third public hearing just prior to the workshop session and regular meeting about the millage rate and the city’s budget. There were two other public hearings on Aug. 30 for the millage rate, and budget public hearings were scheduled on Aug. 16 and 23.
The millage rate stays the same as last year at 4.489 mills. The rollback rate is 4.424.
According to dor.georgia.gov, when the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia Law requires that a rollback millage rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year’s new digest that last year’s millage rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.
Based on these numbers, the percentage tax increase will be 1.67 percent.
The 2022 fiscal year budget for the city of Trenton is $1,915,261. This includes $697,221, which is budgeted for the Police Department, $97,057 for the Fire Department, $457,874 for Public Works, and $67,557 for Animal Control. There is $85,046 budgeted for Clerk Administration, and $8,000 for the election. There is $150,729 for executive fees, which includes training, insurance, payroll taxes, etc. The budget also includes $14,400 for commissioner salaries, and $7,200 for the Mayor’s salary.
The commissioners also approved the preliminary 2022 sewer budget for $596,536.
Also during the meeting, the commissioners approved the purchase of a 2021 Ford truck for $27,660, from Prater Ford in Calhoun, to be purchased with SPLOST funds. The vehicle will be used in the Parks and Recreation Department, to replace a truck that has fallen beyond repair.
Commissioner Terry Powell noted that the large tree at Jenkins Park needs work done. A Georgia Forestry certified arborist came out to give his opinion on what needed to be done.
According to Powell, a lot of the limbs need to be trimmed, and dead limbs need to be removed. The picnic tables underneath the tree are packing the soil, so the tables will have to be removed. The commissioners approved a bid for these services for $2,800.
Commissioners also voted on a COVID-19 policy for employees, which will provide paid sick leave and paid family leave. It will be in effect for one year, retroactive to Jan. 1.
Also during the meeting, Wooten spoke about property maintenance violation procedures.
“We have a lot of situations where the property is a mess, and we send out a letter. The procedures seem to take a long time. They go to our city court judge and they beg for leniency. I had spoken with Ansel Smith about maybe tightening it up a bit. Ansel went and spoke with our city judge. We want to tighten things up so that we can move things along. We have a few properties where the owners just will not comply. With businesses we are really going to try to tighten that up,” Wooten said.
“You want your first impressions of the city to be nice, and you’ve got some businesses that are really pushing their limit,” Case said in response to Wooten.
Commissioner Kirk Forshee reported that the police department answered 312 calls for service during month of August. There were 1,371 business checks, two animal complaints, two domestic calls, two trespassing calls and 23 suspicious activity calls. They worked 19 accidents, and conducted 87 traffic stops, which resulted in 43 citations. Collected fees for August were $13,177.87, for a total of $139,253.18 in collected fees for the year.
Forshee noted that officer Mike Coleman has put in his resignation. There are now two spots open for officers within the Trenton Police Department.
Powell noted that the community center was rented for 35 hours during the month of August. There were 12 work orders and/or complaints, and one county dog bite. The pool is now closed, and there were 81 total hours of parties at the pool.
Commissioner Lucretia Houts reported that there were seven monthly inspections for remodel, two for plan review and one for an addition. There were eight electrical, HVAC and plumbing inspections. The fire department was dispatched to 86 calls, and they were cancelled to 65 of those. There were six fire related calls, three accidents, one medical, and 11 standbys.
The sewer department answered 27 calls for underground locates, four emergency locates, 12 sewer calls, and one manhole repair.
Wooten noted the loss of Street Department employee Mike Poss, after a battle with COVID-19.
“I know we’re behind on everything. Our department has had it rough this month. We have had a lot of stuff going on, a lot of sickness. We suffered a great loss with one of our employees, Mr. Mike Poss. We will definitely miss him. He was the most level headed of all of us in the department. He made a great contribution. He went above and beyond. He could fix anything,” Wooten said.
Case spoke about COVID-19 during his report, noting that workers in emergency services are noticing a difference in wait time at hospitals.
“COVID has been a big deal for us … We had to transport one a while back from a wreck, and we waited an hour and 15 minutes in the hallway, to get the patient into the ER. Everywhere in this nation is full. This means longer times to get trucks back into service,” Case said.
Case continued, “This is a real concern. I ask everyone to please be cautious. Please wash your hands and social distance.”
Case presented the financial report. There was $460,550.11 in the general fund account as of Aug. 21. August revenue generated was $108,335.35. Expenses for the month of August were $154,557.78. There is $117,331.58 in SPLOST funds.
Marshana Sharp, with the Dade County Public Library, told the commissioners that if a parent or guardian has a child that’s age one and under, they can come to the library this month and pick out a book for free.
Sharp also noted that the library is offering curbside service, for those who wish to take advantage of it during the pandemic. Library patrons can put books on hold online, and the librarians will bring them outside.
Jane Dixon, representing the Alliance of Dade, told the commissioners that the Job Ready Dade hiring event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Dade County High School, from 9 a.m. to noon.
There are 77 investors, or members, and the Alliance hopes to be at 100 investors by the end of the year.
The next City Commission meeting will be held on Oct. 11.