By LYDIA BERGLAR
At the beginning of the Feb. 13 City of Trenton Commission meeting, Mayor Alex Case reported that the city is moving to the same online agenda system that Dade County and the school board uses for meetings. “This is in the test environment,” he said. “Once it goes public, it will be on our city website…It’s more or less an open view for the public to see.”
The commission then reviewed items for SPLOST approval, beginning with a discussion of the need to update patrol car and body cameras for the Trenton Police Department. Case explained, “The camera systems in cars and body cams are changing. We currently have five cameras waiting to be repaired. We asked [Motorola] to come up and meet with us. Our body cameras are discontinued.” The new body cameras cost $995 total. “That’s about what we were paying originally.”
Case explained that the end of the life of the current car cameras is coming, although Motorola did not know when. “Our thought is to go ahead with [new cameras] in the three new cars and upgrade [each new car] as we go. We’re in the same boat with the county. They’re half the size of the original ones. It’s better technology and can last a long while. Our servers and software will be fine.”
The cost is $6,315 for each car. With the body cameras, the total expense is $21,931.
The city is also planning to replace Quickbooks with another financial software, with Case saying, “It’s getting harder to get help with Quickbooks, and it wasn’t designed for municipalities.” Taxes in particular are difficult to handle via Quickbooks.
The city has looked at three different softwares, with April Keith (city clerk) noting that Edmunds GovTech was the preferred and affordable option.
As first mentioned in the Dec. 12, 2022 meeting (see the Dec. 21, 2022 issue of the Sentinel), a city ordinance to allow micro-breweries is in the works. Case reported that the attorneys sent a draft of the brew pub ordinance to the city for thoughts and revisions.
Ryan Faircloth, a local business owner who brought this topic to the city, and the commissioners agreed that the draft was straightforward. Faircloth asked, “If we hosted an event, could we use this contract to sell beverages at the event?” Case answered that he thinks a special use permit would be needed for events.
Clifton Reasor (who works in business development for Roof Curb Systems in Trenton) and Faircloth plan to partner in securing property and building an establishment that would house a microbrewery and restaurant.
Faircloth spoke with the Sentinel, saying, “We would partner on the property and building. He would open up the brewery. The restaurant would have good quality food. I’m more on the real estate development side, and Clifton is focused on building his own brand of beer as well as the development side. We’d bring in a restaurateur.”
The commission discussed reinstating the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Case said, “This is something we’ve had in our codebooks since 1985. We’ve talked a little bit about what we can do [for small businesses], kind of like the IDA does for large corporations. There are things we can do and grants available to help [current and new] businesses…We’ve got a lot of empty storefronts throughout the city and property.”
Monda Wooten, street commissioner, said, “Peter Cervelli was the DDA director. He secured the $250,000 streetscape grant. I feel certain if he’d stayed on board, that would’ve happened, but [the authority was] dissolved. The DDA was a wonderful thing. The IDA is at the front, and the DDA was really helpful at retaining businesses.”
Faircloth added, “When I was talking with people in Chattanooga who see what the potential could be here in our little city, one of the first things they wanted to know is what incentives the city offers. The IDA can handle the big guys. So that’s why I mentioned it to [Case], to help the little guy, not just the big guy.”
The city would need people to serve on the authority, with Case saying, “If it’s something we’d like to revitalize, we’d need to see about getting some members who are interested. There are two two-year terms, two four-year terms, and three six-year terms.”
Mike Norris, police commissioner, read the police report. In January, the Trenton Police Department answered 259 calls for service and completed 2,090 business checks.
Lucretia Houts, fire and utility commissioner, read the fire report. In January, the Trenton Fire Department had 86 calls, 33 of which were canceled en route. The call break-down is as follows:
- 7 fire-related
- 2 accidents
- 29 medical
- 15 standby
Wooten reported that the street department assisted Scenic Dade and Limestone Valley RC&D with the Town Creek Trail clean-up event at the end of January.
The street department is also searching for two seasonal employees.
Case’s mayor report included the end of year financials. At the end of 2022, the general fund was $905,892.92.
Representing Scenic Dade, Jennifer Blair also reported on the Town Creek Trail clean-up event, saying, “Dozens and dozens of trees and shrubs were installed around Town Creek. It was a multi-organizational effort. SLTC and A Hand Up sent volunteers, and well over 40 local volunteers showed up. We removed a lot of invasive species which can be extremely detrimental to the native habitat. We also picked up a lot of trash. With your permission, we’d like to organize an additional event to install some leftover plants in the city park along Town Creek.”
During citizens participation, Nathan Wooten requested the city’s support of the 1945 Fair this July by helping with logistics and as becoming a co-sponsor of the event. The fair’s planning committee fills out a special event application each year.
Wooten also addressed the no-pet policy for the event. “My fear is if you put a dog in strange surroundings with hundreds or thousands of people and loud noises they do things they might not normally do.” Monda Wooten added, “You all know that nobody loves animals more than I do, but I strongly suggest that pets not be allowed that day. There was a dog there three years ago that actually bit someone.”
This led to a discussion about making a permanent dog-specific area of Jenkins Park. While the 1945 Fair would remain pet free, the commission discussed establishing an enclosed area for animals throughout the rest of the year. Case and Terry Powell, parks and animal control commissioner, mentioned issues such as pet owners not cleaning up after their animals and safety concerns for children and families at the park. The city will continue considering this issue.
The next city meeting will be March 13.