By LYDIA BERGLAR
The City of Trenton commissioners continued to discuss plans to reinstate the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) at the April 10 commission meeting. Updates were also given on items from the previous meeting, as well as discussion of two SPLOST expenditures.
Regarding SPLOST expenditures, Terry Powell (parks & animal control commissioner) discussed the need for new LED lighting at Jenkins Park. He explained that a light pole snapped in a recent storm, but “the lights and poles are so old that we can’t replace the bulbs anymore. LED lights will make it brighter and cost us half as much in operating expenses.”
Mayor Alex Case added that the current wooden poles are over 50 years old and the one that snapped was rotten. He also noted that electrical issues will need to be brought up to code. Requests for proposals will be the next step in this project.
Powell added that the installation of a drainage system and paving of one of the park’s parking lots will soon be completed. He later noted that preparations are ongoing to open the pool as soon as school lets out for the summer.
Lucretia Houts (fire and utility commissioner) and Dewayne Moore (sewer plant supervisor) then explained the immediate need for a replacement pump at the city sewer plant. The station has two pumps which alternate running continuously. A third pump is kept in case of emergencies, but currently one pump is broken. The city is planning to purchase a replacement pump for a little over $10,000.
Regarding the crosswalk discussed in the March meeting, the commission is getting prices.
Regarding the plans for the elections building, Case reported, “We had a survey done and we shared the cost with the county.” The city has been working on right-of-way clarification and several other details
Regarding giving surplus property to the Tri-Community Fire Department (as discussed at the March meeting), the commission still plans to donate the property.
Regarding the installation of a baby box in Trenton (see the March meeting and the March 29 issue of the Sentinel for a full story), Case noted that they contacted the city’s attorney. April Keith (city clerk) explained that a baby box is outside of the city’s legislative authority. Some states do allow for surrendering infants via baby boxes, but Georgia is not one of those states. Infants must be surrendered in person.
Mike Norris (police commissioner) gave the March police report. The Trenton PD answered 247 calls in March and completed 1,717 business checks. 24 traffic stops resulted in 39 citations being issued.
Houts reported that the Trenton Fire Department answered 89 calls, 4 of which were fire related and 44 of which were canceled en route.
The commission then heard from Sandy White (Alliance for Dade CEO and president) about her experience with DDAs in other small towns in Georgia. She has been researching what it would take to reinstate the DDA.
Case noted that when preparing the budget for 2024, the city would need to consider DDA costs.
White said, “[The Alliance] is interested in partnering with the city on reinstating the DDA. I have been involved for quite a number of years with DDAs.”
She explained in detail the next steps on her check-list: Re-establish the downtown district, appoint an authority board, designate administrative support to assist the authority, develop a strategic plan, establish a budget, find additional funding sources, and implement the plan.
White noted,“You need somebody who’s worked with state agencies and groups and who’s familiar with grants,” someone who could serve as a liaison between property owners and businesses.
She explained that chambers of commerce focus on supporting small businesses “which are mostly found in downtowns.” She explained that a property inventory is needed, “because we need to know what’s truly available.” The DDA would then work to get those buildings occupied.