By LYDIA BERGLAR
At the January 8th meeting of the City of Trenton Board of Commissioners, Alex Case (mayor) gave an update on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). He reported that the people who have expressed interest and who the commission has discussed are Ryan Faircloth, Wesley Bethune, Stephanie Lawson, Cheryl McGee, Monda Wooten, Careyee Bell, and Susan Gross. The city will confirm each individual’s desire to be on the authority.
Per the state, DDAs must consist of seven members. One member can also be an elected official on the municipal governing authority (which is Wooten, a city commissioner), while the others are a mix of city residents, owners/operators of downtown businesses, or neighboring county residents who own/operate a downtown business.
Ansel Smith (assistant fire chief) requested SPLOST expenditure for new fire suits which the board approved. He explained that suits must be replaced every ten years, and the department staggers purchases rather than replacing all at one time. He requested $19,975 for five “turnout suits” and $4,650 for five “extrication suits.”
Case noted that the city will also bring this before the county commission at the February meeting because of the two county fire stations. When Wooten asked what happens to the old suits, Smith reported that the Young Explorers Firefighters program uses them, and they are used in training situations to reduce wear on the new sets.
The board also approved the Recreation Vehicle Park Ordinance which has been in discussion for several months. RV parks are now zoned for the RA (recreational activity) zone.
Portions of the ordinance read: “RV parks shall be connected to a public water supply and a public sanitary sewer system, or an on-site sewage management system approved by the Dade County Environmental Health Department and City of Trenton Sewer Department…The minimum lot area for the development shall be ten acres on single trac [sic] or lot…Direct access to a City, county, state Hwy shall be required. No entrance shall be through a residential district, nor shall movement of traffic from the park through a residential district be permitted…No recreational vehicle or space shall be rented or occupied for a period of more than 30 days.”
Mike Norris (police commissioner) was not at the meeting, so Steve Beaudoin (police chief) read the police report. In December, the Trenton Police Department answered 338 calls for service, conducted 1,436 business checks, addressed zero animal complaints, responded to four domestic disturbance calls, nine trespassing calls, 16 suspicious activity calls, and worked 17 traffic crashes. From 154 traffic stops, 130 citations were issued.
During his report, Terry Powell (parks/animal control commissioner) said, “We got our new truck for animal control.” The Sentinel followed up with Powell for further details. Powell explained that this Ford F-250 will be used for all animal complaint calls and to transport animals as needed. The truck carries an aluminum pen, catchpoles, and rifles with sedative darts.
The Sentinel asked what kinds of animal complaints the city typically receives. Powell said most calls are about dogs, and some are about cats. He said that people who have chicken houses often want cats so the city is able to rehome stray cats quickly.
When asked if the dogs have collars/tags, Powell responded, “Usually, it’s a neighborhood nuisance that somebody doesn’t take care of or someone outside of the city drops them off here.”
He reported that in an effort to keep euthanasia rates low, the city houses and feeds the animals for a long time. He reported that while the city has not had to put down many animals in the last few years, the county has had several animals put down.
Lucretia Houts (fire and utility commissioner) reported that the Trenton Fire Department answered 104 calls, 14 of which were fire related and 51 of which were canceled en route. The total calls in 2023 was 1,142.
Monda (street commissioner) mentioned the Christmas lights again, thanking property/business owners who let the city put up lights on their property.
Faircloth added that several guests at The Groovy Nomad noted how much they enjoyed the lights and decorations, expressing a desire to return next year.
Case and Sandy White (Alliance for Dade CEO and president) noted that people would like to have more time to enjoy the lights, so the Alliance is considering the weekend after Thanksgiving for Light Up Trenton 2024.
During Citizens Participation, Faircloth said, “Prior to [Sandy White] and Patricia [Cloud] coming on board to the Alliance for Dade, I wouldn’t give them any money. After she came on board and got Patricia in there, I’m…seeing a little rock and roll here. We feel good about what you guys are doing. It’s great for our community, and we appreciate what you’re doing.”
Faircloth also thanked Wooten and Mike Cameron (state representative) for attending the annual Thanksmas event that Ronnie Hunt (along with Faircloth and support from the community) put on. The event featured a free meal and raised funds to provide Christmas meals and presents to families in the community. Faircloth reported that about $8,000 was raised.
Case noted that the city is working to quickly replace a Trenton City Police patrol car. A tree fell on one vehicle while it was parked at the officer’s residence. The interior equipment can be reused, and the department is working with the insurance company. Case alerted the commissioners that he will be calling them for quick approval (rather than waiting until next month’s meeting).