Council considers security at Bishop Park, realignment of city’s department heads

By Jamie Miller

The monthly City Finance and Personnel meeting started last night with a short, three items on the agenda all having to do with[more] Bishop Park. Due to the recent security issues at the park, a surveillance system was proposed to help cut down on theft and rowdiness.

Police Chief Mark Kizer alluded to some issues that have been occurring at the park saying, “There have been tremendous amounts of theft.”

This issue was approved for full council and approved in the council meeting.

Royal Communications came in with the low bid at roughly $56,000 for the entire system. According to recently appointed Parks Director, Derek Phillips, the system is “easy to use.” The park’s one-eighth cent fund will be used to finance the surveillance equipment so the city’s general fund will not be affected.

Bryant Family Fest is around the corner and it has been proposed to charge $5 per car for parking. The event runs for three days, July 2-4. The cost of the festival is expected to be covered with the $5 parking fee. This issue was moved to full council as well and later approved.

Bids were recently sent out for a janitorial service to be used at Bishop Park. The agreement is still being worked out, but bids have been approved by the city council to be released.

The regular city council meeting began at 7 p.m., sharp with all alderman present except for Brenda Miller and Rob Roedel. The night began with old business being discussed. Finance Director, Gary Hollis, gave an update of the city’s finances saying, “The sales tax revenue for the month is close to budget and on target.” The city has recently gotten a better data back-up system for their financial computer data as well that is being implemented.

In March’s City Council meeting, Mayor Jill Dabbs, presented her plan to realign some of the city’s positions to better meet the needs of the city by combining job duties and saving money. According to Dabbs, her plan would save the city an initial $125,000 by simply combining job duties. Areas being affected are Public Works Director, Community Development Director, Community Development Manager, and the Streets Superintendent.

After taking a vote on the issue last night, there was a 3-3 tie, so therefore the motion failed to adopt the positions as Mayor Dabbs outlined in previous meetings. At the conclusion of the old business portion of the meeting, the heads of departments for the city, Parks Director Derek Philips; Finance Director, Gary Hollis; Police Chief, Mark Kizer; Community Development Administrator, LaVenia Jones; and Chief Building official, Greg Huggs, approached the council with Fire Chief Randy Cox as their spokesman. Chief Cox spoke on behalf of the other leaders informing the council that their lack of decision on the realignment is beginning to impede on their every day operations. He asked that the council sit down and do what has to be done, putting personal feelings aside, and getting something approved so that the city does not suffer due to a non decision by the council.

Mayor Dabbs added at the conclusion of the night that she was willing to have more committee meetings and workshops to work through differences that the council may have in coming to an agreement about the positions in the realignment.

In new business, an ordinance was passed prohibiting standing or walking on public medians, which will go into effect immediately with a $50 fine as a penalty. The Springhill overpass extension alignment, the Prickett Road extension alignment and the Raymar Road overpass north alignment were approved as well by the council with the details being tabled until next month’s meeting when Jacobs Engineering can present more data concerning traffic on all three areas. Details include making the areas two or four lane and making the right-of-ways either 80 or 90 feet.

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