The discussion originated with Mayor Dennis Welch updating the council on the progress of a storm shelter provided by the Emergency Management Agency. Welch said the EMA told him the shelter will have to be placed on a certain designated portion of land, but that land does not belong to the city and the owner has been reluctant to sell the property.
Welch said the city had suggested an alternate location, the dilapidated, white building that formerly housed the city hall, jail and fire station be destroyed and the location used for the city storm shelter, but the EMA had refused to change the location.
Welch said that may mean that the city does not get the EMA shelter, but the city will look into finding a way to build its own, if that becomes necessary.
The council did decide to go ahead with demolition of the old building, which is currently an eyesore and possibly a liability for the city. Welch said the building was infested with bats, rats and asbestos and could not be used again. He added that the city would begin pursuing funding for a storm shelter.
The council also discussed the condition of the city’s community center, where the council was meeting.
Welch said he had suspended the cleaning fee for the building until the council can appoint a committee to oversee the operations of the community center. This would include inspections before and after rentals and events and overseeing routine maintenance and care of the building.
The council also decided to enforce a previously passed measure that would move the day-to-day court services from the community center to city hall. Municipal court will still be held in the community center, but the court clerk’s daily duties will be performed from city hall.
“It’s just a matter of safety for me,” Welch said. “She’s here by herself during the day and it just isn’t safe.”
In other business:
•The council decided to take applications for all positions within the city. They will place an advertisement in the paper to request applications and resumes.
•The council agreed to hire Blake Powell as a police officer and send him to the police academy in April.
•The council agreed to take bids for the old police cars that are no longer in the rotation.
The hope is that the old cars will generate money for a new police car. Bids will be taken at city hall.
•The council discussed the open council seat and recognized several of the interested parties at the meeting. Welch said that anyone interested should write a letter and send it to his attention at the city.