The 2021 budget and 2020 millage rate have been set and approved by Trenton City Commissioners as of Monday night.
A millage rate hearing, September commission workshop, and meeting were held Monday, September 14. There were no questions or comments by the public during the millage rate hearing. The hearing was held because Trenton is maintaining the millage rate at 4.498 mills and not accepting the rollback rate as calculated by the state. Maintaining the millage rate at the same rate, or accepting the growth, is considered a tax increase and requires hearings before being approved. City Commissioners approved the 4.498 millage rate during the meeting held later that evening.
The 2021 general fund budget was also approved by city commissioners. Trenton’s 2021 budget was approved at $1,850, 441. The sewer budget was approved at $414,000.
Ryan’s funeral home has purchased the property next to Edgewood Townhouses and owner, Steven Ryan, has requested the city release the road easement the city holds between Ryan’s recently purchased property and Edgewood Townhouses. Mayor Alex Case said the easement was intended to be West Edgewood, or something like that, if a road was needed and the only way the city can release the easement is to give it back 50/50 to Ryan and the owner of Edgewood Townhouses. Case asked commissioners to think about the request.
Also under discussion during the workshop was a speed bump for Barton Avenue. Commissioner Monda Wooten said a resident from Barton Avenue contacted her after speaking with the Trenton Police Department. Wooten said the resident has made several requests for a speed bump to be installed on Barton Avenue. Case said that the city needs to come up with criteria to determine what requests rate a speed bump before spending $1,000 purchasing a speed bump and having it installed. Police Chief Christy Smith said they have had calls about the speeding on Barton Avenue, but it has mainly been the one resident and there is one person in particular that is speeding. Smith said they have heavily patrolled the area and that she doesn’t know it is such a big issue that a speed hump is needed as the city has other areas that have bigger issues. The road has nine, ten houses at most and there have been no accidents and, to her knowledge, no one has been cited.
Case said the situation is like the one with the street lights. The city has a $12,000 power bill for street lights, but everyone wants one and they have to set criteria as they can not afford to put street lights everywhere. The same goes for the speed bumps and the city has to draw the line somewhere. Case said maybe if the whole street had requested a speed bump.
The Trenton Police Department answered 497 calls, performed 1,997 business checks, made 24 arrests, completed 41 reports, handled 6 animal complaints, 7 domestic violence calls, 2 mental health calls, one suicide, one assault, worked 19 traffic accidents, and made 249 traffic stops with 149 citations issues. Fines collected in August totaled $19,773.50. Year to date fines collected total $107, 006.78.
The pool is closed for the year and the community center remains closed due to COVID-19, Commissioner Terry Powell reported. Middle School softball has started at Jenkins park. Animal Control handled 17 work orders/animal complaints and two county dog bite calls.
Trenton Fire Department responded to 9 fire calls in August, 6 traffic accidents, and 3 medical calls. The department was dispatched and canceled to calls 36 times. Inspections had three new inspections, two remodels, four additions, and one planning review. They completed six electrical/HVAC/plumbing inspections. The sewer department performed 38 locates, 8 emergency locates, responded to 18 sewer calls, and made 2 line repairs in August.
In addition to their regular duties, the Trenton Streets Department began servicing equipment and worked with the Lions Club to hand out 1,000 boxes of produce to the public provided through the farmer’s buyout. Volunteers delivered meals in the city and county and Senator Jeff Mullis provided lunch for all of the volunteers.
Case gave an update on the CARES Act funds and pointed to the new flooring and construction in the lobby that will result in an aluminum storefront, new counters and shields for city employees as well as controlled access to the rest of the building and to space behind the counter. Case said laptops have also been ordered and the phone system upgraded, both to help with teleworking should that be necessary again. Next on the list is the removal of carpet and cloth-covered chairs in the City Commission meeting room to be replaced with the new flooring and surfaces that can be wiped down and sanitized.
Case also spoke about displaced worker grants with the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission to help workers displaced by COVID-19. In Dade, 70 people are using the services offered through displaced workers grant and the city has been able to use a couple of people to help with cleaning. Case asked commissioners to let them know if they have any COVID related jobs and to write up the job description and submit it to him to participate in the program. The program is for adults and youth.
In August, the city’s revenue was $56,794.92 and expenses were $152,366.36. Total for the year to date in revenue is $931,563.02 and expenses are $1,137,538.95. Case told everyone to remember that the city is in the “lean, lean months” and after they finish signing all their forms for the millage rate and they are approved by the state then tax bills will be sent out and revenue will start coming in.
Commissioners approved changes to update the city’s permit ordinances, changing the adoption fee for animals through the city pound from $50 down to $20 with the cost of the required spay and neuter and rabies shot paid by the adopter, a joint proclamation with the county declaring the week of September 13 -19 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, and the highest bid to purchase the city’s small paver and tar machine for $15,000 and $5,000 by Kissner Paving.
The complete city commission meeting can be viewed below.