As the City of Trenton starts working on the 2021 budget, CARES Act funds have been deposited in the city’s account.
The Trenton City Commission held their August City Commission work session and meeting Monday night. On the agenda, as with the county, was CARES Act funds. Mayor Alex Case explained the city had been awarded $112,000 in CARES Act funds, with $33, 779.36 already deposited in the city’s account. That first deposit of funds needed to be obligated or spent by the end of August. CARES Act funds can only be spent on a limited amount of things to help offset the costs of COVID safety measures for employees and the public.
Case said the first thing to be done would be a new aluminum and glass storefront and enclosure for the city’s lobby, replacing the wood and open floor plan currently in place. Doing so will protect the employees that work in the lobby as well as the public with surfaces that can be easily wiped down and a locking door to access space behind the counters. Additionally, a window in the wall of one of the offices will help with handling court business and other requests.
Other projects and items for purchase being considered are touchless hand sanitizer stations, driers and soap dispensers at the park, city offices and other public spaces; upgrades to the city’s phone system for teleworking; and new laptops for any time working from home may be necessary.
Case asked commissioners to approve a resolution giving Case the authority to sign any contracts or approve any purchases made with CARES Act funds. The resolution was approved.
Budget planning for the city has begun and commissioners received their preliminary budget folders showing the January through July budget thus far for 2020 and the proposed 2021 budget based on current numbers. Case told commissioners that he would like to hold a work session to go over the budgets and any changes or questions commissioners had. The budget workshop was set for August 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten brought up the city’s brush ordinance and said that people were asking for more and more brush pickup that did not meet the city ordinance’s guidelines. Case said another concern was that the city did not have the equipment to really do brush pickup and suggested the issue be discussed again at a later time. The Supervisor for the Streets Department explained some of the problems like people putting out “brush” that was more than 4 inches in diameter and which their equipment could not handle. Another problem was citizens who put out load after load of brush or put out brush mixed with heavier tree pieces and the employees would have to dig through the pile to try and get the pieces that did meet city guidelines.
Wooten shared a letter they were going to start leaving on the doors of homes that had brush that did not meet city guidelines. Besides the 4-inch limit, which Case said in his opinion any brush bigger than 4-inches was a tree, brush and trees cut down by a commercial company had to be hauled off by that company. The city does not have anywhere to place larger brush and Case said city residents could haul the brush themselves if it did not meet guidelines or even get a burn permit from Georgia Forestry and burn it themselves. The only time those guidelines did not apply was during tornado cleanup.
Wooten asked commissioners to consider moving to surplus a small paver and tar trailer the city has not used in over seven years. Wooten said that a representative with the company doing the paving for the city this year had seen the machines and asked to purchase them. Kissner Paving said they would like the machines to do clean up work and were also interested in the equipment because no permit was needed to move them. It was explained that the two pieces did not crank and were not in working order, but Kissner said their company could handle getting them fixed. Kissner offered $10,000 for the paver or trade of $15,000 in paving for the city. An additional $5,000 was offered for the tar machine.
After speaking with the city attorney and city clerk, Wooten said it was suggested the city do one of two things based on their charter – surplus the equipment and put it on govdeals.com to be bid on or surplus the equipment and take sealed bids. Kissner could bid the $15,000 and then if the highest bidder would be able to provide that amount in paving. Wooten said Kissner said he was offering more than it was worth, but on a personal level they would really like to have it. Prices online for other equipment not working ranged from $1,200 to $8,900. A newer, working paver of the same size went for $14,000. Police Commissioner Kirk Forshee and Fire and Utilities Commissioner Lucretia Houts said the equipment was taking up space and even if they found a use for them sometime in the future, the cost to get them working might not even be worth it for the city. Commissioners approved declaring the equipment surplus and putting it out for bid with bids to be opened at the next City Commission meeting.
Revenue for January through July for the City of Trenton was $874,768.20 or 47.9% of the budget with expenditures at $985,172.50 or 53.9% of the budget. Case said while the city was about 6% over revenue in expenditures, the city would have some heavy revenue coming in at the end of the year.
Video of the city commission meeting and work session can be viewed below.