Trenton City Council addresses various agenda items at latest meeting

City of Trenton

Trenton City Council members last night approved a contract with Blakely and Associates of Chillicothe for nearly $53,000 to, in part, complete programming for times when the power supply that Trenton purchases is curtailed, such as in severe storms.

The program is called the Black Start project and the Blakely contract also includes software upgrades to the SCADA System PLC. (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition / Programmable Logic Controller)

The council approved a finance committee recommendation to purchase two mowers from the Trenton Park Department. The cost for the used mowers totals $10,000 with the city using them on the airport grounds.

Following a recommendation from the finance committee. the council formally approved health insurance costs for city employees. There are three options for employees to choose from.

In a discussion on the sludge truck for the wastewater plant, City Administrator Ron Urton Junior said the used truck is being advertised for sale with bids to be opened February 2. It also was noted the city is looking into a renting a large tractor for use with a spreader to dispose of the sludge.

The council approved Police Chief Tommy Wright’s recommendation to hire Keith Vance of Camden County as a police officer. Vance was introduced to city officials and is originally from St. Louis and spoke of prior law enforcement experience.

Chief Wright noted Vance was the choice of the police personnel board but his official hiring was delayed until the city council meeting of last night. That led to some of the council questioning the merit system type of police department where the city has the final say on personnel. Chief Wright said, in this case, it slowed the process of having the new officer begin work at Trenton.

The city attorney is to look into the pros and cons of the merit system which is allowed by state law.

The city council approved paying dues of $433 for the city of Trenton to belong to the Trenton area chamber of commerce. This came after Mayor Nick McHargue questioned the expenditure. The cost is split between the city and utility.

The finance committee to the city council meets today at noon regarding the capital budget. Last night, City Administrator Urton updated the council on efforts to obtain enough funding to cover the estimated three million dollars it’ll cost to replace the 17th street bridge. This includes relocation of utilities in that area.

While some of the funding is committed by other sources, the city, he reported, could be responsible for the biggest share of the cost. Urton noted the railroad committed $775,000; a community development block grant provides 500 thousand dollars; and the city hopes multi-modal funds of the Department of Transportation can be as much as $500,000. The block grant money, according to Urton, expires in September 2018 (after it was awarded in 2015). He’s asking the finance committee for direction on the project with the city potential investment ranging from 1.3 to 1.8 million dollars.

The longest discussion involved horse manure on city streets.

Mayor Nick McHargue has previously suggested horses be strapped with bags. Several members of the Amish community attended the council meeting and expressed a desire to work with the city. But the Amish noted the use of manure bags makes it harder on them due to their cost and the time it takes to strap on a bag.

While several locations were cited including residential areas, it was felt by city officials that horse manure on Harris Avenue is the most pressing issue due to the belief prospective companies may look at the ConAgra building, on Harris, as a future site.

One of the Amish suggested the city post signs for a portion of Harris Avenue that states no horses allowed. Some of the council appeared to agree that signage could be sufficient for now. City Attorney Tara Walker is to develop a revision to an ordinance to allow signage prohibiting horses from using Harris Avenue between 17th street and 13th Court.  It’s anticipated this will be voted upon at the January 23rd council meeting.

The city attorney also is to look into whether the city can solicit three-year leases on hay ground instead of doing so annually. She also was asked to review the city ordinance to see if clarification is needed on property owners mowing right of ways.

Prior to the public meeting which began at 7:10, the city council met in closed session regarding personnel. City Clerk Cindy Simpson said there’s nothing to report.

The agenda also listed a closed session following the public meeting but that executive session was not held. All eight council members were present.