Comer’s city council was presented with an expanded “needs list” June 7.
On the agenda were a firing range for Comer’s police department, a new transmission for a city truck, a new backhoe and a new computer and software for the office.
The least costly of the four, the firing range, met the greatest opposition from the public. The range would be built on property already owned by the city with construction and equipment donated by citizens. But a number of nearby residents expressed their concern for the noise and safety of the range near their homes.
Noting that the county is building a new range for the sheriff’s office, several suggested that the city make arrangements with the county to use its facility.
Police Chief Brent Zellner pointed out that his officers are required by law to qualify on their weapons annually, and that they need some practice time to assure they can qualify. He estimated that the range would be used no more than three or four days each year.
He added that frequent changes in county government could change the willingness of the sheriff’s office to make its range available. Zellner and Mayor David McMickle agreed to talk to the sheriff’s office and determine if that range would be available, and how much it would cost to use it.
Public Works superintendent Willis Gabriel brought two items to the floor. He has an opportunity to buy two small aerators for the city’s water treatment pond. The pumps would cost $3,000 plus some installation cost. New pumps would cost around $12,000. He noted that the pond is currently in compliance with state rules but it has potential problems in the future. The pumps would not solve all the problems, but they would keep the pond from going out of compliance during the summer heat, he said. The project was tabled for more information.
His second request was to replace the broken backhoe. The machine currently has two bad hydraulic cylinders that will cost $1,000 each and would only patch the machine up temporarily. He wants to replace the machine. A new backhoe would cost up to $30,000.
The city has two meters that need to be relocated, and council members offered to loan the use of a backhoe until a new one can be found and purchased.
Interim city clerk Missy Queen suggested that the city’s 12-year-old computer system needs to be upgraded and that contracts for payroll, water/sewer billing and other routine activities be sought. She discussed problems getting bills and checks out on time using the old equipment, and the fact that the current system has no backup in the event it crashes. All these functions are currently performed by the old machine at no cost to the city. Her request was tabled for more information.
In other actions, council approved changes in the contract for the Travel Museum building which will result in a 10-year guarantee on the roof repairs. The council heard a report on the delay in signing a quit claim deed from the board of education for land needed for a lift station.
Council members heard a report from the mayor that the Georgia LARP program has resurfaced Pine Avenue and Ivy Street will be next. He noted that the request for Clover Street was denied because it is “too long.”
The city agreed to allow the city police to take part in a Boy Scout Explorer program for teenagers between 14 and 20 who are looking for possible career experiences.
Zellner reported that his office investigated three wrecks, made eight arrests, wrote 44 citations and responded to 216 calls for service.