Town tables decision on painting police car

Published 10:01 pm Monday, June 10, 2013

The Maplesville Town Council tabled a decision on Monday regarding painting one of the police department’s cars to match the other five.

Chief Todd Ingram said he had received complaints from residents that the solid white vehicle is difficult to identify as a police car because it doesn’t resemble the other black and white patrol cars.

Ingram confirmed the car does have insignia on the sides indicating it is a certified police car.

“It does look professional when all your cars are painted the same color,” Ingram said.

The estimated cost of painting the car would be $2,750, which could not be covered by Safe Streets Act funds since the department has allocated the current funds from the Safe Streets Act to purchasing and outfitting the department’s new patrol car, a 2013 Ford Interceptor sedan costing $21,767.

“We’ve got the money to do it, and it’s out of the general fund,” Mayor W.C. Hayes said.

The department might be able to use money from the tip and seizure funds, but Ingram would have to designate one officer as a narcotics officer first, and the council would have to approve the officer.

Councilman Richard Davis made a motion to paint the white police car using money from the town’s general fund, and councilman Hal Harrison seconded it.

Davis, Harrison and Hayes voted in favor; councilwoman Sheila Hall opposed after voicing concerns about spending the money; and Hilda Atchison abstained from the vote because she is related to a department employee.

Councilwoman Patty Crocker was absent from Monday’s meeting.

In a 3-1 vote, the motion failed to pass due to lack of a majority, which must be at least four of the six council members (including the mayor) in favor.

The council approved a pay rate for new full-time officers Keith Avery and Bridgette Ellis to be $15 per hour with a 25-cent pay raise every three months with the council’s approval.

The 25-cent raise every three months would apply until the end of a one-year probationary period mandatory for all of the town’s new officers.

The one-year period for Avery and Ellis will end in May 2014, at which point their pay would be set at $16 per hour.

In fire department business, the council approved street department employee Malcolm Huff for a volunteer firefighter position pending a drug test.

Steel Built Systems LLC in Maplesville repaired the department’s building after an accident involving a fire truck last month yielded damage to both the truck and building.

Building repairs cost the town $6,646 with a $1,000 deductible.

Parts had to be ordered for the truck to be fixed by Automotive Dynamics in Maplesville and are expected to arrive in four to six weeks.

The quote for truck repairs is $2,081.04 with a $500 deductible.

For the street department, Kenny Barrett told council members that animal complaints have increased significantly in the last month, and several instances of dog bites have been reported.

Barrett said Maplesville has a leash law and will be enforcing it more strictly to help decrease the number of unrestrained animals wandering around town and harming people.

The town issues a written warning on the first leash law offense, and residents could be subject to fines plus court costs upon the second offense.

When the owner of a stray dog or cat is unknown, the town takes the animal to the Chilton County Humane Society and pays a $40 per animal drop-off fee.

The owner may pick up the animal from the humane society but must reimburse the town for the $40 drop-off fee.

In new business, the council agreed to allow Faye Hightower, manager of the Maplesville Senior Center, to lead story hour for children at the town library this summer while assistant manager Sandy Madsen mans the center in Hightower’s absence.

The council also voted to change the town’s 14 separate checking accounts, such as fire and garbage, to interest-bearing checking accounts.

As interest-bearing accounts, the accounts are similar to savings accounts in that they accrue interest at a rate of 0.11 percent as long as they maintain a minimum $500 balance.

If any account balances fall below $500, the town will be charged a $10 service fee.

In other business Monday, the council:

•Approved to wait for Paul Smith of Steadfast Enterprises of Centreville to send them a quote for repairing the Foshee house roof since the council did not receive any bids and therefore is not required to bid it back out.

•Voted to clean the adjoining sidewalk and send a letter to the owners of overgrown property on Alabama Highway 139 notifying them of their violation of town Ordinance No. 129, which states properties deemed nuisances, or eyesores, are prohibited.

•Reviewed the status of pending park grants submitted for the town’s parks, including the playground and ball fields.

•Approved for the street department to grade Mitchell Hill Road and Birch Street.

•Heard from Ron Gatlin, utility board superintendent for Maplesville, who said residents may call him anytime with questions or concerns about water usage.