Challenges to water and sewage systems from six inches of rain, unique response issues faced by rural fire departments, severe meth problems – these are the kind of issues facing city representatives all through the county.
And the City of Dresden is no exception.
In its monthly board meeting held Monday night, Dresden aldermen and other officials tackled these and other issues.
Four of the six aldermen were present – Gwin Anderson, Donnie Essary, Ronnie Gearin, and Robb Newbill. Jake Bynum and Dick Tidwell were absent. Mayor Danny Forrester presided over the meeting.
The abundant rains are causing some storm water to get into the sewer lines, Public Works Director Kerry Cooper, told the board. Repairs and maintenance to culverts and streets will cost more than $6,000, but the city has a number of larger projects scheduled to update aging lines that will be funded through grants and borrowing.
The flooding was coming from gutters and downspouts, not the creeks, offered Cooper. City water officials said Water and Waste Superintendent Jeff Pierpont, had noticed “water pouring in from somewhere,” coming in spikes of two million gallons, and then tapering off to nothing. He said they were confident on the main lines, but offered that there may be some cracks in homeowner’s lines.
A new rural fire response policy was approved that will raise the maximum rural protection fee from $1,300 to $2,500, in line with what other municipalities were charging in the area. The minimum fee of $750 remains the same. The board also gave Fire Chief Paul Hutcherson more discretion and flexibility in billing to cover unique cases as in a toss of a cigarette into a field.
Property owners who are billed a fee for a fire will also be informed that they can have their case reviewed by the board if they dispute the fee.
Police Chief Brent Perry informed the Board that the “meth problem was so bad” that area police were looking to the State Legislature to come up with a new bill on over-the-counter medicines.
He was instructed to draft a letter for the Board to sign in support of legislation that would take some of the pressure off of the meth problem.
In addition, the Board approved guidelines for a new Dresden Police Department “Ride Along” program that will allow residents over the age of 18 to ride with a police officer for up to four hours to see what kinds of challenges face law enforcement on a daily basis.
Perry said that they would see how many people were interested first and possibly add an orientation session to the program to give riders more background on the police.
In other business, Finance Director Kayla Rendon announced that $455,000 in property taxes had been taken up so far, leaving only $73,000 outstanding.
Sales tax in January – amounting to $93,000 – is the highest of any January since 2007.
The Board was also reminded of several upcoming dates. Wilson Park will open on April 9; the Community Easter Egg Hunt will be on April 23 at 10 a.m. in Wilson Park and the city will host a clean-up day starting at the Civic Center on April 2.