Dresden board talks finances

Dresden board talks finances
There was much to discuss Monday evening at the Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s monthly meeting. Mayor Danny Forrester began the night by recognizing and giving certificates of appreciation to several Dresden firefighters who assisted with the rescue efforts after the tragic Greenfield building collapse last month in which 32-year-old Renardo Jackson lost his life.  
Those who responded from the Dresden Fire Department were Dickie Hart, Chief Paul Hutcherson, Kory Green, Jimmy Rockett, John Gallimore, Freddie Winstead, Justin Staples and Patrick Tarver.
“We would like to acknowledge these gentlemen for their outstanding efforts for the City of Dresden,” said Forrester of the firefighters.
Forrester continued by mentioning how the city of Dresden had been “alarmingly” hit by crime over the last month, from the homicide of a Dresden resident to a series of vehicle burglaries.
“We have to get this under control and help the citizens of Dresden feel safe again. We are going to let them (criminals) know that they are not welcome in the City of Dresden. If they want come to the City of Dresden and want to commit a crime, we’re going to give them a home at the Wilson Hilton. We’re going to make sure that they stay for a while.”
Forrester informed the board he has written a letter to the governor asking for some assistance, but also asked they pass a resolution requesting District Attorney General Tommy Thomas, Judge William Acree and Judge Tommy Moore to levy harsher penalties to offenders. Alderman Dick Tidwell filed a motion that was seconded by alderman Ronnie Gearin. All aldermen approved the motion.
Another city goal is to grow a police force that is considered one of the smallest in the state in terms of the number of officers per number of citizens, so there can be more of a focus on crime prevention.
“We have a police force that has solved nearly every crime that has been committed during Chief Walker’s tenure. We have an excellent force, excellent people and we are extremely proud of them, but at the same time we need to sit down and see what we can do to prevent these crimes,” stated Forrester.
The police department is going to need more resources to accomplish this. There are plans to start setting up more alcohol and drug stops in all areas in the city. Forrester informed the board most crimes committed in the last 10 years had some form of alcohol or drug use initiated somewhere prior to the action. The hopes are by performing DUI drug stops, it will help to get these people off the streets before crimes can be committed.
With a small police force that has seemingly worked many long hours helping to protect the community and solve these crimes with limited resources, Forrester took the time to recognize the officers for their “extraordinary” service.
DPD officers mentioned were Gary Eddings, Gavin Elam, Averick Nixon, Todd Barber, Bryan Chandler, Assistant Chief Ricky Cobb, Christopher Crocker, Elizabeth Woods, Chief Randal Walker, Jessica Thornton, and Joe Parnell.
“We are proud of each and every one of you and we are going to give you the support and tools that you need to get this job done,” said Forrester.
During the meeting Dresden Fire Chief Paul Hutcherson received a portable electronic defibrillator from Jan Finch and Savanna Finch-Bratton of Sadie Saves.
The charity organization was founded after the death of Sadie Cook, who died after a bronchial asthma attack that may have been prevented if she had an EpiPen. The organization raises money for EpiPens and AED machines for people that may not be able to afford them including local fire departments and the rescue squad. The board approved the acceptance of the “gracious donation.”
In finance news, Carla Edwards reported 40 percent of 2011 property taxes have been collected totaling $211,961.75 as of Jan. 30. There is still an outstanding balance of $19,177.96 for 2010 taxes.
In unfinished business, the request to repair an apparent drainage problem on South Parkway Street near the Jim Bradberry property was tabled until the next board meeting in March.
Kerry Cooper of public works informed the board that Tetra Tech EM Inc. bid out the asbestos removal from the Baybee Shoe building in Dresden at $8,700. They are the same company that previously took the samples of the levels of asbestos in the building. Gearin filed a motion to accept other bids for the asbestos removal. Alderman Rob Newbill seconded the motion and all board members approved it. The main concern of board members was they don’t need to remove the asbestos until they know the final property cleanup costs.
“We have a legal obligation to the citizens of Dresden,” Forrester said. “We know there is a hazard so we need to clean it up.”
Forrester informed the board the money for the project is not in this year’s budget so it will have to be borrowed or shifted from other funds. Tidwell asked to file a separate motion to bid out the final cleanup efforts after the removal of the asbestos. Alderman Donnie Essary seconded the motion and all board members approved it.
In other news, board members approved the submittal of a Community Development Block Grant for $465,000 to assist in the funding of an ongoing sewer rehab project. The total cost of the project is reported at $505,225 and the City of Dresden will commit local funds to cover the remaining $40,225.
Joey Winstead of Parks and Recreation asked the board’s permission for the repair or removal of a metal pavilion at the park because he felt it was a “liability” to the citizens. Tidwell filed a motion to remove the pavilion because of its age. The motion was seconded by Newbill and approved by all board members.
The Dresden Condemnation Board will hold a meeting Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss matters concerning five properties. The next meeting of the Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be held at 6 p.m. March 4 at city hall.

WCP 2.09.12

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