Story by Macenna True Press Reporter
The Gleason city board met on Nov. 21. Several items of business were addressed, including the acceptance of a new waste management company’s bid and the passing of the first of two votes of two new ordinances regarding on-site beer consumption and city court costs.
City attorney Beau Pemberton updated the board on the financial audits awaiting completion. He said he received communication from the auditor stating they “did not anticipate the process taking much longer”. City recorder Marsha Hatley sent in all requested information regarding managements plan to address issues that were raised by the auditors when they were submitted, and Pemberton stated the city was simply waiting for the auditor’s approval at this point.
Pemberton also said that a tax sale has been scheduled for the 2019 lien property taxes for late February. He encouraged those who have not already paid their 2019 property taxes to do so with a reminder that if there was failure to comply, “the city will sell your property.”
Donny Bunton, with the planning commission, provided the second reading of the re-adoption of the zoning ordinance, which included new and updated language to bring the city’s zoning up to current standards. He said, “Some of the major things that were revised include revisions for mobile homes, tiny houses, non-conforming uses, revisions for daycares, self-storage uses, apartment developments, sign ordinances, revised parking regulations, revised communication towers” and more. A full revised ordinance can be requested at city hall. The meeting was recessed, and a public hearing was held. There were no questions or comments from the board or citizens at that time. A vote was held—Radford and Bennett voted no—Hodges and Cook voted yes. Anderson broke the tie with a vote to accept and the motion to adopt the ordinance passed.
Police Chief Brian Legons, at the request of Mayor Charles Anderson, informed the board of how city court costs are used. He began by explaining that when citations are issued in the city for offenses such as speeding or violation of the seatbelt law, citizens go to city court. If the charges are dismissed, they are still required to pay court costs. If they are found guilty, they are fined for the citation as well as required to pay court costs. Currently, Gleason’s court costs are $100 and have been that way for at least the last 3 years. Legons said he conducted research within the county and found that raising the court costs by just $10 would put the city in the middle of the average. Legons said court costs are used to pay the city judge their salary along with covering processing costs, the use of equipment utilized by officers, the paper and ink, other supplies, et cetera.
Alderman Wade Cook inquired about how the city judge was paid. He asked. “How do we pay the judge? Is it by ticket or hour or something else?” Pemberton told him it was a set salary for the month. Anderson stated the city paid the judge $125 a month, noting, “he has not asked for a raise that I know of.” Legons commented on inflation and the rising costs of everything including the supplies they use daily.
A motion was made by Alderman Tommy Hodges to increase city court costs by $10. Alderman Mike Bennett seconded the motion. A roll call vote was then taken with Aldermen Keith Radford and Cook opposed, Aldermen Bennett and Hodges as well as Anderson voting to approve the increase. The motion passed.
March 2023 will see the end of a contract with Republic Services, the city’s current waste removal service. Another provider, RaeKar, which holds contracts in Greenfield, Sharon and Martin, put a bid in for the contract. Representatives from both companies were present to answer any questions. Anderson reviewed the bids, stating Republic’s bid on a five-year contract, while it began lower than RaeKar’s bid, included a 4.5% annual increase while RaeKar began a little higher but with only a 3% annual increase.
Anderson said, “I would like to say I appreciate the services that Republic has provided for us. As far as I know, they have had a perfect safety record. I would like it noted that I personally have received quite a few complaints via email and cell phone from many citizens in the town regarding our current provider about service – not cost.” He went on to say there were support letters for RaeKar from the mayors of Bradford, Greenfield and Martin in the bid packets as well. Cook made a motion to accept RaeKar’s bid and was seconded by Hodges. The motion passed unanimously.
Pemberton introduced an updated beer ordinance that would allow for the on-site consumption in local restaurants that may choose to participate. He reiterated that the ordinance did not include the sale or consumption of hard liquor or liquor by the drink but only the beer one would already find at a local convenient store. Radford, who proposed the taxes procured from it to go to the city’s parks program, requested this ordinance change for consideration months ago. After further consideration, the motion to update the ordinance was unanimously approved. It will need to pass a second vote and withstand a public hearing, which will be advertised, before it takes effect.
Gleason’s Hometown Christmas will be Dec. 3 and will include the first annual Christmas Parade, beginning at 6 pm that evening. The library committee had previously approved a mural to be hung on the outside of the building and Anderson expects it to arrive and the project to be completed soon. Congratulations were given to Public Works assistant director Clay Wright on his wedding. The next board meeting will be Dec. 19 at 7 pm at the Gleason Community Center.