BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (October 13) — During Tuesday night’s regular monthly meeting of the Greenfield City Board, members authorized live-streaming all future board meetings.
Video-Streaming City Board Meetings
A major topic for discussion was live video-streaming city board meetings every month.
Alderman James Roy Pope stated he has received quite a number of positive responses from local citizens requesting the city continue streaming meetings via the internet, even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. He said many elderly citizens, who have difficulty getting around, and those wishing to avoid cold or rainy weather conditions, have requested live internet coverage of the meetings continue. A motion to live-stream city board meetings passed 5-0.
In other business, the first reading of a revised fireworks ordinance failed by a vote 3 to 2, with five of eight members present. Aldermen James Roy Pope, Mike Caudle and Bobby Morris voted against the ordinance; and aldermen Paul Grooms and Donald Ray High voted in favor of it.
During discussion of the revised ordinance crafted during recent meetings, which was ready to be brought to a vote Tuesday night, several board members decided to leave the existing ordinance unchanged.
One of the main complaints voiced by local residents concerned noise generated by shooting fireworks late at night. Instead of changing the dates, the board opted to simply enforce the existing time limitations for setting off fireworks. The end result is the use of fireworks will be allowed on the following dates: June 20–30; July 1–7; December 25, 30 and 31; and January 1-2.
The use of fireworks is not allowed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. on the approved dates.
A written permit from the City of Greenfield is required to use fireworks any other time.
As City Attorney Beau Pemberton noted during a previous meeting, even if there was no fireworks ordinance, Greenfield has an ordinance prohibiting disturbing the peace on the books. He argued fireworks would certainly do that without proper regulation by the fire chief and police department.
Use of Force Police Policy
The Board unanimously approved an ordinance involving a new Use of Force Police Policy specifying when deadly and non-deadly force is allowed, depending on the circumstances. The standardized policy comes from Gov. Bill Lee’s office and the commissioner for Homeland Security.
Pemberton assured the board the policy in no way ties the hands of police officers to do their jobs. In fact, he states it protects the city by providing a policy for them to follow that standardizes procedural protocols. (See “Use of Force Policy Approved for Greenfield Police Department.”)
The City of Greenfield unanimously approved amending its Uniform Wastewater Ordinance, originally passed in 1987, which prohibits local citizens from funneling rainwater from their property into the city’s sewer system.
Alderman Caudle noted the State informed the City of Greenfield the problem needs to be addressed.
The ordinance adds the following language to the existing policy: “No person shall make connection of roof downspouts, exterior foundation drains, basement drains, areaway drains, or other sources of surface runoff or groundwater to a building sewer or building drain, which in turn, is connected to a public sewer, whether directly or indirectly.”
Water, Sewer and Street Supervisor Tony Stout stated the wastewater ordinance is intended to prevent runoff rainwater from overloading the sewer system. He noted several of the pipes leading from rainspouts to the sewers were detected when the sewer lines were smoke-tested recently. City workers cut and disconnected these pipes to prevent water runoff from entering the sewer system. The new ordinance seeks to prevent further incidents from occurring by notifying the public and carefully regulating water runoff at new building sites.
Pemberton explained this practice is already against state law. The city ordinance simply codifies it at the municipal level.
The Uniform Wastewater Ordinance requires passage on a second and third reading, as well as a public hearing.
Mayor Cindy McAdams and Greenfield Board members congratulated retiring Alderman Paul Grooms for 29 years of service to the City of Greenfield, as family members and friends applauded him for his dedication to the City of Greenfield.
Mayor McAdams presented Alderman Grooms with an award plaque and thanked him for his faithfulness. (See related article, “Greenfield Alderman Paul Grooms Honored for Three Decades of Service.”)
In the Fire Department report, Attorney Pemberton stated a judgment of approximately $27,000 was received against the property owner at 253 Hearn Rd., in order to cover the cost of a fire call at that address.
It was also announced the Fall Fire Prevention Festival is cancelled until next year.
Concerning properties on the condemnation list, Pemberton said, “The residence at 227 East Main St. has been demolished and the lot completely cleaned up. I have delivered the lien to the city recorder for her signature, so we can file the lien with the register’s office to recoup $2,700 in mowing and demolition costs.”
Pemberton stated Fire Chief Bob Dudley, who also serves as the city’s code enforcement officer, informed him the Gary Jack property passed an electrical inspection and will be removed from the condemnation list.
The Hyde property will be sold in the next couple of weeks and go back on the tax roll. The buyer says the property will be rehabbed and renovated.
In the last 12 months, out of approximately one dozen properties, there are only about three left on the condemnation list. Issues with the other properties have been resolved.
Stout stated Martin Paving submitted the low bid of $153,000 for paving sections of several city streets. He noted, of the several streets selected for repaving, only one had to be removed from the list in order to keep the price under the amount in the street repair budget. The project calls for repaving portions of streets and patchwork as needed. The board approved the bid 5-0.
Greenfield Librarian Kathy Watson reported the library is open, but certain restrictions are in place, including wearing masks. “Most in-house programs are on hold for right now,” She said. Watson states new printers are needed and can be paid for out of her existing budget.
In the Parks and Recreation report, Mayor McAdams announced local ball teams are attending a couple of travel games, including a tournament in Jackson.
A breakdown of the City’s sales taxes during the past month reveals local sales taxes were $25,272.25, which was an increase of $393.12 over the previous month; and state sales taxes amounted to $25,596, which is down $2,728.53 from August’s rate, but is $3,366.45 more than the same time last year. “Even with the pandemic, we’ve held our own, and that’s what small towns are all about,” Mayor McAdams said.
In announcements, Mayor McAdams stated a Trunk-or-Treat is planned in downtown Greenfield from 4-6 p.m. on Halloween. She noted several local businesses and churches are participating in the event.
The Senior Citizens Center will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “We’ve had it sanitized,” Mayor McAdams said. “They will have to abide with the guidelines, which includes social distancing, no food or potluck meals.”
Mayor McAdams said the Yard of the Month Award goes to Jason, Linley, Caden and Brooks Sparkman. She added, the next Yard of the Month will be chosen in May of 2021.