BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (December 8) — As the regular monthly meeting of the Greenfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen got underway on Tuesday, December 8, Mayor Cindy McAdams announced City Recorder Callie Smithson and Alderwoman Kelly Keylon were both absent, due to contracting COVID-19. She said several other people in the community, including certain members of the congregation at three local churches, also contracted COVID-19. Additionally, Greenfield Junior High School Principal Willie Trevathan, states the Greenfield High School girls’ basketball team was quarantined until December 12, and the junior high girls’ basketball team was temporarily quarantined in November, due to the pandemic, but have since been cleared and played in the Weakley County Basketball Tournament, where they were runners-up.
One of the top items on the agenda was the City’s Wastewater Ordinance, which was originally passed in 1987 and prohibits local citizens from funneling rainwater from their property into the city’s sewer system.
The issue came to the forefront in recent months, when state officials informed the City of Greenfield the problem must 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.”
The wastewater ordinance is intended to prevent runoff rainwater from overloading the sewer system. 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.
According to City Attorney Beau Pemberton, this practice is already against state law. The city ordinance simply codifies it at the municipal level.
Board members voted in favor of The Uniform Wastewater Ordinance, 7-0, on its third and final reading.
During a review of the city’s financial report for November 2020, Alderman James Roy Pope said there was an increase in the street fund, after the city was awarded a $75,000 paving grant, plus $38,000 from the sale of public property on Terrace Drive, which amounts to $113,000. When these funds are added to $40,000 that was already in the budget for street repairs, a total of approximately $153,000 was available for street improvements. These funds were spent for street upgrades.
Alderman Pope asked that an asterisk be placed next to entries in the monthly payout sheet for employees’ withholdings (personal insurance, child support or other items), so these figures will not be confused with money the city is paying out for expenses. Pemberton stated this would be permissible, providing the names of the employees remain anonymous, due to confidentiality laws.
In department reports, Fire Chief Bob Dudley, who also serves as building codes inspector, stated a final order of remedy is ready on a condemned property on Acklen Street and once the property owners receive the order, they have 10 days to reply to the letter before the city takes possession and clears the lot at the property owners’ expense.
Dudley said the city did not receive a fire truck grant his department applied for, but the city’s grant writer, Shannon Cotter, and another individual, are rewriting the narrative for a grant application to be submitted next year.
Greenfield Fire Department needs to buy a truck equipped with extrication equipment, Dudley said. The extrication equipment would be used to cut accident victims out of wrecked vehicles. He stated the city also failed to get a forestry grant his department applied for.
Dudley reported he needs more people on the day shift. He recently filled two vacant positions and needs to hire one additional firefighter. He explained most firefighters work during the day and are only available at night, leaving him understaffed during the day. He said turnout gear for the firefighters is also needed.
Additionally, Dudley said the fire hoses are supposed to be replaced every 10 years, but are now 16 years old.
Public Works Director Tony Stout stated paving work has been completed on several streets.
Mayor McAdams announced Stout is retiring at the end of December, after working for the City of Greenfield the past 43 years. She said Public Works employee Robert Rodriguez will serve as the new director of the department. The mayor and aldermen expressed their appreciation to Stout for his many years of faithful service.
“We’re doing our annual toy drive,” Police Chief Joey Radford said. “I want to ask everybody to donate a toy to underprivileged children. As you all know, it’s been a tough year for everyone. There will be some families in need this year that might not have been in need last year. So, any and all help would be appreciated.” He stated there are three locations where toys may be dropped off – Greenfield City Hall, Greenfield Police Department and the local Dollar General store on Meridian Street.
When asked about a couple of charges in the Police Department’s monthly payouts, Chief Radford explained his department received an old printer from Greenfield Library, after the facility purchased a new unit. Chief Radford explained, in order to use the donated printer, another line was needed. So, computer technicians were hired to update Gleason Police Department’s computers to make them compatible with the printer.
Mayor McAdams stated, although local sales taxes were $425.11 less in November than they were in October, state sales tax receipts increased $533.56. This amounts to an overall increase in sales tax collections of $113.45. Alderman Pope suggested the local decline in sales taxes might be due to increased on-line sales, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the meeting drew to a close, Mayor McAdams wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The next board meeting is set for Tuesday, January 12, beginning at 5:30 p.m.