Multiple issues were on the agenda for Sharon’s August board meeting, including changes to their personnel policy, the city’s Corn and Music festival date announcement, LESO audit findings, bids for a patrol car repairs and a resolution restricting public comment.
During public comment many citizens expressed concerns over dogs loose and unkempt yards. Regarding a complaint of an unkempt lot and wild animals running wild, Mayor Donna Stricklin said that there were two formal complaints and a letter sent to be in compliance. City Recorder Regina Lewis said that the woman the complaint was against called city hall and said, “She did not feel there was any complaint. She felt that it was backlash against the mayor for her making the comments at the July 10 meeting regarding the mayor’s family.” Fire Chief Gary Eddings said they could start citing her in court.
Eddings said, “Every city has its problems. Two of the biggest problems in the whole city is yard ordinances, the grass growing, junk cars and dogs. It’s a big problem and its no simple fix when we cite these people. It’s a civil ordinance. It’s not criminally charged. We’ll put them in court, and we’ve spoken to the judge about how stern we want to be on this.” Eddings expressed that they would start putting more letters out and work on the correct way of doing it.
“There’s going to be a lot of people getting their feelings hurt, but that’s what we’re going to do because that’s what the citizens want,” Eddings said.
Stricklin advised the board that the personnel policy needed to be updated because the law required the cities to adopt a travel and expense regulation. Stricklin explained that it was in the old personnel policy, but it had been taken out and needed to be added back. Stricklin also said that hiring requirements needed to be included and that Peter Voss would assist her in that to present to the board.
The LESO (Law Enforcement Support Office) audit was completed and Stricklin said that some items were missing. “We will call and see if anyone has those items and if they can be returned. If not, then we will pursue and let LESO handle that,” Stricklin said.
Stricklin said that the city had a patrol car (Dodge Durango) that had been damaged. “It never was turned in and we don’t know how it was damaged or when it was damaged.” Eddings received bids on the repairs and the board voted to approve the bid from Watson Body Shop for $1,267.60. Stricklin said she called the insurance company and explained they didn’t know what happened, but the board decided not to go through insurance because the deductible was $1,000.
Eddings told the board that Sharon pays a lot less than other cities around them for officers and that if they want to keep officers, they need to raise their pay.
Certified Officers in Sharon make $15.75 an hour. “Nobody is going to come work for Sharon PD when they can go 10 miles in any direction and make 1-2 dollars more an hour,” Eddings said.
Stricklin said the city currently does not have a Police Chief or a full-time certified officer and the money for pay was available.
The city voted to hire Danny Thrifton as a full-time certified officer at a rate of $17 an hour, as well as to make the rate for certified officers the same. The board also voted to raise the pay of uncertified officers to $14.50 an hour.
The board voted on a resolution adopting restrictions for public comments. Those restrictions include any member of the public requesting comment is required to give notice in advance of the meeting by signing up at city hall 24 hours prior to the meeting. A declaration of the agenda item or general topic the comment will address is required at signup. Commentors are limited to five comments on actionable items on that agenda or other current issues which fall within the jurisdiction of the board of mayor and aldermen. Comments should not consist of improper language, profanity or other inappropriate conduct. In order to provide for a more diverse pool of comments, views, and opposing views, priority among those signing up is first, to members of the public who have not commented during the preceding two meetings, then to those desiring to comment to support, to oppose or to provide information on actionable items on that meeting’s agenda in order of signup, then if those described by the foregoing subsection is less than five, to those requesting comment on current issues in order of sign up and then to those remaining. The maximum duration of any comment is two minutes. Once the public comment portion is over, no member of the public is allowed to speak.
Sharon will host its annual Corn and Music Festival Sept. 17-23.
The next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Sharon City Hall.