City Council Meeting – 01/04/18

IMG_5429At this evening’s meeting, the first order of business was to swear in the three councilmen that had been elected on November 7, 2017 to serve four year terms, beginning January 1, 2018. John Moore, Jr. and I were being sworn in for the first time, and Ben Mitchell was sworn in for another term, having been re-elected. Probate Judge Larry Threlkeld performed the swearing in ceremony. The Rev. Jim Morrow, from the First United Methodist Church in Lyons, where both John and me are members, gave the opening prayer.

Providing Cancer Insurance Coverage for Our Volunteer Firemen

Lyons has a volunteer fire department and over twenty citizens have become volunteer firefighters. They are well trained and dedicated to the task, putting their lives at risk every time the fire alarm sounds in the city.

I’d like to comment on the training rigors to which these volunteers subject themselves. I had an opportunity to view the “smoke chamber” where the firefighters practice for real life emergencies by crawling in two sealed metal cargo trailers filled with obstacles simulating home and business environments they might encounter. The trailers are completely inundated with smoke and the volunteers must crawl through them in the dark and smoky atmosphere and feel their way up stairs, over furniture and around other obstacles to locate the source of the fire. It takes a brave soul to just go through this training!

Besides the risk to their lives, our brave firefighters are exposed to cancer causing carcinogenic smoke almost every time they respond to a fire and this exposure can have a long term effect. A resolution was introduced exalting the work of our firefighters and for the first time extending coverage to them with a cancer insurance policy.

I voted in favor of this resolution. It passed unanimously.

Street Drainage Improvements in Salem Subdivision

The city was able to obtain a grant to help pay for a project improving the streets and drainage in Salem Subdivision west of the old Elementary School. The total cost of the project is going to be $596,961, with the city taxpayers only having to put up 33% or $194,996. The low bid was made by Sikes Brothers, Inc., who should begin the project soon.

I live in this subdivision and can attest to our neighborhood being among many in need of projects like this. On behalf of my many neighbors in the Salem Subdivision, I wish I could take credit for getting this job started, but all the legwork was done before I took office. Nevertheless, I applaud the work of our staff in securing the grant that will pay for most of this project.

I also learned that the original bid was for over $800,000, more than the city had in the budget, and we were in danger of not being able to proceed, thus losing the grant, but our City Manager was able to negotiate a lower amount with the contractor bringing the final cost to the above figure without compromising on the quality of the job or extent of the work. Kudos to all involved!

I voted in favor of giving Sikes Brothers the contract. The motion passed unanimously.

Purchase of Two Additional Police Patrol Cars

A grant has been obtained to partially cover the cost to purchase two additional patrol cars for our police department, replacing older cars nearing the end of their useful life; however, the grant was not sufficient to fully fund the cars recommended by the Chief of Police and the council would have been required to pass an amendment to our existing budget to acquire both cars.

I did not yet feel comfortable with making adjustments to the budget until I could determine the impact to other departments of this reallocation of funds and until I could get a better understanding of the adequacy of our current fleet of police vehicles to our public safety needs.

The Mayor concurred that it would be unfair to the two new councilmen to move quickly on this issue and suggested the resolution should be tabled.

I moved to table this resolution until further study could be done. The vote to table was unanimous.

The meeting adjourned with no further business. Rev. Jim Morrow offered the closing prayer.

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