Brazil City Council passed three ordinances in its first business meeting of the year Monday evening.
Mayor Tom Arthur said it had been "discovered" that employees of the police and fire departments only receive raises in January and July. Therefore, if one was hired in October, for example, he or she would have to wait until the next January to get a pay increase.
This practice is not compliant with their bargaining contracts. Ordinances 1 and 2 will have been written to correct the situation. Ordinance 1 is for the police department and Ordinance 2 for the fire department. Both ordinances passed on the first reading.
Upon passing the two ordinances at the next Council meeting, Jan. 26, placement on the salary schedule will go by years of service, based on the anniversary of each employee's hire date.
Ordinance 3 gives the city permission to borrow money in anticipation of revenues if the clerk/treasurer feels it necessary. There are several stipulations on the temporary loans. The ordinance, according to Arthur, is exactly the same as one passed last year, except for the dates.
The Council voted to suspend rules and pass Ordinance 3 on the first reading.
At the final meeting of 2003, the Council voted to borrow $530,000 from Fifth Third Bank at 1.9 percent interest. As it turned out, Fifth Third had added other "constraints" such as requiring bond counseling, that would have cost the city more time and money.
Former Mayor Kenny Crabb acted upon the situation by going with the next lowest bid, 1.92 percent from Riddell National Bank. The Council rescinded the motion from Dec. 30 to choose Fifth Third and made a new motion to approve the loan from Riddell, which was taken out Dec. 31.
In old business, the Council further discussed the city's department heads attending one meeting per month. It was voted to ask that they attend on a volunteer basis.
Police Chief Mark Loudermilk reported that there have been several reassignments in the Police Department. Marty Beasley filled Loudermilk's former position in investigations and a full-time investigator for narcotics is now in place.
There is also a new assistant police chief, Andy Whittington, who is in charge of grants, training and the school program in the elementary schools.
In addition, he hopes to have the city's three new police cars on the road very soon.
Fire Chief Tobey Archer said the fire department is "in transition as well". The firemen are currently going through "pre-planning" before the state fire inspector comes. They are going to go through the Brazil Housing Authority, then local businesses and churches before opening the service to residents.
During pre-planning, the firemen go through and get a layout of the buildings so they will know where to go in case of fire. They also give the buildings' owners advice on where to place things to make it safer.
Arthur announced that as of Feb. 2, City Hall and its offices will be open until 5 p.m. It will also be open one Saturday a month from 9 a.m. to noon, beginning Feb. 7. He said the employees' shifts will be worked out so that it "will not cost the city anything".
The Board of Works and Safety meeting was at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers Monday. Arthur told members that the Clerk/Treasurer's Office had gone ahead with the plan to get a receipt printer. The cost for this had been estimated at over $1100, but it ended up being only around $700 and a cash drawer was added to the deal.
The Board also voted to move the meeting time back to its previous time, directly following City Council meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.