The following discussion and business took place at Tuesday's meeting of the Brazil City Council, which was followed by the Board of Public Works and Safety:
"The general funds are running a little heavy," Mayor Tom Arthur said, citing health insurance costs and unexpected bills. He also said that the vandalized grave markers will be taken care of by the insurance company, although some will have to wait for repairs until spring, when a crane will be used to move them.
Water loss has been at a 40 percent loss ratio, and the clubhouse, pool, parks and city departments will be metered. The Redevelopment Commission is also looking into conducting a water study, and leak detection will be investigated. Grant funds will be utilized as well as requests for other monies in January.
A street priority list is also in the works, the mayor said. Converting Wheeler Street to a two-way street, Alabama Street from Jackson Street to at least the bottom of the hill and South Chicago Street will be included on the list.
On Dec. 23, the city will be interviewing for the position of Parks Superintendent. The Park Board will take part in interviewing.
Confusion surrounding holiday pay was clarified with the aid of Council members, who concluded that scheduled vacation days before or after a paid holiday will not eliminate pay for the holiday.
Police Chief's report:
Brazil City Police Chief Mark Loudermilk informed the Council that Roger Lindsay, a former Brazil police officer recently indicted by a Grand Jury, will be extradited from Florida on Friday.
The police department will also look for grant monies to fund vests, cut-resistant gloves and drug kits for marijuana and methamphetamine.
The Shop with a Cop program is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Brazil Wal-Mart. BCPD will be able to help 23 children this year, Loudermilk said.
On Tuesday, officers were trained to use special defibrillators, which will be installed in vehicles on Wednesday.
The police chief said he would also like to schedule a meeting with the Brazil Board of Works and Public Safety regarding hiring three to four reserve officers.
Fire Chief's report:
On Dec. 1, student Jered Robinson joined the Brazil City Fire Dept. for the day as part of the Northview High School Job Shadowing program. Chief Tobey Archer said Robinson was well-mannered and represented the program well. He participated in the in-house program as well as department operations and routine maintenance and rode on one of the department's engines, although he did not go on any runs.
Firefighters also participated in a street test in order to better familiarize themselves with the roads. Recent training has focused on the department's new thermal imaging camera and the differences between it and the previous camera.
Company representatives from different exhaust removal systems have contacted the BCFD with estimates. The department received a FEMA grant for the purpose of exhaust removal of the engine bay.
On Dec. 4, the fire department battled a structure fire at 307 S. King St., which was caused by an electricity problem.
Planning Director's report:
City Planning Director Michele Driscoll updated the Council on the city's Web site. In addition to preparing a list of common questions about grass, trash and similar topics, there are permits for improvements, mobile homes, rezoning information and related instructions.
Fines are being issued for properties in need of upkeep, and Driscoll explained that City Attorney Joe Trout noted some necessary adjustments to the tickets, which indicate court dates that are actually just the dates the fines are due.
Weekly heavy trash removal is not working as well as expected regarding clean-up efforts, she added. Trash is not being picked up at the scheduled times, and part of the problem is related to residents not placing trash in the appropriate areas close to the road. She urged Council members to consider any ideas for more efficient heavy trash removal methods.
The city also needs to more carefully consider landlord issues, Driscoll said. City officials must be invited into apartments before they can be inspected, unless information is given to them regarding unsafe, unsanitary or unhealthy conditions. At that point, an inspection search warrant can be issued.
Ordinance 23-2004 re-garding the zone code was tabled.
The board approved Ordinance 30-2004 for a bed and breakfast at 704 N. Meridian St. Owner Julie Wake responded to Council member questions by explaining parking will be on the street, and the business will be able to serve four couples at a time. Space for meetings and small parties will also be available.
An administrative session open to the public is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 21 to discuss the 2005 animal control contract at City Hall.
The Council voted to close the public hearing for additional appropriations for the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund, Redevelopment Bond Fund and General Obligation Bond Fund.
The Council passed Resolution 4-2004 approving the five-year plan for the Brazil City Park and Recreation Board.
The first reading of Ordinance 31-2004 was passed after discussion of health insurance benefits. City employees who opt not to use the city's health insurance plan, but who can prove they have other health insurance for the 2005 calendar year, will each receive $1,000 as an incentive, Arthur said, explaining it will cost the city less to give cash gifts of $1,000 to employees than to pay for unnecessary health insurance for those who already have it.
The first reading of Ordinance 32-2004, also dealing with health benefits, was passed as well. Retired officers who are 52 years old or who have served 20 years will be eligible for insurance benefits.
In discussion of Ordinance 33-2004, dealing with appropriations for the Brazil City Water and Wastewater Utility for 2005, Arthur said that no salaries or jobs were cut.
"There may appear to be some cuts, but it's more like a shift," he said, and praised department heads. "They really put their heads together and worked hard on this. I really have to commend them."
The Council passed Ordinance 34-2004 regarding the Brazil Code of Ordinances dealing with water service connections to the city's water system.
Ordinance 36-2004 was also passed on first reading, and establishes a cleaning/ inspection fee by the Waterworks Utility for Brazil.
The Council voted to suspend the rules and passed Ordinance 37-2004 on first reading. It provides an additional appropriation from the Motor Vehicle Fund, Redevelopment Bond Fund and General Obligation Fund.
Mayor Tom Arthur, City Attorney Joe Trout, Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Webster and Council members Pat Heffner, Bill Lovett, Ann Bradshaw, Marty Beasley and James Sheese were in attendance.