Three residents attend first of four city Ward meetings
Brazil residents had an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns Wednesday night.
However, only three were in attendance of the meeting with Common Council of the City of Brazil members Brad Deal (Ward 1) and Pat Heffner (At-Large), along with Mayor Ann Bradshaw.
"I have to admit, it's disappointing because I was hoping at least 10 people would show up," Deal told The Brazil Times after the meeting. "We want to hear from the people we represent and want to let them know what is going on."
However, the lack of attendance did not stop Deal, Heffner and Bradshaw from addressing the concerns and questions brought before them.
Resident Deneta Campbell inquired about what the city has in store for the streets.
"Right now, we have requests in to hopefully receive some of the stimulus money," Bradshaw said. "If we are able to receive some of our requests for the roads, Pinckley Street would be our top priority."
Bradshaw added if no stimulus money was made available for the city, it would be to examine other avenues, such as grants, to help fund future street repairs.
Deal elaborated about the stimulus, saying the city also has other projects submitted for potential stimulus money, like a new water tower and the replacement of water lines within the city.
"Right now we are looking at areas to place a new tower, and chances are it will be in my ward," Deal said, citing the current tower is in his "backyard."
"The highest ground in the city is probably in Ward 1, and I am looking forward to the prospect of having a new one soon," he said.
Heffner added there are many phases to the water projects with a major on being the replacement of the older water lines.
Residents Barbara and Raymond Martin asked the group what the possibility is of placing speed limit or "Children at play" signs on Vandalia Street as an attempt to curb speeding and racing on the road.
"People come speeding down that road all the time, and I'm afraid someone is going to get hurt," Barbara said.
Deal concurred with her sentiments.
"They do use it as a racing strip at times, and when I see them I yell at them to try to get them to slow down," he said. "I have seen them slow down when the police are on patrol, but within five minutes of them leaving, they start speeding again."
Bradshaw said the speeding is occurring in both directions and they are looking into putting up signs in the area.
As an alternate way of catching the speeders, Barbara suggested having an officer or two on bike patrol.
"They probably won't be able to catch up with them," she said. "But, they would be able to get license plate numbers."
Barbara also wanted verification that it is illegal to burn trash within the city, even with a fire pit.
"Fire rings are not for trash, and residents are supposed to get a burn permit, which are basically limited to barbeques and hot dog roasts," Deal responded. "When they sign up for a permit, they are also supposed to specify the time they expect to be cooking out."
Heffner suggested imposing stiffer fines for illegal burns, which is currently set at $250 for the first offense and $500 for the second.
Bradshaw agreed something needed to be done and the city has been looking into creating a fee to obtain a burn permit and is trying to set up a work session with Brazil City Fire Department Chief Jim Smith regarding all burn matters.
Deal added the city should look into making many ordinances a little more stringent to hopefully curb some of the illegal activity going on around town.
"As a whole, we need to make ordinances that have a little more 'bite' to them," he said.
Near the end of the meeting, Barbara inquired about Deal's plans for his remaining years in office.
"For me, I try to look at the big picture and see what would be best for the entire city, not just my particular ward," he said. "When you walk around town, you realize Brazil is bigger than you think, and you find there is a lot here and a lot that needs to be done. You'll be amazed at what you find."
While the attendance was not what the council members and mayor had hoped for, they were glad to provide the information they were able to.
"This is what these meetings are for," Bradshaw told The Brazil Times. "The residents are able to spot a lot more of the smaller problems that we might not see when trying to help the entire city, and it gives us the chance to fix the small things along with facing the big issues."
Deal agreed that while the turnout was not the greatest, he tries his best to help out everyone in the city he can.
"When I'm out walking around the neighborhood and I see someone outside, I try to introduce myself and talk to the residents to hear what they are concerned about," Deal said.
Meetings for the other city wards have been set up as follows:
* Monday, April 13, 7 p.m. -- Ward 4 council member Bill Lovett,
* Wednesday, April 22, 7 p.m. -- Ward 3 council member Steve Lamb, and
* Thursday, May 7, 6 p.m. -- Ward 2 council member Sam Glover.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw and At-Large council member Pat Heffner will also be at all remaining meetings, which will be in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
For more information about the meetings, contact City Hall at 443-2221.