Brazil residents expressed many concerns for the city as a whole during Wednesday's Ward 3 meeting.
Steve Wetnight and Shirley Pollum informed council members Steve Lamb (Ward 3) and Pat Heffner (At-Large), along with Mayor Ann Bradshaw about their concerns regarding various apartment complexes in the city which may not be in the best condition to be inhabited.
"Some of these apartments have only one exit and others have leaking roofs," Pollum said.
Wetnight added he was concerned about them affecting home values.
"The surrounding properties could be depreciating home values," he said. "Also, some of the renters never cut their grass."
Lamb said he would speak with Brazil City Fire Chief Jim Smith about the safety concerns of properties with only one exit.
Roy Hease voiced his concern about noisy and unruly neighbors.
"There are always motorcycles running up and down the road, and the noise from the boom boxes are so loud they are rattling our windows from about a block away," he said. "We have called the police before, but we are just not sure what to do."
Lamb responded, "Every time the music gets too loud, call the police. We do have a noise ordinance and I believe you're not supposed to be able to hear it more than 25 feet away from the home."
Wetnight also expressed support for the need for a skatepark or other activities for the children of Brazil.
"If we're going to keep the kids out of drugs and meth, they need something to do," he said. "It seems every time the city gets close to something, it can't pull it off."
Lamb agreed, saying progress on the potential skatepark in better than projects in the past.
"I think the skatepark will be a reality, and we are a lot further along with it than we have with things before," he said. "There is no room to put it at Forest Park, and Craig Park is as good of a place as any to have it."
The discussion then turned to the condition of the roads and progress on the United States 40 project.
"We still have to put in a retention pond, which we are trying to find funding for," Heffner said. "For the longest time we didn't hear anything about it until we found out the state was waiting for us to make the first move with the retention pond."
Leo Southworth continued the conversation about the roads by pointing out the city's lack of funds to make a huge difference and suggesting a possible solution.
"The city only has about $400,000 combined in the Local Road and Street and Motor Vehicle Highway funds, which isn't going to go very far," Southworth said. "In the last cracker barrel I attended, there was talk about a county wheel tax because unlike the gas and excise taxes, the money would stay local."
Wetnight argued many residents are being stretched too thin as it is without adding another tax.
"I am sick and tired of being taxed to death," he said. "It is so frustrating seeing tax money being misused, not on the local level, but on the federal level. There are too many people wasting money."
Southworth argued there is a need to look ahead to the future rather than just focusing on the present.
"We can keep putting things off and dump it down the road onto someone else, which is what put the city in the spot it's in right now, or we can plan ahead," he said.
Matt Pollum expressed his concern about police officers taking squad cars home.
"Why can't the police drive their own cars to and from work rather than the squad cars?" he asked. "I think it would save the city some money which would allow for some other projects to be done."
Lamb, who is also a reserve officer with the Brazil City Police Department, said officers must radio their mileage in when going off shift and again when coming on duty, and the on-duty mileage is what the city is responsible for.
Wetnight said with the state of the economy, city residents may have to return to the way things were in the past.
"Maybe things will end up the way things used to be with neighbor helping neighbor," he said.
"The way things are right now, many people don't want to know their neighbor."
After the meeting, Lamb expressed his appreciation for the eight residents who were in attendance.
"I am really thankful for those who were here, although I wish there would have been more," he said.
"Hopefully when we do this again there will be more, but I encourage residents with questions to contact me through the Mayor's Office or the city web site."
Bradshaw said she felt the meetings have been informative and plans to have them at least once a year.
"These have been very nice meetings to have and I may decide to have them every six months to give the residents more opportunities to express their concerns," she said.
"At the end of this set of meetings, we plan to have a council work session to go over the concerns and determine a plan of action to see what we can do."
The final ward meeting will be Thursday, May 7, at 6 p.m., with Heffner, Bradshaw and Ward 2 council member Sam Glover, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.