During Wednesday's meeting, concerns were voiced about the condition of roads near the elementary schools, the level of police patrols at night and the ongoing debate regarding a potential indoor smoking ban at establishments.
Tim Paullus approached the council during the audience comments portion of the meeting about the roads, particularly near East Side Elementary.
"The roads near East Side are pathetic, and I am sure there has to be some money available to do something before the open houses for the renovation projects," Paullus said. "I also think it would be beneficial to put up a sign or paint arrows to indicate drivers can use the left lane on North Davis Street to turn onto United States 40 to cut down on some of the congestion since it is a one-way road."
Paullus added he thought there could at least be some white rock placed in the potholes as a temporary measure.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw said she would put the roads near the elementary on the priority list, and plans are in the works to start repairing roads once the weather breaks.
Paullus also inquired about if a breakdown has been done on the crime rate during the day compared to night-time hours.
"I think the next time there is a need for a new hire, it should go be a police officer," he said. "We need more patrols at night and overall because there should be a priority of securing the community more."
Bradshaw said the city recently hired a new officer, bumping the department's total to 13, and there have been discussion on adding a 14th officer.
"We are trying to get the best schedule set for the best coverage," Pierce said. "We have reinstated the enforcement of curfew and encouraged the parents to enforce it as well."
Pierce told the council and audience the department is also looking into adding more reserves, which would increase patrolling abilities, especially at night.
The potential smoking ban was also a point of attention sparked during audience comments.
Jason Wendell provided the council a printout of the comment section from an article on The Brazil Times web site regarding February's council meeting stating he felt they "presented both sides of the debate."
Maysha McLennon informed the council about her experience with a smoking ban in another state and why she would support one locally.
"I'm originally from California, where they had an indoor smoking ban in effect, and after moving here, I went to locations with a lot of smoking, and it is hard to endure the atmosphere in that type of environment," she said. "It causes sinus problems and the smoke gets in clothes, and I hope the city can make a step forward and create non-smoking environments."
Meanwhile, the council addressed a couple of issues indicated in the most recent audit conducted by the State Board of Accounts (SBOA).
City Attorney Traci Lawson drafted a policy for the council's consideration regarding credit card usage as the audit stated the city did not have one in place.
Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen mentioned other policies, including ones set by the United States Postal Service, state municipal credit cards may not be used unless they are issued to an individual. She told the council there were currently seven cards in use (two in the clerk-treasurer's office, two in the planning office and one apiece by the sanitation supervisor, street supervisor and cemetery supervisor).
"The are used to pay the costs for sending out certified letters, training, as well as fuel and equipment expenses," McQueen said.
The council decided to table the issue to research the best wording to include in the policy, including the section regarding annual fees. It was also decided to transfer one of the credit cards out from the clerk-treasurer's office to the Brazil City Police Department.
Lawson added she is also in the process of drafting a policy regarding capital assets, in which the council would eventually set a minimum threshold for an item to be placed on the capital assets list.
McQueen said while some municipalities set the amount at $5,000, her contact with the SBOA said they prefer the amount to be $500, which would allow the inclusion of items like desks and computers to the list.
In other business, the council approved, with suspended rules, an ordinance to institute a handicapped parking space in front of 5 N. Harrison St., and tabled a similar request for 413 E. Blaine to research the matter further as the south side of the street, where the house is located, is painted yellow, indicating parking is not allowed. Council members plan to look into if the situation and whether creating the space on the north side of the street, immediately in front of the house, would be feasible.
The next meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 13, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.