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Troy’s firemen staff to increase

The City of Troy will receive six additional firefighters for its fire department, this after the city council approved a resolution Tuesday to accept a grant that the fire department had sought and received.

The grant will enable the city to hire six new firefighters at a total annual cost of $21,038 for the first year. The city’s cost in employing the firefighters will then increase every year for five years before the city would take over the full cost of employment.

“We just want to make it clear that this grant funding cannot start before October 24,” said Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “At some point before that, we hope to have firefighters on board to fill the slots we can have. We are going to add six additional firefighters at this time. Having these extra firefighters be partially paid for is a great thing for the city.”

Lunsford also discussed plans to close the city landfill within the next year.

A dozer is needed to keep the landfill in operation. With the current dozer out of operation and the landfill likely to close, the council voted to repair the current dozer rather than buying a new one.

“This was a long-term decision that we made,” Lunsford said. “There is very little life left in the landfill. It should be running out within the next year. We decided it was more expedient for us to build into the budget the cost of closing the landfill. We’ll have limited use for a dozer in the future, so this repair should last us for many years to come.”

However, Lunsford did say that none of the employees at the landfill would lose their jobs.

“None of these employees will lose their positions,” Lunsford said. “They have skills that can be used elsewhere in the public works department.”

The council also approved a resolution that enters the city into an agreement with the Alabama High School Athletic Association to bring the softball Super Regionals to Troy, beginning in May 2010.

“This is just a fabulous thing for the city of Troy,” Lunsford said. “Anytime you have that many people come to the city for a period of time, it’s a great thing. The worst-case scenario for us is to turn a small net profit. Also, you cannot put a value on the public relations aspect and the exposure it will give the city.”

Also, the long-discused walking trails will soon be coming to Troy but on a smaller scale than originally intended.

The lowest bid on the proposed project was $182,000, but Lunsford said the project would be amended to put it closer to the budgeted cost.

“After coordinating with the city attorney to ensure the legality of this, we are going to look to make a change order to this project in order to keep within the budget.”