Brundidge council looks to fill city needs

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Brundidge City Council took the first step Tuesday night necessary to purchase three vehicles that are needed for the city to continue to provide various services for its citizens.

Brundidge City Manager Britt Thomas told the council members that, in the past, the city has purchased replacement vehicles from the Alabama Department of Transportation. He asked the council to authorize him to seek the needed vehicles that are available through ALDOT.

Thomas said the present trucks used by the city’s maintenance department are older models and are worn out from use. Two of the vehicles are small pickup trucks.

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Thomas said the city has the opportunity, at this time, to buy off the ALDOT lot. The next opportunity will be at the state auction.

At the recommendation of Mayor Isabell Boyd, the council voted to allocate up to $60,000 for the purchase of three trucks for city use.

Thomas said he will visit the ALDOT lot prior to the auction date in hopes of finding the vehicles the city needs.

Following the purchase of the newer model trucks, the city’s trucks that are being replaced will be declared surplus and sold.

“And, we should be able to get some money from them,” Thomas said.

The city is considering a solution for the replacement or repair of the city’s boom truck. If the solution is to repair the truck, Thomas said there will be the problem of meeting the needs of the citizens during the repair time. That could require manual labor which, Thomas said, is hard to find.”

Thomas reviewed the report on the S&P Global Ratings, which affirmed its underlying rating on Brundidge’s existing utility revenue debt that the outlook is stable.

The report stated that Brundidge’s electric, water and wastewater systems have sufficient capacity to meet the current and future demands. The city obtains all electric energy needs through a long-term power supply contract with PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. The city pays wholesale rates that the cooperative uniformly charges to members, as well as a capacity payment based on a percentage of the previous year’s power purchases. The city’s wastewater systems currently operate at about half of their total respective capacities, leaving room for ample demand growth.

Chris Foster, District 5 council member, expressed concern about the low retention rate of officers of the Brundidge Police Department. He asked Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport if salary had anything to with the inability of the department to keep officers on the force.

Davenport said it has become increasingly difficult to hire and retain officers, especially in a small town.

“Not as many people are choosing to go into law enforcement,” he said. “And, when we do hire officers, they leave for different reasons and sometimes it is for higher pay.”

But, Davenport said there is often not enough money in the pocket or glory in the job for an officer to stay in the ranks.

“Sometimes, being a police officer has just got to be in the heart,” he said.

Byron Gaynor, Council member District 4, said two police officers should be on

duty at all times and that is not happening.

Margaret Ross, Council member District 3, said the annual operating budget for the Brundidge Police Department is $1 million so she does not understand how the pay scale should adversely affect the hiring and retention of police officers in the city.

The Brundidge City Council meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Brundidge City Hall on North Main Street. The meetings are open to the public.