I just picked up the recording from the last meeting (Dec. 7th), so the notes from that meeting will be out of sequence. But I hope to get them up soon. For the meeting tonight, I arrived just before 7 pm. The study session discussion about the new accounting software was still going on, but it wrapped up quickly.
The meeting started just after 7 pm with all present. Staff reports was added to the agenda before agenda approval.
Fire: Chief Torbet reported 6 calls in November. The call volume is up a bit this year. The turn out for Santa on Saturday was great, and the tree lighting was well received.
Police: Chief Kunkel thanked the Ruston community for their support after the loss of 5 officers last month. He thanked the Ruston officers that volunteered their time in the aftermath of the Lakewood killings. Officer Miller has been hired for the full time position. He outlined a wide variety of calls last month. The new vests for the department have arrived. A federal grant will reimburse half the cost.
Jim Wingard gave his best wishes to the new council and encouraged them to give up the pursuits of some of the out-going members such as annexation, disbanding the fire department and lawsuits.
Kevin Moser discussed his proposal on new street lights that he had presented to the council. (Details were not available - but it sounds like he wants different lights purchased for the new light project, and the lights on Stack Hill replaced.)
Bill Blankenship offered his support of Moser's proposal.
1. Resolution 457 - Extension of agreement with Judge Sandra Allen: Council Member Hardin noted the date on the resolution needed to be updated. Council Member Hedrick asked if it was standard to have a 4 year contract. Ms. Allen attended the meeting and said everyone is on a 4 year system under state law. The motion passed 5-0.
2. 2010 Budget: Council Member Hunt applauded the mayor for his hard work preparing the budget this year and for bringing in professional help with new BIAS accounting firm. Hedrick also complimented the mayor. He noted the police department is working on a reduced budget this year. He is very pleased that they only have to borrow $139,000 from the surplus property fund this year to balance the budget. The mayor noted that about $500,000 was borrowed last year. The budget passed 5-0.
Claims and Payroll
The acting clerk was not able to get the claims and payroll completed before the meeting. Employee pay is not effected. Council Member Huson will stop by the office tomorrow to look over the claims. The motion to move all these claims and payroll to the next meeting was approved 5-0.
Mayor Hopkins felt that Moser made a strong argument on the street lights. If the town is going to replace these lights, they should do it now. There is some savings if they are purchased now. He is sending a letter to Point Ruston letting them know they have to get town approval before installing lights on the rest of the development. The town planner will make sure the new requirements are clear at the beginning of the planning process.
Hopkins thanked the BIAS representative for his help as the town has dealt with the loss of the clerk. He is excited with the new efficiencies the new system will provide. He also thanked Council Member Stebner for his service on the council.
Stebner had nothing.
Huson thanked the mayor for finding a possible solution for the clerk-treasurer problem. He said the council would promise to try not to do anything that would get the town sued if everyone in the audience promised not to sue them. He also thanked Stebner, noting "there are certain things about Wayne I am going to miss."
Hedrick said he is working with the police department on the plans for security upgrades to their office. He will be meeting with the fire chief soon. He also thanked Stebner. He had trouble believing anyone could serve 4 full years on this council.
Hunt wanted to be sure the zoning code was changed to reflect the new lighting requirements. She has been trying to get all the utility companies informed of the new taxes the town has imposed, but has had trouble getting through with her phone calls. She had some letters for the mayor to send at the meeting tonight. She also thanked Stebner for his time, even attending almost every meeting during his 4 years on the council.
Hardin thanked the community for allowing him to serve them on the council. Anything else he would have to say would be insincere since he has only been on the council for two weeks.
The meeting adjourned about 7:35 pm (corrected from 8:35 pm).