Police Department personnel matters and condemnation and demolition of dilapidated houses were among the matters discussed during the Tuesday evening meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.
During the February 3rd meeting at city hall Police Chief Chris Robertson and Fire Chief Steve Coker told the board they had been discussing the feasibility of the two departments sharing a single employee. Robertson said Terry Jarvis, currently a New Albany fireman, was interested in being trained as a police officer and spending portions of his work week in both departments. Coker supported the idea and said he believed it was workable.
There was some discussion about the desirability of having city workers cross trained so they could serve as needed in more than one department.
Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson asked whether overtime rates would be paid if a shared employee worked more than 40 total hours each week in service to both departments. City Attorney Regan Russell said he did not want to risk giving a quick answer to Anderson’s question and would research the issue and report back to the board.
The board also authorized the police chief to hire a full time police officer to fill a vacancy in the law enforcement operation.
Lights, Gas, and Water General Manager Bill Mattox said Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has suggested that the city utilities operation try to obtain authority to provide natural gas service to a portion of Marshall County that does not presently have gas service. Although some new pipeline construction would be required, following Presley’s advice would create a stream of additional revenue for the city. A special act of the state legislature would be necessary for such authority to be granted. Mattox said Presley’s office had prepared draft legislation for that purpose, and the city board agreed to ask the state legislature to pass the special local bill.
City Building Inspector Mike Armstrong recommended to the board that a house at 720 East Bankhead be condemned and demolished. Armstrong said the electrical service box and wiring has been stripped from the house, much of the plumbing has been removed and that the building falls short of city code standards in other respects. The board agreed to move forward with condemnation and demolition of the house and instructed that its owners be given 30 days notice to bring the structure up to code requirements to avoid the structure being destroyed.
City tourism tax collections of $52,000 for November, the last month for which figures are available from the state revenue department, were increased 12% over November of 2013, said Marketing and Tourism Director Sean Johnson. Johnson told the aldermen that sales tax collections for November were nearly a quarter of a million dollars, a four percent increase from 2013. He said orders for print media advertising for the spring have been placed and that several favorable stories about New Albany have run recently in three different magazines at no cost to the city.
Laura Dunham and former mayor Billy Wiseman, representing the town’s historical standards committee, said a business on West Bankhead street had an electrical sign that flashes on and off and that they believed the sign to be in violation of the city’s sign ordinance. Building Inspector Mike Armstrong opined that the sign is “not appropriate.” The current ordinance was said to prohibit neon and other lighted signs. However, there was some discussion about whether the sign, which is located inside the building and in the window of the store, is actually prohibited by the ordinance. City Attorney Russell was asked to research the matter.
The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters.
New Albany Mayor Tim Kent presided at the meeting, which was attended by Aldermen Jeff Olson, Johnny Anderson, Kevin Dale White and Will Tucker. Alderman-at-Large Scott Dunham was not present. Other than city officials less than ten citizens attended the meeting. The Board of Aldermen meets at City Hall the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m.