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September 22, 2021

Town Council hears staffing shortage in Police Dept.

By MICAH HENRY

The Taylorsville Town Council met for its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at Town Hall.

Mayor George Holleman called the meeting to order and read from Psalm 121. He named several local citizens who had passed away recently: Don Brown, Dale Reese, Nelson Boston, Marvin Gregory, Frank Herndon, and Archie Fox, and prayed for their families in an invocation. Holleman then led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag.

Police Chief Doug Bowman noted that his department had received about 1,074 calls from the Alexander 911 Center during August (not including calls directly to Town Hall). He noted that the department is probing a shooting death at the townhomes next to Town Park but that it is not believed to be suspicious.

Chief Bowman noted that due to the current shortage of staff, some of his officers are working extra shifts and working overtime to protect the town. He noted the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office is also short staffed. Mayor Holleman asked if officers were “quasi-happy” and the chief responded that most were. However, Bowman suggested more applicants might be obtained if starting pay for officers is increased.

Council members unanimously agreed to renew the Planning Services contract ($16,000 per year) with the Alexander County Planning and Zoning Office. The new County Planner is Dustin Millsaps. In addition to planning, the County assists the Town with issuance of zoning permits, zoning interpretations, and enforcement of the Minimum Housing Code, Solid Waste and Nuisance Ordinance, and Alexander County Historic Preservation Ordinance.

Town Manager David Odom noted the Police Department’s surplus sidearms have been sold to Duncan Gun Shop of North Wilkesboro for $9,041. Chief Bowman requested the surplus of three 12-guage shotguns as well. The proceeds from the sale of the arms will be placed back into the Police budget.

The Council voted unanimously to establish a project budget ordinance regarding $344,033.89 that represents the first distribution of two sums from the American Rescue Plan. This is funded by the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury. This action sets both revenues and expenditures in a standalone fund, much like a grant project, so that all items can be tracked within the specific fund. Areas likely to be addressed with the first distribution are: streets and sidewalk repairs, water and sewer infrastructure, and collection of past due utilities.

Odom presented a trade-in offer for five aged police vehicles in various states of disrepair, including a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria, a 2008 Ford Mustang, a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, and a 2004 Ford Explorer. Stikeleather Auto Sales offered $6,200 for all five vehicles, which Council members voted to unanimously accept. The amount will be put toward a trade for a used 2018 vehicle for the police fleet.

For public works, Odom indicated that the next two months would include sewer pipe cleaning. He said ten percent of the system must be cleaned annually and documented with cameras. Odom said the cleaning would affect town traffic while cleaning was performed. He also said the sewer pump maintenance was back to normal, with a cost of about $8,000 to $12,000 per month.

The Town’s 1984 model leaf collection truck is back on patrol this fall after having experienced a fire last year, said Odom.

Next meeting Oct. 5 with public hearings

The next meeting is planned for Tuesday, October 5, at 5:30 p.m. in which the Council will hold public hearings on a text amendment and rezoning of land on Golf Course Lane to allow horse stables.

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