The Waynesboro City Commission met in regular session on Monday, June 10th, 2019 at City Hall in Waynesboro. All commissioners were in attendance, including Mayor Jeff Howell, Vice Mayor Charlie Mosley, Commissioner Jeff Davis, Commissioner Chris Bevis, and Commissioner Tony Creasy. City Manager John Hickman and City Attorney George Gray were in attendance as well. Mayor Howell called the meeting to order, and Commissioner Creasy offered the invocation.
Vice Mayor Mosley made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. Commissioner Bevis seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved.
City Manager Hickman then asked for the “Citizens to Address the Commission” item on the agenda to be moved to the top in order to allow Sheriff Shane Fisher to address the commission. Sheriff Fisher thanked the commission for allowing him to address them, and thanked them for their service to the city.
Sheriff Fisher began by explaining that the 911 dispatchers are employees of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, and they are fully paid from the Sheriff’s Office portion of the county budget. He said that he is making no demands from the cities, but he would like to ask for help from the cities of Waynesboro, Collinwood, and Clifton in funding the dispatchers’ salaries.
Sheriff Fisher said that each city does budget $1,730 per year for 911, but that money goes toward the use of the NCIC computer system that the dispatchers use to run license plates, enter stolen property, etc. He explained that although the dispatchers are fully paid from the Sheriff’s Office budget, they provide services for not only the Sheriff’s Office, but each city’s police department as well.
The sheriff went on to say that he had spoken with officials at CTAS about the situation, and they actually advised him that he has the option of terminating the 911 dispatchers’ service to the city police departments, which would force the cities to hire their own dispatchers and buy all the necessary equipment. He said that the cost for that would be around a half million dollars. Sheriff told the commission that he did not want that to happen, but it would be legal.
The commissioners asked the sheriff how he came up with the amount that he is requesting the cities to pay, and Sheriff Fisher said that it is based on each city’s population and call volume. The commissioners voiced their opinion that everyone in the city pays both city and county taxes, and neither they nor their constituents understand why their tax money is not enough. The sheriff went on to explain that the taxes the citizens pay go toward the deputies and Sheriff’s Office employees’ salaries, not toward the dispatchers.
Commissioner Creasy said that it was his understanding that Sheriff Fisher had previously told the Collinwood City Commission that his reason for requesting the cities’ funding of dispatcher salaries was to be able to provide health insurance for the Sheriff’s Office employees. Sheriff Fisher said that providing health insurance for his employees is a priority, and he does intend to pursue that in the future. However, he said that regardless of what the freed-up funds would be used for if the cities take on the dispatchers’ salary, his main reason for the request is for fairness and to provide a “level playing field.”
Wayne County E-911 Director Jimmy Turnbow was present in the audience, and he responded to some of the commissioners’ questions regarding the 911 budget. When Commissioner Davis inquired as to why the dispatchers are not paid from the 911 budget, Turnbow explained that state law says that 911 money is to be used for equipment such as computer terminals, radios, towers, etc. There are also three salaries that are fully funded through 911: Director Turnbow, Adminstrative Assistant Rhonda Fisher, and one full-time 911 employee who is the warrants clerk and fill-in dispatcher.
Commissioner Bevis said that if the city decides to look further into this funding, the negotiations need to begin soon due to the budget deadline coming up on June 30th. Mayor Howell told Sheriff Fisher that the commission does need more time to discuss his request before any decisions are made, and Sheriff Fisher expressed his appreciation to the commission.
City Manager Hickman next informed the commission that Public Entity Partners, one of the city’s insurance companies, had recently completed a survey of the city and a good report was given.
The first item of new business on the agenda was the approval of surplus items for sale. City Manager Hickman said that the city is in possession of a 2002 Grand Prix that has been abandoned for 90 days. Commissioner Bevis made a motion to approve the vehicle as surplus for sale, and Vice Mayor Mosley seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Next was the approval to renew the city’s contract with Coca Cola. The contract states that the city will only have Coca Cola products for sale at City Hall, the maintenance facility, the Sportsplex, and the golf course. Hickman said that Coca Cola will be donating a $7,500 scoreboard for the soccer field at the Sportsplex, and will give the golf course $15,000 in exchange for exclusively selling Coca Cola products. They also give the city a $1 rebate per case of drinks. Vice Mayor Mosley made a motion to renew the city’s contract with Coca Cola. Commissioner Creasy seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.
Next under new business was the first reading of an ordinance to change the street name of Donahoe Drive to City Park Drive. Commissioner Creasy made a motion to approve the name change, and Commissioner Bevis seconded the motion. The first reading of the ordinance was unanimously approved.
The fiscal year 2018-2019 Budget Amendments Ordinance was next. Vice Mayor Mosley made a motion to approve the ordinance, and Commissioner Creasy seconded the motion. The ordinance was unanimously approved.
Next was the Continuation of 2018-2019 Budget Resolution. This resolution allows the city to continue operating under the previous budget until the new budget is approved. Vice Mayor Mosley made a motion to approve the resolution. Commissioner Bevis seconded the motion, and the resolution was approved unanimously.
The final item of business on the agenda was the date change for the commission’s second meeting in June. Due to a conflict with the annual TML Conference, the date of the next meeting was changed to Thursday, June 27th at 5:30 p.m.
Next, Mayor Howell told the commission that Woodmen of the World representative Dwaine Gable recently presented a check for $500 to the Waynesboro Fire Department. Mayor Howell said that the Fire Department was very appreciative of the donation, and the money would be used to purchase needed supplies.
The commissioners then briefly discussed a few open items, and with no further business to come before the commission, the meeting was adjourned.