“We are not getting our money’s worth out of our Public Works Department or the Street Department,” stated Magee’s Mayor, Dale Berry Berry said, “I’ve been wrestling with the issue over the past two months.”
Alderman Patrick Brown echoed the mayors’s sentiments. The board discussed the amount of overtime that was being paid to the employees. Berry pointed out that the supervisors were operating equipment while the employees sat in the vehicles.
Berry also reported that people had paid their deposits for city water and not gotten water connections. The board discussed there being several water hydrants at the city barn, some of which could be repaired.
Berry said he had been approached by a company that was interested in sub-contracting the city water and sewer services as well as the road maintenance. Berry said the company is division of Hemphill Construction and that Mendenhall is considering a proposal from the same company.
It was stated that privatizing these services would eliminate two positions as well as the benefits that are currently being paid. Berry told the vendor that the city would entertain a proposal once the coronavirus issue was settled.
The board discussed implementing a city-wide curfew for juveniles.
Alderman Lane Steele reported that someone had broken into his residence the previous Wednesday while he was asleep and was attempting to steal the television when he awakened. He said the person fled the scene.
It was reported that Brandon and Laurel both had curfew ordinances. Board members agreed that they needed to see what other municipalities have before they adopted anything.
The board has since instituted an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew that is now in effect for the city.
David Dunn, director of Parks and Recreation for the city, reported that all organized sports are canceled until further notice. He said the city sports programs will most likely follow the schedule of the schools, which are closed until at least April 17 at this point. He indicated that this may make for a shorter season than was originally planned. He said they would use the city texting system to notify people on Mondays as to the updated status.
Joe Worrell, the city’s emergency management director, encouraged the board to adopt a State of Emergency Status so as to qualify the city for any emergency programs that may come available from the state or federal government. The board passed a resolution approving the Emergency Status Declaration.
The board agreed to hold a special meeting on Wednesday at 11 a.m. to discuss adopting a comprehensive plan of response for operations of the city. Currently, City Hall is closed to the public, but employees are working. Residents may pay bills via an envelope dropped in the slot of the building at the main entrance. Those who need assistance can call City Hall.
Berry said if senior citizens are unable to shop for needed items, they may call City Hall and members of the Mayor’s Youth Council will provide shopping services for senior residents.
The Magee Volunteer Fire Department plans to respond to calls but has established two-man teams to make assessments as needed and to ensure they are properly disinfected if the need arises.
Fire Marshal Charlie Valadie also reported that the department was able to sell the fire truck for $55,000, which had been approved by the city at a previous meeting. The board agreed to allow the department to purchase additional breathing machines with the proceeds so they would not have to ask for funding from the city for the purchases the next budget year.
Magee Police Chief Randy Crawford reported for the Police Department that their job would be “business as normal,” referring to patrolling and enforcing the law.