The Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen conducted the first regularly scheduled meeting of 2021 on January 5. This marked the first board meeting for the newly elected alderwoman of Ward 1, Judy Lee.
The board accepted the resignation of Jack Bryan as election commissioner. Terilynn Rankin was listed on the agenda to be appointed as an election commissioner, but Mayor Todd Booth stated that she had withdrawn. Charity Jones was also listed on the agenda to be appointed as an election commissioner, but no action was taken. The board instead opted to table the appointment of election commissioners to a later date.
The board unanimously approved asphalt work for Springhill Drive. Discussion before the vote clarified that the board was not voting to begin paving work of Springhill Drive, but to add it to the list of paving projects to be completed.
The board also heard from Vicki Everett, who presented an issue of dogs running at large throughout the city. Everett explained that she has been bitten once and is frequently charged at by dogs while walking in the city for exercise. Everett identified the owner of the dogs, and board members said steps would be taken to rectify the issue.
Booth explained that the city has dealt with issues of dogs at large in the past. The most recent issue has been stray dogs in the parking lot of the local Vowell’s Market. The dogs were captured humanely and relocated to shelters.
City ordinance 223 requires owners to maintain their pets within their property. It is prohibited for owners to allow pets to run at large in the city. Violation of the ordinance carries a fine of $85 for the first offense, which increases to $125 by the third offense. Police Chief Candy McCullum said that a recent issue the city has experienced with capturing at large and stray dogs has been citizens freeing the animals from traps.
Alderwoman Sandra Stein addressed the board with concerns of children using the baseball fields unsupervised. Stein explained that while driving down South Main after dark, she noticed a group of teenagers playing kickball on the baseball fields. She said that the lights were turned on and the children were playing without adult supervision. Stein stated that she did not believe they should be there without an adult and had an issue with the use of electricity. She said she confronted the children and found out they turned the lights on themselves.
Alderman Robert Mangum said he had no issue with the children using the field but was opposed to them accessing the lights due to safety reasons. No action was taken, and Alderman Tim Gray said once the sports director position is filled issues such as these will take care of themselves.
Duane Fewell was discussed as being hired as a part-time sports director for the Mendenhall Sportsplex. Fewell previously shown interest in the position as a full time employee with the city, but has since accepted another position elsewhere. Booth stated that he has been in contact with him, and Fewell still wants to be a part of the program in some capacity.
Booth and several board members agreed that it would be a good idea to bring him in to oversee the program. An initial discussion was had on establishing the part time position. Booth suggested a salary of $15,000. The full time position caps at a salary of approximately $27,000. Gray suggested the board speak with Fewell and establish a detailed job description before moving forward. The item was tabled.
The board agreed to enter an agreement with Engineering Service for professional service for 2021. The agreement is for the waterline extension from the industrial park well and tank. This will take care of tying the water tank in the industrial park on Highway 43 into the main water system of the city.
The Board discussed updates to the building codes with building inspector David Miller. Miller plans to research and present updates for board approval during the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Old air packs and bottles of the Mendenhall Fire Department have been declared surplus and approved for disposal by the board. The department is expected to sell the packs and bottles to a smaller department.
Nick May was employed to the Mendenhall Police Department as a part time dispatcher. Dorian Dampeer had a status change from part-time to full time dispatcher. Bo Ainsworth was hired with the city’s water department.