Council considers use of inmates for cleanup

Last week the Snead Town Council listened to a presentation by Lt. Jeremy Rudy with the Blount County Jail as he described a “trash detail” the county offers to municipalities to help them clean up streets and town properties.

“We supply inmates within town limits,” Rudy explained. The cost to the town would be minimal: $20 per hour for an eight-hour shift of one officer who will oversee the inmates. He said towns using the inmate program should develop a list of problem areas whether it be a particular section of street, park, or other town-owned properties.

Council member Dale Snead suggested the town might use the service twice a month. After some discussion, the council agreed to give the proposal some thought and asked Rudy to get back in touch at the next meeting.

In his report to the council, Mayor Tim Kent suggested some changes in the town’s vacation policy in an effort to recruit and retain employees. Among his suggestions were to give employees with three years service 40 hours vacation each year; three to 15 years of service, two weeks; and more than 15 years, three weeks. He also asked the council to consider a policy change that would allow employees to “sell back” accrued vacation hours to the town for money. No action was taken.

Continuing with his report, Kent suggested the council consider working with art students to develop a town seal and flag as well as shirts the council members could wear.

Kent also asked council member Ray Thomas to check into what would be needed to get the town into compliance with the American Disabilities Act, particularly at town hall.

Thomas then discussed, along with utility operator

Jeff Whited, the need to repeal a long-standing livestock ordinance in which the town buried dead animals including cows and chickens. Both expressed concerns that the ordinance, in effect since the 1970s, was a liability to the town. The council agreed to suspend the service.

On a motion by Snead, the council approved the town clerk’s attendance at a virtual training program later this month; cost is $285.

Following a request by police chief Stephen Gunn, the council approved his attendance at an upcoming chief’s conference; cost is $636. Gunn also reported on the excellent work of officer Derrick Raney as he assisted Etowah County authorities in the apprehension of an individual now charged in the theft of approximately $30,000 worth of stolen property. Kent also praised Raney and asked that a commendation be made.

In his report, assistant police chief Ron Kiker said there had been a decrease in citizen-initiated calls the past month, while officer-initiated calls remain steady. He noted that the department is getting high praise for security checks they conduct at local businesses.

In the Jan. 25 meeting, Snead asked for approval of the Blount County 911 contract. It increased to $17,229.76 this year and it will be paid quarterly. The motion passed.

The council also approved:

• court clerk Jennifer Talton as a notary.

• debit cards for the water and fire departments.

• new lights at Veteran’s Park.

• Kiker to attend a training class.

• $2,677 for a light package for a truck.

The council meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.