Snead looks at fire, picnic, other matters

In addition to naming Phillip Weaver its new police chief (reported in last week’s Blount Countian),
the Snead Town Council considered several other matters in its lengthy July 13 meeting. Councilors quizzed fire chief Lee Netherton on various points within his department.

In his report, Netherton had announced he was placing logbooks in all fire vehicles. That announcement prompted councilman James Campbell to question use of the department vehicle Netherton drives. Campbell moved that the vehicle be used only on actual calls, offering, “That’s costing us all.” He then referred to a reported $2000 transmission repair the past year, which he opined would not have been necessary had the vehicle been used less.

Fellow councilor Jack Freeman added of the vehicle, “I see it moving around about as much as police cars.”

Councilwoman Trudy Campbell noted the council might look at the log records Netherton had indicated would now be kept. With those records, she suggested councilors could make a more informed decision on use of the vehicle.

Mayor Tim Kent called for a second on Campbell’s motion. No one chose to second, thus killing the motion.

Utilities supervisor Jeff Whited then requested the council approve fire extinguishers for all vehicles in his department. Town clerk Rae Ware added that the new senior citizens center needs another extinguisher in the kitchen. Netherton and Freeman disagreed over the type of extinguisher needed in the kitchen. The council voted to purchase extinguishers and first aid kits for all utility department vehicles.

ISO and insurance premium rates

Freeman later questioned why Snead’s ISO rating remains as high as it is, with other county departments’ dropping. [Most insurance companies use the ISO rating to determine their premium charges: the lower the rating, the lower the premium.]

Netherton offered, “Your water rating is half your points.” He said that with the addition of the town’s new fire engine, scheduled for delivery in September, the town would improve its water capacity. He said that in the 1980s, ISO required departments be able to pump 1250 gallons a minute; but that now, that requirement is 3500 gallons. “I’ve got to have three trucks to do that,” he concluded.

Explaining that with the new truck and sites with adequate water sources the department would meet that requirement, Netherton offered another concern. “Our only problem is having enough personnel show up, especially in day time – ISO says a minimum of six. An ISO guy says that all it takes is one structure fire without having six and you automatically go to a 10 (the worst rating).”

In further discussion, Netherton explained he and Kent had discussed using police personnel to help reach the required number of responders. Councilors questioned the additional training the police officers would need, but Netherton said that was not necessary. He said the police could be used to direct traffic or perform other auxiliary activities to meet the ISO requirement.

In later action, the council voted unanimously to make its requested $129 donation to BREMSS (Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System). BREMSS provides assistance and training to Snead and other fire and rescue squads.

Annual picnic

Kent called on Ware to update councilors on the town’s annual picnic. Ware detailed points that had been covered. Kent noted the offered assistance of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, his employer. That department will lend a grill and its helicopter for the Aug. 1 event.

Employee pay

Kent had previously requested a onedollar an-hour pay increase for office manager Glenda Kimberly. Councilors, who had delayed consideration of that proposal, sought further information. Kent said Kimberly had been asked to do more work to keep him updated on information he needs for his position.

Freeman explained that he was inclined to think that if the council gave one employee an increase, it should offer all employees a raise. James Campbell agreed and speculated that the town cannot afford the raises. Freeman noted the proposed Kimberly increase would amount to $2080 a year.

The council eventually agreed to examine that matter and others in a 6:30 p.m. scheduled work session prior to its July 27 regular meeting.

Utilities report and final matters

Whited, in his report, noted an ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) inspection within the past two weeks. He said the report called for the town to paint some of its tanks. He also reported conversation related to a sewer overflow. He said the ADEM representative accepted his explanation that the town was doing camera work to identify the source of the problem in order to address that.

He also explained that in checking on some problem trees, he had found one on the town right-of-way and two on private property. Kent said he would check on the cost of removing the tree on the right of way and two others in the town park. The council authorized Kent’s action without bidding, in order to have the trees removed before the town picnic.

Whited also reported that the building inspector the town had planned to use had asked for a fee agreement before he assumes duties.

Councilors declared several items from the community center as surplus, which allows their disposal. They also approved the annual audit.

All council members (J. Campbell, T. Campbell, Freeman, Kent, Phillip McHan, and Charles Sanders) attended the July 13 session. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the community center.