Clifton City Commission Tables Discussion Regarding Lawnmowers on City Streets

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   The Clifton City Commission met in regular session on Monday, February 22, 2021. Commissioners in attendance were Mayor Mark Staggs, Vice Mayor Eva Ruth Warren, Commissioner Layton Packwood, and Commissioner Stacy Huntingford. Also in attendance were City Manager Doug Kibbey and City Recorder Barbara Culp. Commissioner Randy Burns was absent.

   Mayor Staggs called the meeting to order. The invocation was offered by Austin Clark, and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.

   A motion was made by Vice Mayor Warren to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Huntingford, and the minutes were unanimously approved.

   New business was next on the agenda, beginning with City Manager Kibbey explaining Budget Amendment #2. A motion was made by Vice Mayor Warren to pass the first reading of an ordinance approving Budget Amendment #2. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Packwood, and passed unanimously on roll call vote.

   Next, City Manager Kibbey told the commission that it had been two years since there had been an increase in the city’s natural gas rates. He said that the commission had previously agreed to have increases every two years based on inflation. Vice Mayor Warren made a motion to pass the first reading of an ordinance setting natural gas rates and tap fees. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Huntingford, and passed unanimously on roll call vote.

   Vice Mayor Warren then made a motion to pass the first reading of an ordinance setting solid waste collection rates. Commissioner Huntingford seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously on roll call vote.

   City Manager Kibbey next gave the commission information regarding what vehicles can and cannot be on city streets. Mayor Staggs said the he regularly gets phone calls about lawnmowers being driven on city streets, and a discussion followed. City Manager Kibbey said that whatever decision the commission makes should be consistent, because you cannot single out lawnmowers. Both Commissioner Packwood and Vice Mayor Warren said that they felt that the restrictions currently in place should remain the same. Police Chief Jerroll Henderson said that he would have a conversation with an individual who has been riding their lawnmower on the city streets and sidewalks, sometimes at night. He said that he would ask that they stop doing this. The commission then agreed to table a decision on any changes to the current restrictions and guidelines.

   Department reports were next. Parks and Recreation Director Eddie Simmons said that he had been trying to get everything ready for the upcoming ballgames. The dugouts and bleachers have been pressure washed, and the fields have been fertilized. Simmons went on to say that the city’s utility workers did a good job repairing the walking trail.

   Police Chief Henderson told the commission that the city should send a letter to CCA and a letter to Gator Thompson, thanking them for the work they did removing snow and ice from the city streets and sidewalks. Chief Henderson then said that everything has been running smoothly in his department. Dash cameras have been installed, and five rifles have been ordered for the police officers at the cost of $725 each. Vice Mayor Warren inquired if the police department has plenty of ammunition, and Chief Henderson said that they have accumulated what they need for now.

   Public Works Director Austin Clark said that there have still been problems at the water plant, and there have been several leaks repaired. He said that there are still some very old water lines in the ground that need to be replaced. Mayor Staggs said that he would like to see new pipes installed before a new water plant is built.

   Fire Chief Lindsay Roberts reported that things were going well in his department. He said that he would be attending a Fire Chiefs conference the following Wednesday and Thursday.

   Commissioner Huntingford then mentioned a question brought up by Vice Mayor Warren at the last meeting regarding who the city is purchasing inmate work crew lunches from. City Manager Kibbey said that the lunches are presently being purchased from Country Girls because the Senior Citizens Center does not prepare hot meals every day. A stipulation from the county is that hot lunches are provided for the inmates. Commissioner Huntingford said that she felt that the lunches should be purchased from different restaurants in town. City Manager Kibbey said that the Senior Citizens Center has agreed to provide hot lunches for the inmates in the future.

   Commissioner Huntingford then requested that a fire hydrant be installed near her property at the Clifton Marina, stating that it could make a difference in her insurance premiums.

   Next, Commissioner Huntingford said that it has been more than a year since the Clifton Chamber of Commerce has met, and that the city needs a plan for the use of the tourism money that is in the budget. City Manager Kibbey said that the city does not run the Chamber, they only subsidize the Clifton Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. He suggested that Commissioner Huntingford have a conversation with the Chamber President about this.

   Vice Mayor Warren offered her sympathy to the families that have recently lost loved ones, and to the Evans family who recently lost their home to a fire.

   Mayor Staggs suggested that the city should run something in the Wayne County News thanking CCA and Gator Thompson for the cleanup of snow and ice on the city streets and sidewalks.

   With no further business to come before the commission, the meeting was adjourned.