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Board reviews fire protection

By MARLAN JONES,

The Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen held their monthly meeting on December 5.

At this time, the board moved to accept the resignation of Andrew Bynum and Jazmine Barnes.

The board then approved a tabled item from last month when the board had discussed establishing a new organization, Keep Mendenhall Beautiful. It was unanimously approved for the city to proceed.

Updates were made to the rural fire protection and fire protection agreement with the town of D’Lo. This is a routine line item that involves the cities of D’Lo and Mendenhall recognizing the mutual advantages through cooperative action to provide fire protection services.

The agreement between the Mendenhall Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and the City of Mendenhall states that the department will respond with the manpower and equipment available to them and do the best possible job.

In return for fire protection services the City agrees to furnish the department with a building for housing equipment. Mendenhall also serves as agent of the fire department, which includes collecting monies designated for fire protection and using it for the benefit of the department. These funds will be used for the purchase and improvement of equipment or capital construction to improve fire protection.

The fire agreement between Mendenhall and D’Lo states that in return for fire protection the town of D’Lo will transfer all state rebate funds annually for the purpose of defraying training expenses and for the purchase and improvement of firefighting equipment.

The agreement also states that the town of D’Lo will provide volunteers for assisting the Mendenhall Fire Department with fighting fires within the town.

The board approved Tiffany Wallace to attend clerk training, and Angie Fortenberry and Latasha Millis to attend dispatch training.

Mayor Todd Booth said that the city is in desperate need of upgrades to their public works vehicles. Three trucks in the fleet were down. Booth asked the board to approve him to attend an upcoming auction, potentially to purchase new vehicles. The board set a $10,000 limit, which has been budgeted for purchasing new vehicles for public works. Booth said, “It probably won’t take that much, we are going to be looking for a deal.”

The board discussed making changes to the guidelines surrounding permits and permit fees in the building codes. Booth explained to the board an instance where a citizen was repairing a pipe in his yard. The citizen was eventually informed by the building inspector that he needed a permit to fix his own pipes. Booth said that he did not believe this was fair, adding, “The purpose of the permit is to protect the property owner and make sure whoever is coming in to do the work is licensed and bonded. But if he wants to take it upon himself to fix it, then he should be allowed to do that without a permit.”

Booth described it as a case of “too much government in your business.”

Many of the board members shared his opinion. Alderman Robert Mangum suggested that the item be tabled to allow time for research to make the best possible decision in terms of amendments.  Booth agreed and explained that this gives the board an opportunity to get clarity on what should be done and the right way to do it.

The Board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters before recessing the meeting until December 22 at 2 p.m. for a zoning hearing.