Mayor Jackson to receive salary from city

The Italy City Council voted Monday evening to pass an ordinance providing a salary for the mayor. The council approved the ordinance at their monthly meeting held in council chambers.

Effective May 9, the city will provide Mayor Frank Jackson with $600 every two weeks. Rodney Guthrie, council member, made the motion to approve Ordinance # 090413-3. Council member Greg Richards seconded the motion that passed with John Droll being the lone vote in opposition to the ordinance.

The council also approved an annual salary of $48,000 per year for Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator.

The council also passed Ordinance 090413-01 declaring the candidates in the May 9 election as unopposed for the mayor and three council members thus canceling the election.

After a lengthy discussion, the council approved Ordinance 090413-2, which provides for licensing of dogs and cats, prohibiting dogs and cats from running at large and prohibiting the keeping of dogs and cats, which cause annoyance and provides for the vaccination of dogs and cats and rabies control.

The motion passed with Droll again being the lone vote in opposition to the ordinance.

The council approved a lease agreement with Skybeam to lease space on the water tower for internet services. The three-year agreement requires Skybeam to pay the city $500 per month for use of the tower.

The council gave approval for the police department to apply for a COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP), a grant program that provides funding directly to law enforcement agencies having primary law enforcement authority to create and preserve jobs and to increase their community policing capacity and crime-prevention efforts.

CHRP grants will provide 100% funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years (36 months) for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions (including filling existing unfunded vacancies) or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts.

At the conclusion of federal funding, the city must retain and fund the position the fourth year.

Murdock told the council that the city received a favorable audit. She said many of the issues addressed in the audit are already in place. Jackson added that it was a good audit.

The council tabled several items to be discussed in detail at a work session. The tabled items included building permits and inspections, contracting for sanitation services and updating the International Building Code and the National Electric Code.

The council approved bills and minutes from the previous meeting. During citizen comments, Carolyn Tittle addressed the council. She asked when Mark Souder Sr., council member, was going to pay his $2,000 bill to OK Lumber.

During department reports, Brad Chambers, public works director, said the water well behind city hall has gone down. He said the city was scrambling to pay for the pump, motor and wiring for the well. He indicated the well should be in service Wednesday.

C.V. Johns, police chief, said officers were called to service 126 times in March. Officers worked 1,121 hours and reserve officers worked 408 hours last month. The animal control officer, Johns indicated, worked 11 calls in March, issued four citations and two warnings.

Thomas Peyton, code enforcement officer, said he received three complaints and issued warnings on two of those complaints. He initiated activity on four issues and wrote two warnings.

Don Chambers, fire chief, said the firefighters were called to service 33 times in March. He issued five building permits and made seven inspections.

Michelle Munoz, municipal court clerk, said the police department issued 422 citations. She said 855 citations are pending from 2005 and beyond.

Murdock said she has been busy reviewing the bids for sanitation services, working with the Ellis County Emergency Services District regarding a contract for services, negotiated with Skybeam and Internet America on a lease agreement and completed 10-hour training requirement for Public Works Investment Acts. She also worked on the ordinance for the licenses of dogs and cats.

Jackson thanked the Lions Club, the library, volunteers and city staff for their participation with the Mayor’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt. He said the kids really enjoyed the event.

He said the city need volunteers May 2 at the park on College Street by the tennis courts. The volunteers need to put together playground equipment and tables. A retirement reception is set for April 30 at 6:30 p.m. for Don Chambers.