Caraway City Council tables employee raises

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Caraway City Council met Thursday evening, Oct. 13, and tabled decision on employee raises, plans for a 2006 rodeo, and discussed streets, ordinances and vandalism.

The council passed a motion to table the employee wage increase for another month, after the council voted 3-3 on the motion, leaving Mayor Joe South to cast his vote to table the decision. Mayor South originally introduced a 4 percent employee increase to the council as a joint recommendation by himself and the Budget and Finance Committee.

Aldermen Kenny Weathers, John Boatman and Bo James voted to table, and aldermen Marvin Browning, Mike Vaughn and Brent Powell voted against it.

"Since there seems to be division on this, I think we need to bring it back to the council again for a decision," South said. "This will give us time to consider the possibilities and come up with a unified decision."

A special called meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct.24, to discuss raises.

Resolution 2005-1 was approved for continuance of current millage tax rates.

The council appropriated funds for fire department personnel to travel to Atlanta to pick up the new water truck. Plans are for Fire Chief Barry Riley and Assistant Chief Bo James to fly to Atlanta, attend training and drive the truck back to Caraway.

Plans were finalized for a city wide fall cleanup for Nov. 1-5.

Mayor South reported the new computer, purchased for use by the Water and Sewer Department, was up and running.

"We are still in training for its use but can already see it is going to be wonderful," South said.

A rodeo joint-committee planning meeting will be held on Oct. 24, following the special council meeting, and will include the City Council, Lion's Club, Parks and Arena Committees. The rodeo is planned for July 3-4.

The council discussed the pros and cons of having a rodeo in the city ballpark rather than the new arena.

"I don't know why we would have it in the ball park when we have a rodeo arena," Alderman Kenny Weathers said. "The arena was built with taxpayer money."

"We have a bandstand here," said Alderman John Boatman.

"In the near future everything will be down there," South said. "The arena needs seating, lighting, fencing, and finishing. A big project like that is not done overnight."

The council approved by a 4-2 vote to sell for $100 an unfinished 10' trailer, which sits in the water tower area, to Gary Jeffers.

Aldermen Boatman and Weathers voted against the sale, wanting to advertise the trailer for sale before decision was made.

Danny Dunigan requested the curfew and penalties for vandalism be enforced on Halloween night in order to cut down on damage and destruction of property.

"The throwing of food substances and destruction ordinance calls for persons in possession to be penalized $25 each item," South said. "That would be $25 for each biscuit in a can, $25 for each egg in a carton, and so on. That could run $200 or $300 per kid."

"Last year there was that much damage to my property," said Dunigan.

The police officers present agreed to enforce curfew and vandalism ordinance.

Dunigan also addressed issue of damage to San Francisco street and why street money had not been used for repairs and paving.

"Street lights, high cost of gas and oil and two salaries come out ot the street fund," said South. "That does not leave a lot of money for paving. We have tried to patch and do repairs as we can."

"I have a house for sale and the street had an effect on the price of my property," said Dunigan. "We need to be attracting good stable people to live in this town, and we are not doing it. The way it looks now, I am ashamed to have my friends to come here and see it.

"We also need to clean up people too, and that starts with men in uniform," he said.

"I have just spent six weeks with about 60 kids in this town," Alderman Brent Powell said. "Many of these kids have good decent homes, even though about 20 of them don't. I don't have much myself, but I am not going to run them out of town. You want to run someone out because they are under the poverty level."

"I haven't given up on this town, but we have to clean it up," Dunigan said.

"We do the best we can with what we have to do it," South said. "We will enforce our ordinances."

"We need to enforce the ordinance for the whole town, not just the high-up kids to get by with murder," said James

Following the discussion, the council moved to go into executive session to discuss the discipline of an employee. Police Chief Jerry Vaughn and patrolman Steve McFarlin entered into the discussion also, since it involved them.

After an hour in closed session the council emerged but took no action.

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