The Prescott City Council gathered Monday night for their September meeting. The Council received several reports, including routine monthly updates, and voted on a handful of resolutions and on an ordinance to rezone a section of property.
Financials and Budget Ammendment
The Council voted unanimously to approve the report on the city’s financials as well as an amendment to the 2019 city budget. The amendment added $620,127 in income to the budget, $552,657 of which came from a refund from SWEPCO, and added $335,216 in expenses. The amendment added a net total of $284,911 to the city’s 2019 budget.
Rezoning of Jimmy Brown Property
The only ordinance on the agenda was for the rezoning of a piece of property described as Lot 1 in the Block 34 of Brad Scott’s Addition owned by Jimmy Brown. Brown requested to have the property rezoned from I-1 (Light Industrial) to R-2 (Low-Density Residential). The Council unanimously approved the ordinance, allowing Brown to proceed with his desired plans for the property.
Economic Development Update
Economic Development Director Mary Godwin gave her monthly report to the City Council, which included some big news for the community.
Godwin informed the Council that the Explore Success/Youth Manufacturing Conference will be taking place Tuesday, September 24. Godwin said 18 schools will be bringing their students to the conference, which was launched last year and won the national Impact Award, which is awarded based on positive impact on youth. The conference brings manufacturers and students, primarily 8th graders, together to educate the students on the opportunities available in the manufacturing field in the areas where they live. Godwin said that there will be an official press release at a later time but that six people will go to Reno, NV to represent the conference and receive the Impact Award later this autumn.
Godwin also updated the board on the status of several projects around Prescott and grants the city has applied for to fund improvements to the community.
Godwin told the Council that the drainage project that has been underway on Mockingbird has been completed. A fencing project at McRae is near completion but an order of materials was required to finish, and the project should be completed shortly after it is received.
Godwin had several updates regarding parks including the installation of swings and picnic tables, which are compliant with ADA, as well as a new swing designed to secure a small child while allowing an adult to swing with them. Godwin said there are more picnic tables on the way, but the ADA compliant ones are already in place.
Godwin updated the Council they are currently working on park grants and have received a $129,000 grant from the ARDOT to install sidewalks that will run along both sides of Highway 67 from the DHS office to the grocery store.
Prescott Police Department
Prescott Police Chief Joey Beavers provided his department’s monthly report to the Council and introduced the members to one of the two new officers he hired. Officer Justin Babbitt, formerly of Glenwood, was introduced briefly to the Council before returning to his patrol duties. Chief Beavers said that the second officer he hired has just started at the academy and should be on the streets by this December.
The monthly Prescott Police Reports provided by Chief Beavers showed that the Prescott Police Department received 61 calls for service in August, its officers conducted 32 traffic stops, issued 25 citations, made 17 arrests (all misdemeanors), dealt with 25 incidents and worked 8 traffic collisions.
Chief Beavers also answered questions and provided information to the Council regarding a USDA rural development grant that the Prescott Police Department was awarded that provides $24,650 toward the purchase of a new patrol unit. Chief Beavers said that the Dodge Durango that they are looking at is a bit over $32,000, so the grant doesn’t cover the full cost.
Chief Beavers told the Council that many of the vehicles in the police fleet are old, with high mileage and some have maintenance requirements that have taken them out of use. Chief Beavers said replacing the aging units in his fleet is a constant task, with trying to find grants and dumping money into units to keep them operational. Of the cars currently out of service, Chief Beavers said two of them are patrol cars and one a lieutenant’s car, which is the one this grant will go to replace.
The Council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution to approve the grant.
Veterans Service Presentation
Veterans Service Officer Herb Langston spoke to the board about the work he is doing and hopes to do in his role serving the veterans of Nevada County. Langston, a 22-year Navy veteran, said he is working hard to be an advocate of the area’s vets and is available to help the vets with education and any other issues that affect their lives. Langston said one area of concern he has is that he has learned that many Vietnam vets are still suffering with PTSD and aren’t aware that there is help available to them.
Langston told the Council that he also wants to help the community to come together to honor their vets the way they should. Langston said that in the short term, he is working to organize a Veterans’ Day parade in the community. Langston said there hasn’t been one in probably 30 years and he is working to get the schools and community civic clubs involved. He also plans to organize a Memorial Day parade next May.
In the long-term, Langston said he plans to research the names of all vets who fought and lost their lives in the wars since WWII for the installation of a memorial. Langston said that the community has memorials for their fallen up to WWII but none for the conflicts that have occurred since. Langston said he expects it to take three to five years to complete the research, get the funding and see the installation come to fruition.
Resolution on Hiring of City Attorney
City Attorney Glenn Vasser spoke to the Council about recent state legislation that allows smaller towns to pass resolutions to allow for the appointment of City Attorneys and would bring an end to the position as one that is voted for.
Vasser said that if the Council wants, he can draw up a resolution for them to make it official but that it wouldn’t really change anything with how the city has been operating. While City Attorney is a position someone can run for election for, it hasn’t historically been the case that anyone does, and the position has been appointed. What the resolution would do, Vasser said, is eliminate the possibility of anyone running for and being elected into the position in the future, if someone was so inclined.
The Council briefly discussed the issue to clarify what it would mean before voting for a motion to have Vasser begin work on drawing up the resolution.
Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jamie Hillery spoke briefly to the Council and provided the monthly and annual Chamber reports to the Council members.