Thursday, May 18, 2017 - Updated: 2:04 PMRod Hammond was hired as Brookport Chief of Police at the May 9 Brookport City Council meeting.
The announcement was made following the council coming back into open session after going into closed session to discuss personnel, the Ward 3 open position and firefighter applicants.
Hammond had been with the department 20 years, mostly in a part-time position. Rather than salaried, he will be paid hourly at $14.50. He will also be granted a three-week vacation.
The Ward 3 position appointment was tabled to allow time for any applicants to submit a letter of intention to the mayor. Any resident living in Ward 3 may apply. The rough boundary of the ward is the east side of Pylant Street and eastward. Interested individuals should check with city hall if unsure of the ward and submit the letter as soon as possible.
The decision on fire department applicants was also tabled.
Matt Kelly from Comcast asked for approval for a franchise agreement. Brookport did have an agreement from 1994 through 2014 but, due to the tornado and the former mayor’s injuries, the agreement quietly expired.
Comcast does pay fees to the city, which is about 5 percent of the customer base — amounting to approximately $7000 a year. The city, fire department, police department, school and library get free cable with the agreement, and service can be extended up Pell Road if enough residents are interested.
They are asking for a 15-year contract which does not exclude other companies from providing services as well. There is also a reduced rate for those on the reduced lunch program.
Council unanimously approved an agreement with Comcast.
An estimate for a HVAC unit for the new city hall was not received, so discussion on that subject was not held.
Debate was held about adding a signature to the bank card from two to three in case one of the signatories was out-of-town or incapacitated so checks could still be written. Currently two signatures are needed on every check and only two are on the card.
Brookport has only had two signatories for all the years council members could remember, and council members did not see the need to change. The city clerk did not feel comfortable signing any blank checks if she were to be gone on vacation. The response was the bills could wait for her return so a decision was not made to add a third signature.
Rick Abell, Brookport city attorney, confirmed Metropolis has three signatures, and that all signatories had to be bonded.
Brookport Mayor Tami Wessel was going to suggest Kathy Tucker be the third signature, but she did not have the support of council.
The police department requested three new computers; however, the council wanted more information as to the need and tabled that item.
Policy and procedures for city workers were also tabled without explanation.
The following committee appointments were made:
• For the Finance Committee — Kathy Tucker, Melinda Klaffer and Lori Klotz
• For the Health and Safety Committee — Debbie Workman, Klotz and Linda Souders
• For the Streets and Public Improvement Committee — the Klotz, Workman and Souders
• For the Ordinance Committee —Tucker, Klotz and Souders
• And, for the Parks and Recreation Committee — Klaffer, Tucker and Klotz
It was also suggested a Flood Wall Committee be reinstated which had Souders, Klotz and Workman assigned.
In the Mayor’s Report, Wessel stated the new city hall should be completed within the month. An open house will be held Tuesday, June 13 just before the regular council meeting from 5–7 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and a plaque will be presented to the former mayor and council for their work accomplishing this task.
Council members then made their comments, starting with Souders, Ward 3, who was aware that a driveway of a private individual was repaired using city workers and equipment, which should not be done since the city does not have the funds for doing such work. The mayor replied it was on the edge of the road. Details were not given as to location.
Other concerns from Souders was having vacated property mowed with a city lien placed on the property if the owner does not comply with the ordinance.
Souders also requested a list of those that paid the wheel tax for motor vehicles, also known as “city stickers.” The city attorney stated this falls under the Freedom of Information Act and should be available to any citizen making the request.
She also had concerns about the old computers thrown out and if the hard drives had been destroyed or at least cleaned.
Workman, Ward 2, asked if certain properties could at least have from the sidewalks to the road weed eaten to improve the appearances. She also asked for job descriptions for the committees since this was new to her and wanted to be informed.
Tucker, Ward 1 commented that the mayor, though inexperienced, was doing a good job in her first month.
Klaffer, Ward 1, stated that the fire department is washing the mud off trucks adding to drainage problems.
The Public Session was next with Lucille Shannon the first to speak. Bethel AME Church would like to put up a church sign on U.S. 45 and was told the specific location would need to be known because of right-of-way issues.
Shannon was also of the opinion that good faith work done by the city, such as patching a driveway, is a good thing for the community. She also commends anyone who runs for mayor.
Other audience comments ranged from checks taking a month to clear to water drainage problems in front of The Post to waivers on paying late fees for two individuals.
City Clerk Alison Boyt explained the waivers were approved by the previous mayor, and that she would check into the lengthy deposit problem.
Prior to adjourning, the council approved the payment of bills totaling $70,851.68, with the major portion being insurance.