The council discussed increasing security and adjusting the city park hours night during Tuesday’s Carlisle City Council meeting.
According to Mayor Ray Glover, fireworks being shot on and around the Fourth of July has brought to his attention that some changes need to be made at the city park. He said not only were fireworks being shot off there, but trash cans were set on fire. Evidence was also found that the mulch surrounding the equipment was also on fire. Although Glover asked the council to consider banning fireworks from the park, he said while the activities with the fireworks were an issue, his biggest concern was people in the park at night.
Parks Director Ronnie Ashmore said there is also a lot of inappropriate activity happening after dark at the park, as well as smoking, that needs to be stopped. He said the among the litter, they are finding an excessive amount of cigarette butts, name carvings in the pavilions and other inappropriate items he chose not to name. Ashmore said these activities are not being done during the daylight hours, but rather at night when its dark and no one can see them.
In an effort to fix the problem, Glover said he believes people should not be allowed in the park after dark. The current city ordinance states the park hours from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., unless special permission for an event is granted by the council prior to the event. Glover said he believes by amending the night time hours to end at dark or dusk would allow people to use the park throughout the year without the effects of the time change.
Carlisle Chief of Police Eric Frank said a specific time should be set, so there is no question when the park is closed. He said anyone in the park who is unaware of the time, can look down the street and see the time on the BancorpSouth clock.
Ashmore told the council, in his opinion, changing the time will not affect the activity happening at the park. He said it will continue because it is dark and there are places to hide. Ashmore suggested the park be lit with more lighting, not only to deter the activities happening but to also make it safer. He said with more light, the park would be safer at night for those who are walking or want to bring their children to the park after dark, particularly in the fall when the sun goes down at 5 p.m.
No action was taking during the meeting. Parks chairman Chad Bennett will be scheduling a meeting with his committee members to discuss concerns at the park before recommended changes are brought back to the council.
Work continues at the police and court building as walls are being painted, according to Glover. He said they are painting this week and the fence for the sally-port should go up next week. Glover said the police department will be moving into the new building on Aug. 23.
Once personnel is moved into the new building, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer the city purchased will no longer be needed. Glover asked the council if they would like to sell the trailer or move it to another location for another purpose. Alderman all agreed, it should be sold. The city will be advertising for the sale of the FEMA trailer in the newspaper during the upcoming weeks. The trailer currently houses the court and police chief’s office.
The council also approved a pay request to AMB General Contractor for $23,750, contractors for the police and court building.
New court cost rates will now be collected for violations received within the city. The council unanimously voted to amended ordinance 224 to increase city fines from $5 to $20. This charge will be collected from each defendant upon plea of guilty, nolo contendere, forfeiture of bond or determination of guilty for misdemeanors or traffic violations by the Carlisle District Court. This will be in addition to all fines received by the court. The ordinance was passed with emergency clause and will go into effect immediately.
The new bridge on East Reid Street has been completed. Public Works Superintendent Jeff Ward said the original width of the bridge was to narrow, so the bridge width was increased from four to eight foot. During a previous meeting the council approved the work by Johnathan Blagg of DeValls Bluff for $6,741. The additional concrete increase the project $259, for a total of $7,000. The council unanimously approved the change order of $259 and to pay all invoices for construction of the Reid Street bridge.
Also during the meeting, Glover asked the council about changing the water billing process. He said he needs a way to directly communicate with the residents and believes by changing the water bills from a postcard to a paper bill, he can do so. Glover said with a paper bill he can not only notify residents of dates when the offices are closed but also add additional notes to those who chose not to clean up or mow their yards.
"Everyone gets a water bill," Glover said.
Glover said people will have no excuse to say they didn’t know, if a note is attached to they water bill because they have to read it.
The council asked Glover to further investigate additional costs of changing the billing process.
The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the Civic Center.