The regularly scheduled council meeting was held on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Room of the Municipal Building, 225 East Main Street.
Prior to opening the council meeting, Mayor Pollard asked Alderman Hays to give the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Pollard presided with the following Aldermen present: Mark W. Blake, Tracy Nelson, James Totten, Jeremy Courson, Sheila Jo Headlee, Mike Knight, and Doug Hays. Absent: Steve Winkleman
The minutes from the September 7, 2021, council meeting were presented. Alderman Hays made a motion to approve the September 7, 2021, council meeting minutes as presented. Alderman Knight seconded the motion. Alderman Totten abstained from the vote due to being absent at the last meeting. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
The August 2021 Financial Reports for the City of Carmi and Carmi Light & Water were presented to the council for consideration. A motion was made by Alderman Headlee for approval of the August 2021 Financial Reports. The motion was seconded by Alderman Courson. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
The vendor invoices for September 2021 for the City of Carmi and Carmi Light & Water were presented for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Totten to approve the September 2021 vendor invoices. The motion was seconded by Alderman Headlee. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
For Council Consideration, discussion, and possible approval
Police Chief Jason Carter spoke to the City Council regarding the police department’s budget. He began by explaining how the jail operates. Since the jail was built in 1975, the City and County had an agreement where each would pay half of the expenses. Chief Carter stated there is no other such agreement between a city and County law enforcement agency. The idea to separate the two entities has been discussed multiple times during the City budget meetings. Chief Carter stated, “I feel like it is time to separate from the County due to financial reasons.” Chief Carter went on to state, “It has nothing to do with the personnel of the White County Sheriff’s Department. We have a great working relationship with one another and we do not look for that to change.” Chief Carter referred to the possible mandates that will be taking effect in the year to come which will require each officer to wear a body camera, which will be a huge cost to the City. Chief Carter stated the City of Carmi would continue to pay for the percentage of calls dispatched for the Carmi Police Department (CPD). Chief Carter stated in 2015, the total county dispatch cost was $396,000 of which $166,320 is the cost to the City. The City paid White County $425,892 which is $259,572 more than what the dispatch cost is. In 2020, the total cost of the White County Dispatch was $489,000. CPD calls for 2020 was 50% which would be $244,500. The City of Carmi paid White County a total of $327,742 which is $83,242 more than what dispatch would have cost. In summary, Chief Carter stated since 2015, the City of Carmi has paid White County $1,462,108 more than dispatch would have cost at a percentage rate which is currently offered to other municipalities. Mayor Pollard added the City of Carmi does not have a say in what the County spends, but we have to pay half of he bills. Chief Carter said another proposed law for 2023 is a no-cash bail system where suspects will not be taken to jail; they will just be given a notice to appear in court except for felony-related charges where they will be arrested and taken to jail. Alderman Nelson asked if the City would build or buy a building. Chief Carter said at this time, there are a few options available. The basement had been discussed as an option but with the parking situation, it would not be ideal. Alderman Hays also asked if there was a proposed cost increase for training and Chief Carter said there have been additional trainings that will be required as well in the future which will be an added expense. If the CPD had a place to hold trainings, that would be more feasible. Sheriff Randy Graves also reiterated that he and Chief Carter were best friends and worked very well together. They have simply outgrown the space at the Police Department. There is not enough room to do private interviews with suspects etc. Sheriff Graves stated they would continue to work closely together.
At the end of the discussion, Mayor Pollard stated a vote was not necessary at this time as Chief Carter just wanted to make the Council aware of the expenditures for the jail. Mayor Pollard stated a further discussion regarding the separation would be had at an upcoming council meeting.
Reports and/or updates from Mayor Pollard
Mayor Pollard stated he had the pleasure of presenting Mr. James Endicott a key to the City of Carmi for 100 years of service to our country and community while he attended the remembrance ceremony at the drag races for the 20th Anniversary for 9-11. Mr. Endicott will turn 100 years young on September 30th. “He has been a huge influence in this community,” stated Mayor Pollard. The VFW will be honoring him on September 26th with a parade starting at 2:00 p.m. It will begin at Subway and travel down Main Street ending at the VFW. “I hope everyone can make it out to support him” stated Mayor Pollard.
The Uptown Theater Park is one step closer to being done. Last year the playground equipment was installed. This summer, we have poured the patio, installed benches, tables, electrical charging stations, and three old fashion street lights. Hopefully by next Corn Day, the covered stage will be completed. The park offers a lot of family fun as well as free WI-FI.
A quick reminder for the Aldermen: The Annual Chamber Dinner is right around the corner so the Mayor will need a head count on who wants to attend for table reservations. Also, Corn Day is quickly approaching.
“Last but definitely not least, I have chosen Brad Attebury to be the new City Supervisor for the City of Carmi. Brad will be starting his new position October 11, 2021. He will be a huge asset to our team at the office as well as the entire City,” stated Mayor Pollard.
Reports from Standing Committees
Alderman Hays wanted to remind everyone of the Homecoming parade on October 1, 2021.
Closed Session to discuss personnel and property issues with possible action to follow:
At 6:07 p.m. Alderman Headlee made a motion to exit regular session and enter into closed session. Alderman Courson seconded the motion. The motion carried on roll call with each Aldermen present answering “yes.”
At 6:24 p.m. Alderman Hays made a motion to exit closed session, enter back into regular session and adjourn. Alderman Courson seconded the motion. The motion carried on roll call by each Alderman present answering “yes.”
Cynthia J. Attebury, City Clerk
Jeff Pollard, Mayor