Hamilton resident resorts to filling potholes and finally…dry basements
The board of aldermen of Hamilton held their monthly meeting on Wednesday. All board members and the mayor, city administrator and city clerk were present. Robert Cowherd, the city’s attorney was absent.
Alderwoman Kavanaugh questioned a bill from Wal-Mart for cleaning supplies stating that those items sould be purchased locally. Clerk Debby Davis said that those particular items could not be purchased in Hamilton.
George Pease of Emergency Management attended the meeting to discuss emergency planning. See this week’s article for more details.
In public participation, Larry Verbeek spoke up to thank the city for getting his sewer problems and those of his neighbors fixed. He said the city’s fix withheld all the water from the last heavy rain and kept his basement dry. He also thanked the police chief and his department. Mayor Gilliam said he was sorry for any problems that caused him in the past.
Patty Rozine, who is retired from a city government, complained that the code enforcement officer does not show any credentials. In fact, she has not seen anyone that works for the city wearing any kind of identification. “It doesn’t cost that much for an ID,” she said. Code enforcement should have a copy with her of the ordinance that is in violation and she should not be able to collect money from people out in the field. Rozine said it should be put in writing, “you failed to comply with an ordinance. It’s going to cost you $50. You’ve got 48 hours to get to city hall and get it paid or you will be given a ticket.” Those receipts should be turned in to the clerk at city hall each day. Also, she said she had lived in Hamilton a year before she found out what the speed limit was on the residential streets. She asked over 70 people in Hamilton what the speed limit was and the majority didn’t know. Rozine lives on Burruss and said it is inevitable that someone will get hit and killed by a car. She said, “We don’t have any speed limit signs in town or signs that say “children at play.””
Farris Linville attended the meeting and told the council that there was hardly any improvement on the speeders in town. He said he did a log for the month of June and the police issued 15 warnings and 6 tickets, that’s 21 in 30 days and there’s 24 hours in a day, “what do the police do all the time that they are not out even enforcing anything?” The Mayor reminded Linville that he had waved at Jared and Ron by his place earlier this week and a half hour before the last meeting, Jared had pulled someone over within view of his house. Mayor Gilliam said he knows they have issued tickets because Sherria had been up at the track walking and had seen them down at the pool writing tickets. Sherria Kavanaugh added the only one she has seen out there has been Jared McGinley. Linville asked what the salaries were of the officers in town. Wallace gave an estimate of $11 per hour. Linville said he went to Gallatin and talked to one of their officers. They are working three officers, chief of police and one volunteer. They don’t leave the city unless there is an emergency, then it has to be cleared by the chief. He said, our officers are out of town all the time… half the time the Caldwell County dispatcher dispatches our police officers out of the county without ever going through the chief. The town is left open. Linville said Gallatin’s officers make $11 per hour and haven’t had a raise in over two years. Gallatin closes up around 1 or 2 a.m. There are 6-8 hours that they do not man the town. Linville asked again what the police do all night. The mayor said he hoped they would be patrolling the town. Linville asked Sherry if she knew if they walked the alleys and put tickets in the door saying they checked the door like they used to and Kavanaugh said she asked the police chief that question and he didn’t answer her. Linville brought up Dean Hales figures from last month saying “that’s a heck of a police budget just in salaries.” Gilliam said they went back and refigured his numbers and determined that they were highly inflated. Gilliam said that Hamilton issues tickets at ten miles over, those under ten miles get a warning unless they are consistent. Linville asked if the police officers logged warnings.
Linville also complained that when someone gets a permit for a roof, puts it on, no one comes and inspects it. He could put his shingles on upside down and tin crosswise. “She is just collecting money.” Linville said, “If you pay for a permit, shouldn’t someone come out and inspect your property?”
Jim Luther asked what the code enforcement’s qualifications were. Wallace answered, a background in real estate, some construction but not major construction. Ronnie Cohorst said she told him she has to come in and inspect your electrical and plumbing. I asked her what qualifies her for that and she said she took a test. Cohorst added, “I took a first aid test, but I can’t perform surgery.” Gilliam said if they hired someone with all the qualifications it’s going to cost big money. Linville said “I’ve lived here for 65 years and we’ve never had anybody before, until last year.” Gilliam asked, “Would you rather we just got rid of that position altogether and we just go back to “you can do whatever you want, whenever you want?” If we get rid of her and someone wants to put a roof on and they put it on upside down and they live next to you and your property values drop, who are you going to complain to?”
Ronnie Cohorst brought up the subject of the streets. Mayor Gilliam replied that they had been working on the potholes. Cohorst said he saw some asphalt in some holes but nothing permanent has been done. Gilliam said that anything done permanently now will just be ripped up this fall when they start on the water lines. “It would be just a waste of money.” Cohorst said six years ago you couldn’t say that, he has been in Hamilton 12 years and nothing has changed. Gilliam said he wasn’t here six years ago, “I’m here now.” Cohorst said he has a friend that just had $240 worth of damage done to her car from one of the potholes. “You are going to start seeing lawsuits. People are going to fall in them and get hurt, then how much is that going to cost the city.”
Jim Luther spoke up in defense of the police department saying that they put their lives in danger every day and $11 per hour isn’t very much. “Let some of these people that have never been shot at go out there and get a job doing that.” Luther said he listens to his scanner 24 hours a day and they earn their money. I’ve seen them going down the street and have seen them stopping people too. At that time an argument began to ensue between Linville and Luther and Mayor Gilliam called an end to public discussion.
To read more on this article, see this week's edition of the Caldwell County News