Leadwood discusses struggles, putting tax on April poll | Government and politics


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The Leadwood Aldermen Council met last week and discussed issues relating to water, town businesses and the possibility of imposing a 1% sales tax on the April 5 ballot to to raise money for the police department.

According to the minutes of the meeting, a citizen expressed her support for the tax which would help Leadwood retain police personnel. The small town has seen a revolving door of police chiefs over the past three years, and the pay is not competitive even with the smaller towns in the surrounding area.

Currently, the police force has only two full-time employees, Chief Jason Jarvis and Constable Emily Portell.

The minutes indicate that there was a brief disagreement between Alderman Charlie Lewis and Water Department Supervisor Kevin Brooks, who also has a two-person department that caters to the city’s water needs. water and sewerage.

Brooks expressed concern that given the limited resources of the Town of Leadwood government, the purchase of police uniforms and badges could have waited. Lewis said he believed the same could be said of Brooks’ department, referring to a grinding pump that had been requested months ago and had yet to be installed.

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Lewis acknowledged that wages needed to be increased across all city departments, but said the water and sewer department seemed to be doing pretty well at the moment, in his opinion.

In telephone interviews with the two men on Wednesday morning, Lewis said he was stressing that all departments need more money than the city has, and charges could be brought against any department as to how his money is spent. He said he believed part of recruiting and retaining police officers would be easier if they had official badges and uniforms.

He admitted that Brooks had recently lost an employee, so the supervisor may not have had the time or manpower to set it up.

Brooks said he requested a new grinding pump, but then found it would require additional steps to install that he did not have time to complete.

“Now it turns out I have to dig some of the plumbing around this station and replace it in order to install there (the crusher pump),” he said. “And I never had the chance to do it. A lot of times I had to work alone in this department because we were having trouble keeping the employees and I just couldn’t do it.

Brooks recognized that when a small town like Leadwood has little income and a lot of expensive, necessary services to maintain, it’s hard not to worry when the town’s money is spent.

City Clerk Kendra Boyer, who wrote the meeting minutes, disagreed with Lewis that sign-up bonuses for the police department were to occur. She said it was unfair to all the other city workers who are underpaid, and pointed out that the city’s money is extremely tight at the moment.

Alderman Randy Howard said the city is barely hanging on, due to the high cost of living.

No votes were taken to put the initiative on the ballot, but it was reported that the four aldermen and Mayor Ed Austin have expressed support for doing so.

Brooks provided an update on the evolution of water and sewage issues in the city. He said an engineer hired by the city’s insurance company went to the well to examine the well and the discharge valve and photographed everything for a report to the insurance company. Brooks waits to hear a word.

He said a sewer panel that had shorted earlier this year could not yet be repaired because the wrong parts had been sent in. The right part has been ordered again and will arrive soon. Another repair that will need to be done is on private property, where a house fire started a few days ago. The minutes of the meeting indicate that Brooks said the property would need a new water meter, new plug and new pipe if sold to new owners. Of all the water leaks and repairs, the streets are in bad shape, and Lewis has offered to buy a new load of asphalt, which his fellow aldermen have approved.

The annual fee the city pays the state for water, the primacy fee, will drop from $ 3.24 to $ 5.28, which the council has approved. The pound fee for dogs will be reduced from $ 10 to $ 25 and the daily fee for dogs will be reduced from $ 2 to $ 5. The board declined to consider the possibility of purchasing a new animal control truck.

  • Two seats on the board will be up for election in April. They are currently owned by Randy Howard and Aaron Penberthy. The deposit started on Tuesday and will take place at Town Hall during normal office hours until December 28.
  • The Board of Directors has approved an offer from Barton’s Auto Salvage for a person lift.
  • The city has granted a business license to the new owners of Roy’s Store, the city’s gas station and convenience store across from Dollar General.
  • Weedkiller offers were made after Lewis asked for two more offers.
  • Leadwood’s next board meeting will be on December 27 at 6 p.m. ET.

Sarah Haas is the associate editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or [email protected]

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