Citizen grills Climax City Council

Published 3:46 pm Thursday, December 18, 2008

Climax citizen Billy Sloan brought a complaint before the City Council on Dec. 8 concerning the lack of cleanliness of the city streets, the duties of the city’s maintenance man, the lack of city official’s representation during Swine Time and the annexation of land owned by Butch Mosely.

Sloan said he had some of the same complaints around this time last year.

Mayor Liz Phillips responded that Sloan should go to her committee for this, but he said he wanted results now.

“Why?” asked Sloan. “Why are the city streets not being kept clean?”

He said he saw no effort to clean the town up before Swine Time, which is the biggest event the city has all year. Sloan said he felt the mayor and council owed the city an apology for the appearance of the town, and for no representation by any employee or city official attending the dignitaries’ breakfast where there were U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop as well as state senators and representatives, along with county commissioners and other officials.

“It was a slap in the face to the Community Club, and the people of this town that no one represented this town at the Swine Time breakfast,” Sloan said.

Sloan stated he rode around town with City Councilman Ronnie Bishop last month, and one month and one day later there hasn’t been a change, the streets were not being taken care of properly. He said his concern was how the city could pay the maintenance man $18 or so an hour, and then $15 per day per man for county inmates to sit in the maintenance building or city hall doing nothing, keeping warm with city-purchased kerosene for heaters when they should be out cleaning the city. He said the inmates were also seen last fall outside the city limits on a dirt road on the golf cart picking and eating grapes with no supervision from the maintenance man.

“Why do you continue to pay the maintenance man to sit at city hall with the prisoners doing nothing?” Sloan said.

Sloan questioned why some of the city’s equipment, (old lawn mowers) were given away and not put up for bids to try to recoup some of the money spent on the new equipment?

“Who gave this man the authority to give the lawn mowers away?” he asked.

An audience members asked what happened to the schedule made by the council during the summer months that the maintenance man was suppose to follow, and why couldn’t the landfill be burned more often?

Sloan continued saying he had contacted a television news outlet of Tallahassee, and they promised to come to Climax for an interview about the condition of the city.

“It is time for this to stop. There is no leadership on this council whatsoever, and somebody has got to take charge. The only two that I have seen show any interest whatsoever has been Keith (Harrison) and Ronnie (Bishop),” Sloan said.

He questioned the SPLOST proposal and the annexation to the city limits that had been requested by County Commissioner Butch Mosely. He then asked if anyone could answer his questions.

A response came from Councilman Harrison. He said he appreciated the comments from Sloan, and that he was otherwise detained and could not attend the Swine Time breakfast, and this had been cleared by the president of the Community Club.

The SPLOST proposal he said was put together by himself and the rest of the council, and a lot of the figures were placed in general funds. Miscommunication he said led to placing the funds for the fire truck in SPLOST, but this had been taken care of between himself and Commissioner Mosely, and he apologized for any misunderstanding.

He said he felt there had been money set aside for the annexation requested by Mosely.

Mosely asked if the annexation he requested about two years ago was included in the 2009 budget. The response by Mayor Phillips was in that annexation was in the budget for 2009. Mosely then asked could he expect some results in 2009 on the annexation. The mayor said it was in the budget.

Councilman Harrison said they would be contacting the city lawyer and annexation would be in the 2009 budget.

A large tree and pile of trash on or near the Swine Time grounds was moved by Councilman Harrison. He said he told Maintenance Man Greg Toole not to move it, that he would take care of it.

Harrison said a long discussion was held by Councilman Bishop and Toole and the councilman told Toole what he expected from the maintenance department including the inmates. Harrison said that Bishop told Toole things was going to have to change, but Bishop could give a better explanation since he was the one having the discussion.

Harrison also stated that the council was considering doing employee evaluations beginning in January every four to six months. There is no employee evaluation being done at present, he said.

Maintenance Man Tool requested the purchase of a pressure washer for the city’s use, and the council agreed to get prices.

Vandalizing is occurring at Parker Park in the bathrooms especially, and the council is considering having closing hours with signs stating trespassing after park hours.

Mayor Phillips requested that citizens place leaves and grass clippings in plastic bags to be picked up. However, Councilman Harrison said the bags could not be burned due to the environmental issues.