By Crystal Burns
A Lexington Street resident addressed the Trenton City Council about a problem she says the city has with speeders.
Virginia Browning, a Trenton native who moved back to her hometown after 42 years in Texas, said she is concerned for the safety of her neighbors and those and driving too fast.
“I’m even concerned for my husband to go to the mailbox to get the mail,” Browning said at the December 13 board meeting. “I’m afraid he’ll get run over.”
Browning said he had spoken with Mayor Ricky Jackson twice, and he had put up a 31-mph speed limit sign in front of her home. She also said she had talked to police officers who have parked near her home and caught several speeders on Lexington.
“That’s great, but it continues,” she said.
Jackson said the Trenton Police Department would have two more patrol officers on the streets in about a week when the new hires graduate from the state police academy and that should help increase law enforcement presence all over town.
“We’re going to do our best to help you with your problem,” he said.
Police Chief Will Sanders said speeding isn’t unique to Trenton but is a major problem across the state.
“I don’t know that anyone has the answer,” he said. “Officers do concentrate on those areas and write tickets.”
Resolutions passed – The board approved a resolution endorsing the submittal of an application for Trenton to become a Tennessee Downtown. The program is affiliated with Tennessee Main Street and designed to help communities embark on a comprehensive revitalization effort for their downtown. The program is highly competitive, and activities include training, site visits, regional workshops, webinars, technical assistance and an innovation project grant.
Trenton’s steering committee members are Brenda Horner, Barney Cayson, Jane Benthall, John Dunagan, Bryan Wilson, Lindsey Ingram, and Crystal Burns. They are working with guidance from the mayor, Trenton Light & Water General Manager Scott Dahlstrom, Greater Gibson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Libby Wickersham and with help from Gibson County Economic Developer Kingsley Brock and West Tennessee Industrial Association Executive Director Kimberly Kee.
Alderman Dona Ledbetter said she could see nothing but benefits from the program and noted that Trenton should be ready to take advantage of opportunities that Tyson Chicken’s new facility in the county industrial park in Humboldt could bring.
The board also approved a resolution outlining a drought management plan for Trenton Light & Water. The plan outlines steps that Trenton Light & Water and the city would take if it cannot produce enough water to meet customer needs due to drought. Steps include voluntary reductions in consumption and mandatory reductions enforced by fines if the drought becomes severe enough. It also prioritizes water use.
The state required all water systems to prepare a drought management plan.
“We Tennessee is blessed with an abundant supply of well water so it is very unlikely that we would ever have to put this plan into action,” Dahlstrom said. “As you move east, however, more and more cities have ‘surface water.’ Those systems face a much greater drought risk than we do.”
Utility business – Dahlstrom told the board Trenton Light & Water had been dealing with a sewer main problem on Eaton Street for some time. He said he is trying to put off construction until the next fiscal year but asked the board to approve spending $27,000 for engineering fees in the current budget. J.R. Wauford is the department’s engineer. Estimated total cost is $125,000, but Dahlstrom said he believes that includes the engineering fees.
The board approved taking $27,000 out of this year’s budget.
Dahlstrom also presented a power contract amendment from TVA regulating pole attachments. He said TVA had been telling the department to charge other businesses for using Trenton Light & Water poles, but the amendment gives details on how to calculate the charges. City attorney Richard Gossum had reviewed the document, which the mayor would sign after the board approved it 5-0. Alderman Joe Hammonds was absent.
Police audit – Sanders said the police department underwent a federal audit due to its participation in a Department of Defense program that gives certain equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Agencies are allowed to sell some of the equipment after so many years, and all proceeds go into the department’s drug fund. Other equipment must be kept and maintained. Sanders said Trenton Police received a clean audit.
Sanders also announced the resignation of a second shift dispatcher who has taken a job with county central control. Her last day is January 5.
Monthly meetings – Alderman Frank Gibson made a motion to change from two council meetings per month to one beginning with the fourth Tuesday of January and to reevaluate the decision in June. Gibson said he was “completely against” it earlier but had changed his mind. His motion died for lack of a second.
The council will continue to meet the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The next meeting will be January 9.
Holiday hours – City Hall will close at noon on Friday, Dec. 22, and will be closed December 25-26 and January 1. Republic will run garbage collection one day late during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.