The Elba City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2022 budget Monday evening, Sept. 27, during the regular bimonthly meeting, and included in the budget are funds to help bring a School Resource Officer [SRO] to Elba City Schools.

The total revenues for Fiscal Year 2022 [including all operational revenues and all restricted revenues] are expected to be $4,396,130 with planned expenditures of $3,647,584.

The planned expenditures include $30,000 for a County SRO Officer. According to city clerk Sally Bane this would allow for an agreement with the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department for them to supply a School Resource Officer for Elba City Schools.

Mayor Tom Maddox said the Sheriff’s Department has SRO’s in all the county schools, and a meeting was held recently with officials to possibly bring an SRO to Elba too. He said Elba City Schools Superintendent Chris Moseley was onboard for the idea, but after having to hire an additional teacher this school year [due to growth], he did not feel the school system could handle the $30,000 expenditure needed for the contract with the county.

That, according to the mayor, is when the city decided to step forward and provide the $30,000 to allow for a school resource officer to be made available for Elba City Schools. He said the officer would be assigned to the school system for the 187 days it is in session each year [along with being available for extra activities], but when school is not in session, the officer would work with the Sheriff’s Department handling normal deputy duties.

By approving the budget, to include the $30,000 for the SRO, the mayor said the city/school would now enter discussions with the county to work out all the details for the contract in order to get an SRO assigned to Elba City Schools.

In other business, during Monday night’s council meeting, the council approved a resolution that would allow for federal American Rescue Plan funds to be used for a COVID Vaccine Incentive for Employees. The resolution calls for current employees or those who become employed that get fully vaccinated before Dec. 30, 2021 to receive an incentive. The incentive also applies to those current employees already fully vaccinated prior to the approval of the resolution. 

The mayor said full-time employees fully vaccinated prior to the Dec. 30th deadline would receive $400, part-time and fire department volunteers would receive $200, and seasonal or temporary employees would receive $100.

The city clerk said the street department is still looking for a machine operator. 

“We understand trash is a problem right now, and we are working to find solutions,” Bane said. 

In the meantime, she said a dumpster had been placed behind the recycle center for anyone who would like to put their trash in it rather than putting it by the roadway.

Bane also updated council members on the sewer project. She said it was still slated to be completed no later than February 2022; however, city officials met with USDA officials earlier this week to close the temporary loan and make the permanent bond through USDA.

“By closing the paperwork this quarter, we were able to lock in a fixed interest rate of 1.375 percent instead of the 2.375 percent that was originally agreed upon,” Bane said. “This, over the course of 40 years, will save the city of $600,000.”

Council members approved a resolution awarding the bid for demolition of the old Elba Chamber of Commerce building [at 329 Putnam Street] to McClain Contracting in the amount of $19,240. The resolution also gave the mayor authority to execute any necessary paperwork on the matter. 

The next regular meeting for the Elba City Council is set for Monday, Oct. 11, at 5:30 p.m.

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