Lyerly Council Talks Fire Fighting Needs PDF Print E-mail
News - Local News
Thursday, 11 January 2018 15:37
By JIMMY ESPY
Staff Writer
The newly constituted Lyerly Town Council and Mayor Jim Ferguson discussed a wide range of issues at their first public meeting of 2018 on Tuesday.
The meeting agenda was light but that didn’t keep new council members Phil Brooks, Juanita Baker, Shirley Davis and holdover councilperson Gwen Fisher from talking over several subjects of interests.
Fire Chief Ronnie Stephens presented a report on fire department spending and equipment needs.
Councilwoman Gwen Fisher suggested that volunteer firefighters should be paid more than $10 for each call they worked. Councilwoman Davis reminded her that the town has to find the money to make the payments. Stephens told council that the amount of pay was “their decision” but said that the firefighters were glad they received anything at all. He did add that volunteer firefighters in other towns received higher pay for each incident they worked.
Stephens said department members appreciated the emergency air flight insurance the town provided them free of charge. The previous council, in 2017, voted to pay the cost of the insurance, which is provided by AirMedCare of Rome, for all its volunteer firefighters, town council members, the mayor and full-time town employees. The insurance cost the town more than $800 in 2017. 
Mayor Ferguson said the annual payment for the insurance was due in February. No vote was taken but council members indicated they would continue the benefit in 2018.
Ferguson also suggested that the town would be better off replacing aging fire department equipment at regular intervals than waiting until large amounts of equipment had to be bought at one time.
Councilman Brooks asked if the operations of the fire department were being paid for by fire protection charges levied against non-city residents in the Lyerly fire zone. He was told that those revenues did not cover all costs but that it was not clear how much was covered.
  
WATCHMAN
Ferguson said he was starting a search for a new night watchman to replace longtime employee John Jones. Jones has had recent medical problems and won’t be returning to the job. 
“I want to find someone as quickly as I can,” said Ferguson. 
Jones had been patrolling the town from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. but Ferguson said patrol hours will be pushed back later. 
 
Miscellaneous
* Councilwoman Baker brought up drainage conditions at the “tiny houses” construction site on Chattooga Street. Ferguson said he would talk to the property owner-builder.
* Councilwoman Davis asked if the town could do anything about a hole on the side of the road at the intersection of Williams Street and Cemetery Road. Davis also asked about adding a street light at the intersection of Lyerly Dam Road and Ga. Hwy. 114.
* Ferguson brought up the possibility of hiring someone to do grant applications for the town. Former Mayor Josh Wyatt handled that while he was in office but Ferguson said he thought the town might have more success getting state and federal funds if someone trained to do the work prepared the applications. For instance, federal grant money is available for firefighting equipment and Ferguson said the town needs to replace its older fire truck.  
* Councilwoman Baker asked who would serve as mayor pro tem and suggested Fisher for the position. Davis nominated Brooks. Council then decided to postpone any vote on the matter until the procedure could be clarified.  
 


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