SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga City Council met Tuesday night and approved a resolution approving the addition of two more school resource officers (SROs) in Sylacauga City School system.

The system currently has two SROs that rotate between schools and events. In the new agreement, the city and the school system will continue to share the investment cost in the SROs at $26,510.00 per officer.

During the work session, Fire Chief Adam Gardner requested funding to add two more full-time firefighters per shift, totaling 12 per shift. Gardner said in the recent ISO rating, the city scored a 4 because the department did not have as many firefighters as it should to score a 3. By adding two more per shift, a total of six full-time firefighters would put the city at a 3 and closer to a rating of 2. Gardner said he is utilizing part-time firefighters as best as possible. This year, the city has spent more than $80,000 on overtime. Gardner said total investment would be around $180,000 and would help offset what the city is spending in overtime.

The Council also discussed items pertaining to the Sylacauga Housing Authority, city budget, paving updates, and revenue opportunities for FY2019.

In order to balance the budge and find revenue, Council president Lee Perryman proposed utilizing auto, lodging, and business license rates. Currently, automobile tax is at .75% while the national average is 2%. If it was raised below the national average to 1.25%, it could potentially generate more than $162,000 annually. Additionally, increasing lodging tax from 9% to 10% would generate an additional $29,000. Suggested business license rates would be raised 10%. Sales and gasoline taxes were not discussed in order to look at alternative funding.

During the council meeting, a resolution was passed accepting the proposal for provision of professional engineering and consultation services relative to preparation of plans for construction of the FY2019 Transportation Alternative Program. From 1st St. to 3rd St. between N. Norton Ave. and Broadway Ave. and Callhoun Ave. and Broadway Ave., a major redevelopment will take place, paid for mostly by federal funding. Engineering Design Technologies, Inc. has developed a plan that include ADA improvements, lane adjustments, and additional signage.

Michael Rice addressed the council providing an update on street paving stating Oldfield Rd. would be completed Wednesday and the last will be Coiling Rd.

Mayor Jim Heigl said the Animal Shelter has taken in 1,101 dogs and 450 cats this year which is more than 500 more than last year. He said there is a dire need for dog food.

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