There were two main topics of discussion at the Sept. 17 Smyrna Town Council meeting – the Route 13 design week results and the proposed police station construction manager. There wasn't anything else under new or old business, but the committee reports yielded some important information.
Town impact fees
Town Manager Dave Hugg provided council with more information on impact fees as the issue was raised by both the Finance Committee and Town Council in reference to the lack of an impact feel for the police department.
Hugg did say, however, the document was not a legal analysis so he recommends involving the town's legal counsel if further review is desired.
Quality of Life Program
Councilman Anthony DeFeo gave an update on the Public Safety Committee. The committee discussed at their September meeting the idea of reactivating the Quality of Life Program in the police department. This was a prior program in Smyrna but was dissolved due to budget cuts. DeFeo said the program is contingent in bringing the police force back up to full capacity – 23 officers.
"We're having enough issues in our town where I think we need to have this group that's dedicated to sitting on specific issues and not only on patrol. So we can get those areas back under control again," he said.
Utility Committee concerns
Committee chairman Bob Johnson said quite a few residents have come to the committee in reference to increased bills due to their water systems running, specifically with the bathroom facilities.
Johnson said what residents need to understand is that once the water goes through the sewer system the town is obligated to pay that cost to the county.
"I recommend citizens check their water system once a month, especially in their bathroom to check that they are not running," Johnson said.
The committee is also looking into how other towns deal with their disconnect policies. Johnson said the town is pretty much in line with other towns and Smyrna is "not as good as some, but better than others." The committee will continue to look into the disconnect policy.
Another topic the Utility Committee is continuing to look into is the PPCAC rate of a resident's monthly electric bill. Johnson expects the committee to continue looking at this rate through the end of the year.
Businesses coming to town
The Business Development Committee received an update at a recent meeting in terms of new businesses and upcoming businesses opening.
Hugg said there have been roughly 20 businesses that have opened in Smyrna this year. Moreover, a new café will open on Main Street soon called "Old Fellows Café." A sub shop "Casapullas" will open on the highway in the near future.
"Things are looking a little bit better," Hugg said.
2013 budget discussions continue
Mayor Pat Stombaugh said the Finance Committee is starting to have weekly meetings to work on the 2013 budget.
Thus far, the committee has been working on establishing a capital budget to track projects over the next five years. The committee had a meeting Sept. 19 to focus on the actual budget.
"There have been a lot of suggestions, a lot of good ideas. And I think it's going to be a good end result," Stombaugh said.
Complaint tracking system
Councilwoman Joanne Masten said the Personnel Committee has asked the town's Manager of Building & Inspections Grant Prichard to looking into how the town handles citizen complaints.
"We seem to do well with violations that have to be tracked," Masten said. "But we fall short on when citizens have a complaint in making sure that we circle back to make sure the citizen knows we have taken an effective action on that item."
Masten said the town tends to not track complaints until they become a violation. But the problem is that every complaint doesn't necessarily become a violation.
Prichard has been asked by the committee to put together a spreadsheet with examples of how complaints are tracked.
The report should result in statistics that show the turnaround time from when the complaint is issued to the time it's completed and the citizen is advised of a solution. Currently, Masten said the committee doesn't know the turnaround time of handling a complaint but the report will give them a benchmark.
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