Middlesboro resident Angela Jackson addressed the Middlesboro City Council about the importance of firefighters during the holiday seasons on Tuesday.
“Maybe it is just a coincidence, but arson seems to be more prevalent on holidays and during the winter,” said Jackson. “I feel it to be of the utmost importance that our fire department not be understaffed.”
Jackson requested more firefighters be hired, even if they are just part-time employees. She also requested the city hire a diversity of individuals for the firefighting positions.
“I feel that the employee pool of applicants should be broadened to include minorities and women,” said Jackson.
Jackson also mentioned the 19th street fires of the past and stated the old Middlesboro Hospital on Cumberland Avenue is a “time bomb looming over the heads of the citizens and firefighters.”
Dillard Barton also addressed the council to show his appreciation for the money appropriated for new flags for each city building. Barton also requested new ropes for each of the flag poles.
He also mentioned the need for a flag pole in front of the fire department. He stated the fire department is the only city building without a flag pole. The council plans to look into the situation.
In committee reports, the council approved two new street lights for 104 Lake Hill Drive and 813 South 28th Street.
Bo Greene stated the grant proposal for the city website has been submitted and the council will know the result in March. Greene said he plans to speak with mayor Bill Kelley about a temporary site for the time being.
In the finance report, the council passed a motion to release incentive pay for city employees. The incentive pay has already been budgeted.
Councilman Lucas Carter stated the council should look toward a raise instead of incentive pay.
“That’s something they will be getting every paycheck,” said councilman Doug Hughes, showing his support for the move.
The personnel committee plans to discuss the matter at the next meeting.
Other business addressed during the meeting included:
* Entrance of reports;
* Entrance of city bills paid;
* Approval of minutes from the previous meeting;
*Approval of 2012 Ad Valorem tax refunds.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.