The City of Cumby will consider purchasing security cameras, fire hydrants and a lawnmower, per discussion by the city council and citizens at the regular council meeting on July 14.
According to the council and citizen Kyle Pettit, the bathrooms located at BlackJack Grove Park have been the subject of vandalism over the summer.
The city previously experienced vandalism and theft problems in October 2019, when a group who rented the park “trashed out the park,” according to Mayor Doug Simmerman, as well as unknown person or persons stealing toilet paper.
Now in July, “A door was left open… and the other door was locked and closed, and they broke that in,” Petitt told the council. “It was an absolute disaster.”
“The sink was trying to be lifted out,” council member Julie Isham Morris added. “A lot needs cleaning, and I don’t envy the person that needs to clean it.”
“The restroom had been being checked on a regular basis,” Simmerman stated. However, he added, “It had been awhile since [maintenance] had been by to check on it.”
City council member Betty McCarter stated she was aware that city ordinance provided the park was closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., but she “did not believe that was posted anywhere.”
“Can we post that and then if we catch kids out there during those hours… give them a citation?” McCarter asked. “Cuz I’m assuming this is happening during the night, due to the roaming of kids… then our police officers could enforce the ordinance.”
“We could have the maintenance guys lock them when they leave and then there might not be an issue,” city council member Guy Butler stated.
However, according to Pettit, he and wife Nikki Calhoun Pettit had determined one of the doors was already locked when the bathroom was broken into.
“If it’s locked, honest people will be honest, but there’s still the option to break it in,” Pettit said.
Subsequently, the city was considering re-evaluating their security camera systems at the park, according to the council agenda.
“As long as we have cameras up there, the bathrooms have been vandalized more than once,” Butler said. “It costs money to repair.”
McCarter asked if it would be cheaper to repair the non-functional cameras at the park, and Simmerman stated he believed it would be more cost effective to replace the cameras.
Simmerman stated the city currently has functional security cameras at city hall, for which they pay Griffin Communications $160 monthly.
“What’s around the city hall is leased and we pay them $160 whether they work or not,” Simmerman noted. “I don’t know how many years it’s sat there inoperable with us paying $160, although it’s working now.”
The council unanimously resolved to seek more quotes from security companies regarding pricing and discuss it at the next council meeting. The council also resolved to seek an estimate regarding how much it would cost to fix park bathrooms.
“I hate to say this, but several of our fire hydrants are inoperable… and several are not repairable because you can’t get parts for them,” Simmerman told the group. “They’re so old.”
Simmerman presented the council a list of six hydrants that were in need of immediate repair or replacement, and 13 additional hydrants that had a lesser level of maintenance needs.
The six in immediate need of replacement had problems listed such as “no water flow” or “full of bees.” Those with lesser levels of maintenance required replacement of loose chains, mowing, and replacing leaking valves, according to a report by volunteer firefighter David Weatherbee.
The council unanimously resolved to replace four of the six in immediate need, including three which had no water flow and one filled with bees. All of the six hydrants slated for immediate replacement for the council are located on Depot Street. There are approximately 19 functional hydrants within the city, council member Julie Isham Morris stated.
“You’re looking at about 32% of the fire hydrants within Cumby that don’t work,” said Pettit. “I think this is a very necessary expense.
The cost to replace the hydrants is $9000. The council also resolved to have the maintenance crew mow and edge the hydrants marked as needing trimming.
In May, Simmerman presented to the group that the city’s contract with Mike’s Lawn Service was coming to an end, and as such, the city would be left without mowing services. This left the city with two options, Simmerman told the council in May: purchase city-owned mowing equipment, or renew a contract with mowers.
However, in July Simmerman updated the council that the city contract with the mowers must continue until August 25.
“Cody [Talley, previous mayor] did agree to extend the contract because the previous city attorney had suspended the contract for 25 days,” Simmerman said. “So honoring the contract… I feel like we need to do [that].”
Meanwhile, the city had sought bids for mowers from Nortex, All Seasons, Atwoods and Kubota, which were presented in the council packet.
Butler clarified that the city owned no lawn-mowing equipment and Simmerman stated the city only had weed-eaters.
“What happened to the mowers we did have?” asked Pettit.
“I have no idea,” Simmerman answered. “They may have been disposed of before my time.”
McCarter stated she would like to see quotes for mowers larger than 54 inches, and Isham Morris agreed that she would like to see quotes for 72-inch mowers.