By John William Gallagher
The Trussville City Council approved a measure to set funds up to $400,000 to the police department’s budget for School Resource Officers at tonight’s council meeting. Mayor Gene Melton will meet with the Trussville City Schools Board of Education to discuss a plan about these officers. He will then bring the plan back to the council for approval.
“I know it has been tough these last few weeks,” Melton said. “I don’t blame the parents calling asking for more police at the schools. It’s very important to us.”
The money was moved from the General Fund in order to facilitate the SROs. These measures permanently insure officers will be at the schools during school hours and at after hour school functions. These officers will work full time at the three schools in the city
. During the summer, the officers will continue to work for the police department in a regular capacity and go to conferences on school security. The funding covered the cost of hiring the officers and purchasing new equipment. In subsequent years, the cost will not be so high.
“The safety of our faculty and students is paramount,” said Councilman Alan Taylor.
There are currently SROs at the high school and middle school. Since the Dec. 14 shooting in Connecticut, additional security measures have been put in place at the schools. SROs were also sent to Paine Elementary School. The police department was pulling patrols off the street to conduct traffic at the schools. Now, these patrols will stay on the street.
In other news, the council approved the purchase of the 53.27 acre McPhearson property from Scottsman Trades for $1.7 million. The valuation for the property was $4.5 million.
The property includes 10,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of warehouse space, which will allow the city to have an operations center. The Inspection Board will be able to work from there and school buses will be stored there. Many of other city functions can be moved and based there, as well.
In addition, 20 acres are adjacent to the Industrial Development Board and available for possible development. The site also allows for the residents along Camp Cosby Road an outlet from the trains. They will be able to cut through the site instead of waiting for the train to pass.
The mayor expects to close on the deal before the end of the year.
“It’s an extremely good situation for us,” Melton said.
McPhearson is currently liquidating many of his other properties before the end of the year. He bought the property in connection with the Trussville Industrial Board Development from its previous owner Goldkist, a poultry processing company. After McPherson purchased the site, he converted it into what it is today. However, the site has not been used since its purchase.
The council also approved the hiring of Bob Christmas to work in Trussville’s administration office. Christmas was the former city clerk of the city of Clay from 2003 to this past November. He left his position in Clay when the city consolidated his position into its new City Manager position and appointed a new person to fill the post.