By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune
ARGO – At a meeting of the Argo City Council on Monday officials discussed the possibility of a library project and the reclassification of Mike Platts, who is chief of the Argo Fire Department, among other issues.
Councilor Ann Brown presented a proposal to acquire assets from a library closing in St. Clair and for the building of a new library in Argo. Assets would include books, computers, a fax machine and a copy machine. In her proposal, the budget for the library in the first year would be ,920. She asked that the council consider approving funding if the city can afford it.
Brown said that she was open to the possibility of raising money for a library through fundraisers. She also said that Civitan International requested a room for them to hold meetings until the end of September in an effort to create a club in the greater St. Clair County area.
Argo Police Chief James Downing reported that 784 calls to the department have been made this year. There were 127 citations and 63 warrants, 37 public assists and 193 business escorts. There were copies of a paper that described how court costs are distributed from citations.
At the end of the paper, Downing notes that the funds collected for the city from citations are limited. He notes that the city’s budget restrictions and shrinking federal grants are threatening the department and are preventing them from purchasing equipment needed by the police. Support and donations were requested to assist the department.
Discussion on Argo Fire Chief Mike Platts, who was reclassified as a part time employee at the last meeting, returned as several residents spoke up about him. During that meeting, the council voted to allow Platts to work part time for six months until the budget could be worked out. The trial period will then determine if Platts’ part time work is viable.
Platts was not at the meeting as he was attending a conference.
A resident who declined to reveal her name addressed a job posting for the position of fire chief that was made online. Councilor Corky Massey said that he was not aware of the online posting, but had suggested that the city look for potential candidates in case Platts’ position as a part-time employee does not work out.
Residents who spoke on Platts all agreed that funding for the library would be better spent on employees in the fire department, although all were in favor of eventually having a library in the city. This was echoed by Argo resident Michelle Coalson who made a statement before the council, urging all to work together.
Mayor Betty Bradley denied rumors that Platts’ job was at risk.
In other business, the council voted to accept an offer by funeral service Dignity Memorial to assist with the burial of any first responder that is killed in the line of duty. This would be at no charge to the city or for the family of the first responder.
The council paid its dues to the Alabama League of Municipalities in the amount of $1,953.15.
In her comments, Bradley said that a regular meeting on Sept. 4 will not be held due to the Labor Day holiday. She also said that the Mayor’s Breakfast will be held on Aug. 22 at 7:30 a.m.
The next Argo Council meeting will be held on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m.