By Nathan Prewett
Leeds — As with previous meetings, the Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 meeting of the Leeds City Council was held virtually and by phone due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
The meeting began with a public hearing regarding a property on President St. that was being considered for declaration as a nuisance. However, Public Works Director Brad Watson said that the owners had made progress in improving it and recommended a 30-day extension.
Jose Manual Betancourt Roman, who said that he is the son of the property owner, was online and spoke in favor of the extension, which was later approved unanimously. No one spoke against the consideration during the public hearing.
Following the public hearing was the regular meeting in which the council authorized a COVID-19 vaccine policy for city employees. The resolution specified exceptions for those
“What this does is that it lays out the rules where we say that we want everybody to be vaccinated but if somebody wants to decline to be vaccinated there are conditions in the resolution such as religious objection or documented medical reasons,” said Mayor David Miller.
There were several reports from the library, fire, and police departments, which are included in an agenda packet that can be accessed online at the City of Leeds website.
The council voted on another resolution related to COVID, which was to extend leave benefits for city employees established by the Families First Coronavirus Response ACT or FFCRA. The policy is subject to the rules of the Family Medical and Leave Act.
The policy states that if leave benefits have been accumulated by an employee, they can take paid time off for reasons related to COVID from a combination of their annual, sick, comp or personal leave days. The resolution was passed unanimously.
A brief report was heard from Leeds Jane Culbreth Library Director Melanie Carden, who said that she put in a notice of intent for a grant from the state and expects the paperwork to be completed in late summer.
In the packet are the 2020 year-to-date and monthly totals from the police and fire departments. For the month of December, the police department recorded 637 calls, 30 accident investigations, 196 traffic citations, 223 traffic stops, 125 warning citations, one non-traffic citation, 25 misdemeanor arrests, six felony arrests and 54 warrants served.
In the year-to-date totals, there were 9,589 calls, 417 accidents investigated, 3,181 traffic citations, 3,891 traffic stops, 1662 warning citations, 23 non-traffic citations, 411 misdemeanor arrests, 164 felony arrests, 615 warrants served.
The fire department report recorded 2,432 incidents in 2020. There were 80 fires, 1624 rescue/emergency medical service, 39 incidents of hazardous conditions with no fire, 313 service calls, 167 good intent calls, 196 false alarms/false calls, two severe weather/natural disaster, 10 special incident types and one incident of overpressure rupture/explosion/overheat with no fire.
In other business, the council:
- Amended the city budget to allow for a replacement police car for up to $30,000, as well as a UV disinfectant system for the fire department for up to $5,000 and a workers compensation fund for up to $59,507,
- Reappointed Kathy Dutton to the Leeds Board of Education,
- Approved a supplemental holiday carry-over policy where employees can take holiday leave without “excessive accumulation”. The details of the resolution can be seen in the online packet, and
- Approved a facility access key control policy for city employees.
Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of every month and will be held virtually until the city government allows for in-person meetings.