By Nathan Prewett, For the Tribune
PINSON – Due to inclement weather last week, the Pinson City Council meeting intended for last Thursday was rescheduled to Feb. 21, where the subjects of Waste Management services were discussed, followed by public comments regarding a disabled resident.
The council agreed to spend $5,004 to send two school resource officers or SROs to an upcoming conference being held by TASSRO, an association for SROs. Councilman Robbie Roberts said that the conference will allow the attendants to learn the latest policies and techniques.
“Personally, we’re a little disappointed that the sheriff’s office, which used to do this, provide this training, apparently is unable to do this or unwilling,” Roberts said. “I’ll let the sheriff answer to that to do this at this time. But we think that this was important enough that this needs to be done.”
Mayor Joe Cochran said, “Well, nothing is more important than being prepared to protect our kids. And if you can go to this training and learn one thing that prevents a serious event, it’s worth every dime. And why they wouldn’t pay for it, I don’t know. Don’t care, because we will.”
Later in the meeting, Roberts addressed an issue brought up by residents in the past about the lack of garbage pickup and recycling by Waste Management. On Jan. 5, Waste Management representatives Mike Mitchell and Ken McLain spoke to the council, citing staff shortages as the reason.
Roberts said that he has noticed some improvement on the street that he lives on. He also mentioned that the citizens be refunded their money for the lack of service through credit.
“That credit has not yet shown up,” Roberts said. “I don’t know how that’s proceeding. I don’t know if they’re giving serious thought to that but I would encourage them to continue to go back on it.”
He said that he called a local number and that a “generous” amount has been given back. He suggested that those who did not receive service should call Waste Management about being refunded.
Afterwards, Councilwoman Glenda Kirkland brought up bingo parlors, saying that she has been receiving letters about them and encouraged others to reach out to her. She urged that action be taken but clarified that she was not against gambling but wanted it to be done legally.
“We’re not going to forget about it,” she said. “Trust me. We’re not. And we’re going to do something about it.”
Roberts added that bingo parlors have not been found in the city limits but that they are in the neighborhoods of unincorporated areas. He also said that the sheriff’s office has not taken action against them. Cochran said that he would invite Sheriff Mark Pettway to a meeting to address it.
During public comments, Dwayne Hyche asked who owns the PHCC or Palmerdale Homestead Community Center building, to which Cochran said that it was owned by the Jefferson County Board of Education and that the city has a lease on it.
Hyche said that he spoke with Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight and that he was told that the commission owns it. Cochran said that this was not so, that he had “bad information”. Hyche said that the reason he brought this up was to file a complaint about an incident regarding a resident named Luke, who has a disability.
He said that Luke has not been able to attend events at the PHCC because of past incidents where the police have been called to him and his escorts. Cochran said that he has addressed this and that Luke is welcome to any event there that is not private.
Afterwards James Hyche spoke on the same subject, stating that Luke is his son. He said that the PHCC is advertised as a public event space but that the signage on the building advertises private events that are invitation only. He claimed that Luke has tried to go to events that he said were public several times but has had sheriff’s deputies called to the building.
He pointed out Cochran’s recent disability as he needs assistance moving. Hyche urged him to “remedy” the reported situation with Luke and the PHCC. Cochran declined taking documentation that Hyche offered before his time was up.
“The mayor’s physical condition and all should never be used by anyone in the community regarding the actions that the public takes,” Roberts said.
Cochran explained that he has ALS, a condition that will eventually cause him to be wheelchair-bound and will need other assistance as the disease continues, saying “at the end of the day, no one is being turned away because of a disability.”
“You can wave that flag all you want,” he told Hyche. “That is not the case. And generally they’re being turned away because of your behavior, because you don’t know how to be decent around people.
Some words were exchanged between the two, with Cochrane insisting that it was the reported behavior of Luke’s escorts that caused the incidents and that all has been done to accommodate the disabled in the city.
In other business the council:
- Honored Pinson High School student Aniyah Griffin for winning a state girls wrestling tournament,
- Annexed a property on Joy Circle,
- Approved the purchase of radar signs for $8,790 for Main Street,
- Announced the Shred-a-thon dates as March 25, June 17, Oct. 21, all from 9 a.m. to noon, and
- Approved replacing the windows at City Hall for $1,380.
Pinson City Council meets on the first and third Thursdays of every month at City Hall on 4410 Main Street. Live-streamed meetings can be seen on the city’s Facebook page.
Nathan Prewett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.