Hillsboro's City Council voted 3-0 (Public Properties Commissioner Daniel Robbins was absent) to indicate a willingness to participate with Montgomery County and other first responder agencies in a computer-assisted dispatch record-keeping system. Police Chief Randy Leethan and County Sheriff Rick Robbins presented information about the new system, which Public Safety Commissioner Mike Murphy called, "A modern program for modern-day law enforcement."
Both presenters touted the improvements of the new system, to be purchased from a company now owned by Motorola, which will bring to the agencies under its umbrella GPS location of and maps to incidents, location of responding units in real time, and efficiency in paperwork and prisoner transfer. If the new program can be implemented as projected, it will be the first time all first responders in the county can coordinate with each other.
For the process to go forward, a willingness to cooperate by the Hillsboro Council was needed. No funding will be required with this budget year, and all users, will share the costs. An estimate of Hillsboro's share is $21,604 for the first year, but that payment was not part of the motion to proceed.
Among purchases approved were a Noregon Computer System (a diagnostic computer) to be used in the Street Department's garage for $3,489.99; nine carbines for police officers, complete with straps and scopes, for an amount not to exceed $10,500 (the current rifles in use are not duplicates of each other, and most are over 20 years old, with many rounds fired on the shooting range); and a sub-site utility locating system for the Street Department. The latter is a machine used to locate underground water and sewer mains in response to JULIE calls. The two now in use, according to Street Superintendent Justin Chappelear, are so old as to be obsolete. Repair parts are no longer available. The projected cost of the new detector is $4,240.50.
Introduced for discussion, but not voted upon, was an ordinance that would alter commissioner duties. One person would be in charge of public safety; another in charge of finances, as the current ordinance outlines. The other commissioner duties would be changed, as water and sewer concerns would be a third commissioner's duty, with whoever is in charge of public properties also to be in charge of streets. A vote on the ordinance change is anticipated at the last council meeting in March.
Also postponed to allow more time to examine options was consideration of a lease agreement for the in-car computers currently in squad cars. Chief Leetham said the city leased the current equipment in 2014; the thought now is it would be more frugal to buy rather than lease. The state bid is $29,336.
Rodney Stewart was present to ask permission to hold two car shows downtown. The earliest is a cruise-in at the Opera House on Saturday, May 18, intended as a preview of the Old Settlers car show on Saturday, Aug. 4. The council consented unanimously to both.
Six young people recommended by the Hillsboro Sports Association were hired to work in the concession stand at the Sports Complex this summer. The high school baseball season begins in mid-March. Those hired are Tristin Loskot, Kyla Kuhl, Mercedes Kuhl, Toriana Jeffers, Tressie Clinard and Abbi Schaake.
As the meeting began, Mayor Brian Sullivan gave Robbins' submitted report about activities in the Public Properties Department. Work progresses at both Central Park and Sherwood Forest campgrounds. The shower room there has had epoxy paint applied.
Safety Commissioner Murphy thanked the mayor for flying firefighters to Buffalo, NY, to inspect a fire truck that was for sale. It was purchased by the city and is now housed here with preparations ongoing for its use.
Commissioner Don Downs said the freeze and thaw weather is taking its toll on water pipes. He asked for the city to review the ordinance about who is responsible for water breaks between the water main and a residence or business. At times, emergency repairs need to be made, but the owner isn't available to respond. Downs feels clarification is needed–should the city do the repairs and bill the owner?
He congratulated Street Superintendent Joe Boston for his retirement (effective Friday, March 1). He also congratulated the high school girls basketball team for their fourth place finish in the state tournament.
Mayor Sullivan thanked county resident Clarence Smith for his help with the EPA cleanup efforts at the Eagle Zinc Superfund site. Although Smith retired in December, work continued at the site.
The council next meets on Tuesday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. in city hall.