CAMDEN By BRADY GILL
The Camden City Council heard from concerned residents about street repair, the from chiefs of the Camden Police Department and Camden Fire Department about an under-staffing problem, and renewed the operational budget for the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development at Tuesday’s meeting in the council chambers
Camden Police Department Chief Boyd Woody approached the aldermen to request a special workshop to restructure the police department’s budget, and said the issues about salary “came to a head.”
Currently, CPD officers make $12.99 an hour and Woody said that out of 16 area agencies surveyed south of Little Rock, CPD ranks 16th in pay.
Woody stated that he is unable to retain officers and is currently understaffed by four employees.
Earlier, Camden Fire Department Chief Robert Medford addressed the board and also said he was down four firefighters leading to an increase in overtime by the remaining firefighters.
Three persons approached the council with issues involving street repaving. Public Works Director Shamir Dorsey told one resident that the city was working on multiple jobs, but that the resident could leave his number with Moore and he would check into it.
Aldermen Joe Askew said that two residents of his zone who live on Willow Street had approached him and that, as taxpayers, they deserved services as well.
Mayoral Candidate Julian Lott approached the podium and invited everyone to a meet-and-greet event from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, at the Comfort Inn and Suites for residents to learn about his VOICE campaign.
Lott added that the last mayoral election included a lot of people that voted against what they didn’t want, and that this election is a chance to vote for something they do want.
Alderman Marvin Moore approached the podium and said he wanted to give the council a “head up” as to an extension of the old Boys and Girls Club building that currently houses the Plant a Seed foundation.
Moore then yielded the floor to Kimberly Moore, who said the program is 100 percent donation based, and that the air conditioning unit needs to be replaced in the gym.
“Y’all do a very good job,” Mayor Marie Trisollini stated and added that she occasionally visits the center and has seen a lot of good work was going on there.
Marcus Copeland of the South Arkansas Cultural Association addressed the alderman about Juneteenth and the allegation made by Trisollini about “misappropriation” of Advertising and Promotion Funds. He told the council that he wanted to get a true account out and told them that delegates stood before all of them and invited them to Juneteenth. He said the idea was never to give one candidate an advantage over the other, and that Juneteenth should not be pulled into politics.
Askew commended the organizers of Juneteenth and said that they did a very good job. He also said that as leaders, the council should take into consideration what they say on social media as it reflects on the council as a whole and on the city.
Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director James Lee Silliman and Subcommittee Chairman James Nixon approached the board about the future funding of OPED.
Silliman gave a brief overview of OPED progress with the Transmodel Park, the Arkansas Economic Development Council, and other activities. Nixon told the board that while OPED is not in danger of running out of money immediately, he would describe the group as one big economic incentive package away from being broke. He said the subcommittee was looking at various ways to restructure funding and that while OPED usually requests $200,000, this time they were merely seeking $100,000. The resolution passed unanimously.
Also passed was an ordinance addressing a lien on property located at 225 Hubert Street.
A resolution confirming the re-appointment of Lester Wade and Willie Cooper to the Planning Commission and a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with the Arkansas Department of Environmental services for care of the Class IV landfill was also passed.