The impending budget loomed over the Leadington Board of Aldermen meeting March 11.
No budget has been approved yet, but the aldermen did hope to meet again soon.
“We’re done with it,” Alderman Joe Davis said. “We’ve got to figure out, it’s in the ballpark of around $44-46,000 we’ve got to save across the board.”
The police and fire department both brought proposals and numbers before the alderman for new gear. The alderman said they would take these requests into account when working on the new budget.
Officer Matthew Misuraca modeled the new uniform that Police Chief Erik Powers is requesting. The sample gear was provided free of charge from Blauer.
“When we make contact with somebody your appearance, first off, is everything,” Misuraca said. “So if you walk up to somebody and you address them and you look like crap, they’re going to think you’re not the best officer. And if they’re going to try something, they might think, ‘I might have a hand over them because they don’t look good.’ So even something that’s simple to someone else is something major to us because it can make the difference of having someone cooperate and someone not."
The cost for the new uniforms would be about $290 for each officer, including a vest carrier and three shirts and three pairs of pants. This would not include the cost of boots.
Powers said the new uniforms would look more professional, showing how his old pants had faded with washing, while his shirt from Blauer had resisted fading.
During his update, Powers also asked the board for money to renew several subscriptions, the most expensive being the software system that the officers use to write reports and citations and that allows the prosecutor to go over them. Omnigo will cost the city $9,364, up $3,500 from last year with the addition of the e-ticket system for citations that uploads them into the Show-Me Courts system.
“It’s one of those necessary expenses,” city attorney Mark Bishop said.
Although they will stick Omnigo this year, the aldermen asked Powers to look into the price of similar software for next year.
Powers also asked for $300 to reenroll in the Mineral Area Drug Task Force through the Missouri State Highway Patrol and $150 per officer to continue with the MAC Law Enforcement Continuing Education program.
He also talked about applying to the Mineral Area Major Case Squad, which would allow a representative from the department to help with major cases like murders in the area, providing invaluable experience for the officer.
“Also, if we have something like that, they have what we don’t to investigate,” Powers said.
There is no cost to join the squad, except for paying for meals for members, if the squad is activated in Leadington.
“If it’s free and they get some experience in something,” Davis said, “then I don’t have a problem with it.”
During his update of the stats from February, Powers said that traffic stops had gone up 20 to 104 and the drug arrests went down by 4 to 4 total. Fuel consumption also went down.
In the fire department update, Captain Tommy Hill brought before the board several bids for new turnout gear.
Hill recommended the board go with Banner Fire Equipment, the lowest bid.
“Is that going to put you guys at risk on anything,” Davis said. “I know it’s maybe not the fanciest gear, but is that going to put any of our guys at risk?”
“No, no,” Hill answered.
Hill stressed how the representative from Banner met with the department multiple times to work to get things right and that he uses the equipment as a firefighter in Arnold.
Hill is asking for five sets of the new gear, which will go to the top five call runners. Those top five will then give their newer gear to other guys down the line. There are currently 13 firefighters.
Each new outfit would cost $2,783 from Banner, plus the cost of shields for the new helmets. The department is applying for a FEMA grant that would cover the cost of new gear, Hill said, but even if received, can’t be counted on anytime soon.
The total cost would be about $14,190 for everything. Hill presented a five-year financing option for the gear, but the aldermen said it would best to avoid it if possible.
“We’ve got a budget meeting coming up,” Alderman Gary McKinney said. “And we’re going to see where we can find it.”
In other business, the board approved $13,898 for a renewal of its workers’ compensation policy through Missouri Rural Service.
They also approved up to $500 for the street department to buy a shop vacuum, pressure washer and a welding helmet.
Nikki Overfelt is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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