Williston approves matching grant to buy two police cars

The Williston Town Council approved an allocation as the town’s part of a matching grant to purchase two police cars and a utility vehicle.

The USDA grant pays for 55 percent of the cost up to $50,000 with the town matching 45 percent.

“We estimate the total cost will be about $88,000 meaning the grant will fund $48,400 and we would have to fund the remaining $39,600,” said Town Administrator Kenny Cook in a memo to council members.

He suggested that $22,000 from the Utilities Fund and $17,600 from the General Fund.

Cook said the town had originally applied for the grant to purchase a backhoe but the funding did not come through in a timely manner.

“We recently found out that the funding was available again,” said Cook, “so we needed to change our request from a backhoe to police vehicles and a utility vehicle.”

Cook said the police vehicles were “badly needed” and repairs on older vehicles were costly.

The vote was unanimous to approve the funding.

Rezoning

The council passed first reading of an ordinance to rezone property located on Springfield Road and Elko Street from Neighborhood Commercial to Highway Commercial.

A public hearing just prior to the vote resulted in no comments from those attending the meeting.

Foy Dyches had requested the change to allow a pet crematory. Administrator Cook said the planning commission had approved the request pending approval by the council.

Brett Williams recused himself from the discussion and vote due to a conflict of interest.

The vote was 4-1 to approve. Second reading will be held at the December meeting.

Cook explained that Neighborhood Commercial is primarily for salons or small neighborhood groceries while Highway Commercial allows a greater variety of businesses.

Insurance

Cook reported that the town’s insurance would be going up but not as much as he had feared.

“I learned at an insurance meeting that the company was going up 5 percent on all governments” but, because of procedures already taken by Williston, their rate was only going up 4 percent.

“This is a testament to the staff working on safety issues,” said Cook.

He said it would be going up $2,600 from last year.

In other business the council:

• Approved the 2018 holiday schedule which includes New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after.

• Designated Nov. 28 as a Day of Giving upon the request of Lisa Firmender of Generations Ultd.

• Was reminded that the town’s Tree Lighting is Dec. 2 and the Christmas Parade is Dec. 3. The Citizen of the Year will be named at the Tree Lighting ceremony.

• Was invited to the Williston Fire Department Christmas party on Dec. 8 and employee Christmas Party on Dec. 15.

• The town’s offices will be closed the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week.