Hamburg City Council last week discussed security issues and the location of the new dog pound as well as heard an update on police vehicle purchases and about the city’s acquisition of hardwood. The group adopted an ordinance allowing business between the city and a council member, condemned properties, and approved a fingerprinting fee for the police department.

Mayor David Streeter said after the city council meeting Monday, Oct. 25 that gates surrounding the city’s settlement ponds where the new city pound is being constructed will provide a higher level of security than before. 

Streeter said there had been some instances of people going onto the property for various reasons such as shooting off their firearms and loitering. Streeter said there had even been a few instances where people had fallen into the ponds while trespassing on the property. 

In order to prevent any injuries to the public or any liability issues, the location has to be secured, he said. The most effective way to ensure the gates are being locked is to take human error out of the equation and invest in technology that locks and lifts gates based on electronic access fobs. The city likewise has invested in similar gates for the city yard.

On the pond property, the dog pound is being built according to schedule. The concrete slab was just poured in the chosen location by the ponds. The location keeps the noise and the smells associated with the pound away from the public as much as possible. 

In June the city council had arranged for the acquisition of two new police vehicles, but because of the difficulty in obtaining vehicles because of recent supply chain issues, they just received them. 

The result is that every police officer on duty has a vehicle with fewer than 30,000 miles on the odometer. It was noted that vehicles with less wear and tear are safer and more reliable, ensuring officers have the ability to make it to all the calls to which they are dispatched. 

The city is acquiring ownership of and planning to sell between 50,000 to 100,000 square feet of hardwood being stored by the city at the old Hamburg Shirt Factory. The cost of storing the wood has exceeded the value of the wood so the owner and the city came to an agreement regarding its fate.  

City Attorney Paul Keith said the city did not have to engage in competitive bidding because the price was less than $20,000 per unit. 

Streeter said that he would like the public to have a chance at the hardwood as well, because while some of it had become damaged, there was a good portion that is still in good condition, still wrapped in plastic.

The council adopted an ordinance that permits alderman Drew Foote to have an interest in a contract with the city. Foote stepped outside for the vote, which passed. 

That ordinance states that the city can spend up to $2,000 per month on supplies and needed materials from Jade’s, with the unused portion able to be carried over and the total yearly amount not to exceed $10,000. The contract cannot cause interruptions or delays in operation of the city or its business, as this would cause the city to incur additional costs or expenses and thus not be a fruitful arrangement.

The council voted to condemn several properties. 

Streeter said that he and Chief of Police Johnny Oliver are in discussions about the fingerprint machine the police department owns. 

The machine is used for LiveScan fingerprints, which are now required for many jobs and careers such as nursing and teaching positions, and home health care workers. Oliver said that the department gets those workers who are directed to get their LiveScan fingerprints sent to them because theirs is the only one close by, and that approximately 40 to 50 individuals have been through the department since they started printing that way. 

The department had not been charging anyone for the prints, but Oliver wanted to inquire about a nominal charge for those they are not under contract to print. The fees collected would offset the cost of running the machine and its maintenance. 

The sheriff’s office only takes criminal fingerprints, and at the time of the meeting, Oliver said Crossett was sending workers who needed fingerprints to Hamburg because their fingerprint machine was down. The council approved the fee of $25 per person per set of fingerprints.