Hickman officials receptive to school proposal for SRO

by Barbara Atwill

Fulton County Schools Superintendent Aaron Collins and Board Chairman Rob Garrigan attending the Hickman City Commission meeting July 8 to discuss the hiring of a School Resource Officer.

Commissioners James Adams, Robert Griggs, Judy Powell, Phillip Williams, and Mayor Heath Carlton were in attendance.

Supt. Collins, Garrigan, and School Board Attorney Allison Whitledge had previously met with Mayor Carlton about participating in a partnership with the school system regarding the hiring of a School Resource Officer (SRO).

“I believe Tony Grogan, Hickman Police Chief, worked with Mr. Collins to come up with qualifications and job description, performance responsibilities, basic functions. Basically, what we are trying to achieve tis o have an SRO present on campus at all times the school is open. Fulton County School System has set aside funds for the position completely,” said Carlton.

“Thank you again to the Commission for the great work you’re doing for the City and for Fulton County Schools. We appreciate the opportunity that you have allowed us to have Chief Grogan, from your department, on a regular basis. It makes sense with the schools being in the City to come to you to discuss the School Resource Officer,” stated Collins.

“Chief Grogan has all the information and has presented it to you. Continuing the partnership, the funding has been set aside for this position to begin the 2019-2020 school year. Through research done by Chief Grogan and myself, we found out, by Kentucky State Schools Executive Director Chris Barrier, the average salary for an SRO is $46,000. We took that and came up with $45,805. Understanding the rules for tax exempt status, we wrote the SRO Performance Responsibilities to qualify for exempt status. We also wrote it for the officer pay scale to be tax exempt status, have as college credit, and managing duties. We hope the Commission would consider this option and work with us to continue to build our relationship. Once you look at this, we will take it to our Board, and decide between our attorneys to do a memorandum of understanding, then present it to the Commission, and back over to the School Board,” Collins continued.

Mayor Carlton said, “On the terms of service, the 215 day contract, is for 205 dedicated to Fulton County Schools and SRO training, and the extra 10 days would be to help cover vacation time for the City’s Police Department in the summer.”

Chief Grogan said, “This is so the SRO doesn’t have to work Christmas and doesn’t interfere with other holidays. It would hurt recruiting if we didn’t do it this way.”

Carlton stated he had asked City Clerk Donna Haney to reach out to their insurance carrier to see how it would affect the City’s insurance policy as well as the partnership reviewed by the Kentucky League of Cities and she had indicated it appeared to be an option.

City Manager David Gallagher asked what time frame was being considered, and Supt. Collins said ideally by Aug. 13.

Collins said, “The School Board will pay the salary, workman’s comp. We have not discussed the difference in your liability insurance.”

Carlton stated, “We’re showing it will be an increase of $2,068 annually to take the officer on.”

“We figured about 28% over what the salary would be,” stated Collins.

Hickman City Attorney Leeanna Wilkerson said, “If we are going to go forward, I would like to see a proposal from Attorney Whitledge.”

Collins stated there is no proposal at this time. It would be just sitting down and discussing a memorandum of understanding.

It was further proposed, the selection committee, for hiring an SRO, will include three school personnel and two city personnel.

Commissioner Williams said, “It think this is great.”

“This is being proactive for the City and the School system. We are two years ahead of schedule,” stated Collins.

A cap for Business Licenses was discussed, as a cap was removed a couple of years ago.

Mayor Carlton stated, “The present license is not business friendly in my opinion when we lack business in town. We need to decide to continue without a cap on business licenses or institute a cap. I believe when the cap was removed, it was at $800 annually. The percentage rate was at 1.50%, and several businesses received a substantial increase with the cap being removed. I believe some type of cap should be reinstated.”

City Manager Gallagher said, “It is easier to put into play and easier to effectively operate when you have a cap and not have to do the calculations. It is not business friendly sometimes. You may want to adjust your cap and look at revenue, not going back on revenue, and matching your needs also.”

Commissioner Griggs said, “That is my only concern is the revenue. Can we afford to take a loss? We just raised utility rates. We are looking at other things that will cost the City money down the road. I would love to do it.”

The Commission decided to form a committee to prepare a proposal, after looking at the numbers.

Commissioners discussed the Paving Contract, which was allocated at $120,000. Union City Paving has paved some of the streets, billing $78,000 for work completed so far.

A balance of $42,00 remains and City Manager Gallagher said he will contact Union City Paving to conclude the paving that in the original bid.

The first reading of Ordinance 19-91 amending penalty on City Stickers was heard.

Following discussion, it was determined a new Ordinance will be compiled, with college students not required to purchase a City Sticker if they show proof of a campus parking pass.

Jermey Mathews came before the Commission with a request, “We need to put in black and white, where the City and homeowners know where the line is to the main.”

Commissioners agreed to look at the Ordinance and review it.

David Earl Jones appeared before the Commission to ask what could be done about dogs.

“My neighbor has 13 dogs and five cats in their house. My granddaughter doesn’t go outside because of the dogs,” said Jones.

Commissioner Adams said, “We’re working on it.”

Chief Grogan said, “I was at the home Saturday and Sunday. There are four dogs outside, and they have the basic needs, and a momma dog and her four puppies can leave. I received a report one allegedly chased a child, with no bites, nips or scratches.”

In the City Manager’s report, Gallagher updated the officials regarding:

Animal Control, stating he had been talking with the County and city of Fulton to get ideas about the shelter. He said there is some funding, for a limited service through the police, to call someone designated to pick up the dogs.

In regard to the gas meter installation, Gallagher stated the hole will be dug Friday and the reading meter installed next week.

“The State was down and I asked is it safe to run school bus on? They said you can mill and pave it. It may hold for a week or 10 years, they don’t know. There is some scouring at the base and this will need to be addressed. The state is sending numbers of what they can do to curb the water to a holding place,” the City Manager reported, as to the condition of Terrace Street.

Also, to the Carroll Street retaining wall, Gallagher reported the State is doing something in the ditch, so water will flow.

He also reported the State will x-ray to see what is there.

Hickman resident David Thomas asked, “What is being done about the overgrown property?”

Carlton responded that, “Some areas have been cited. The next meeting for the Vacant Review Commission will be Aug. 19.”

The Commissioners went into Executive Session pursuant to KRS 61-810(1)(f) at 8:53 p.m. They reconvened at 9:19 p.m. with no votes and no action taken.