Vincent nixes decoration repairs

Fred Guarino/Reporter Staff Writer

The Vincent Town Council will not spend as much as $260 each to repair the 12 remaining 35- to 40-year-old Christmas bell decorations the town still owns.

On a motion by Councilmember Paul Sumners with a second from Councilmember Robert Kidd, the council voted unanimously on Aug. 6 not to repair the lighted, molded fiberglass Christmas bell decorations.

However, in the same motion, the council agreed to keep the decorations rather than sell or give them away.

Mayor Joe Thompson asked the council to decide whether to repair the old decorations, which he said were cracked and would not stay attached to utility poles. While he said the estimated cost of repair was $260 each, he also said they could cost less than $200 each to fix.

&uot;I think the council should decide,&uot; said Thompson.

Councilmember Rex Smiley said that last year, &uot;People wanted to know where they were.&uot;

Smiley said if repairing the bells was what the majority of people wanted to spend money on, that’s what it should be spent on. He said the bells cost about $75 each some 40 years ago.

Councilmember Paul Sumners said the council was talking about spending money for decorations that could potentially be destroyed by wind.

Paul Layton, head of the street and maintenance department, said the bells have to be suspended so low over the street that passing trucks have knocked two of them off poles in the past.

Layton said he sent two of the best old bells (decorations) for the repair estimate.

When Mayor Thompson said, &uot;Some people get attached to bells,&uot; Sumners responded, &uot;I get attached to money, too.&uot;

The council also unanimously voted to authorize Mayor Thompson to evaluate a proposed contract with Nextel to supply town hall, the fire department, the rescue department, the police department, the street department and the water department with a total of 18 cellular phones.

After checking into the contract prices, Town Clerk Mary Reynolds said later that Thompson authorized the proposed contract with one activation fee at a cost of about $44 per phone per month.

The need for various departments to be able to contact each other directly by cell phone was emphasized by Police Chief James Srygley and Rescue Squad Chief David Smiley.

The rescue chief said at present the fire department and the rescue department have two phones each at a cost of more than $54 per phone per month.

The motion to authorize the mayor to evaluate the proposition was made by Smiley with a second by Kidd.

The council voted unanimously, as well, to purchase a sweeper for grass clippings at a cost of $2,049 from Humpries Farm Turf Supply Inc. in Inverness. That motion was made by Smiley with a second from Sumners.

In other matters, the council:

Unanimously voted to allow C&D Engineering Company to seek a grant for sidewalks for the town which could connect the fire department to the school and the park. The motion for that action was made by Mark Brown with a second from Vivian Denty.

Took no action on a new personnel policy, opting to seek more information about cost.

Unanimously approved the payment of bills (including a $160 ad in the high school annual and authorization of expenses for the K-9 unit) and the minutes of the last regular meeting. Both motions were made by Smiley with a second from Kidd.

All council members and Reynolds were present for the meeting. The next Vincent Council meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m