Pelham likely funding safety upgrades to City Hall

Pelham is considering funding safety upgrades at City Hall during the upcoming budget year. (File)

Pelham is considering funding safety upgrades at City Hall during the upcoming budget year. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham employees and visitors in City Hall soon may have an extra layer of protection if the City Council agrees to fund upgrades to the building’s entrance in the 2014 budget year.

During an about four-hour work session on Oct. 15, City Council members met with Pelham department heads to discuss possible funding for capital improvement projects for the upcoming budget year.

While speaking with Finance Manager Tom Seale about the city’s proposed administrative budget, council members said they tentatively have included about $39,000 to fund the safety upgrades.

If approved, the funding would “harden” the main entrance to City Hall by adding a small lobby surrounded by bulletproof windows and walls. A city employee would be able to see anyone who walks in the front door, and would be able to buzz them into the main part of the building.

The work session came a few weeks after Seale originally presented the City Hall security proposal to council members. Seale and Pelham Mayor Gary Waters originally suggested moving some city offices from the lower level of City Hall into the current City Council chambers on the upper floor of the building.

If the city offices moved into the current council chamber, the council would have moved its meetings into the city’s courtroom in the Pelham Police Department.

On Oct. 16, Seale said the funding proposed for the 2014 budget does not include modifying the council chambers or permanently moving council meetings to another venue.

Waters previously said he was concerned about safety at City Hall, as there currently are no security measures at the building’s main entrance. Waters said two people have “wished violence” on City Hall over the past several months.

City Council President Rick Hayes said the council will continue to review the proposed budget numbers before voting on the matter during an upcoming meeting. The council’s next two meetings are scheduled for Oct. 21 and Nov. 4.