Montevallo invests to expand surveillance cameras to Main Street

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The city of Montevallo voted to invest in an expansion of the city’s surveillance cameras during a regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday, May 13.

The expansion bid, which is expected to cost the city a total of $16,146.79, has been a topic of discussion among members of the Montevallo City Council for years and will see a sizable expansion in the city’s surveillance and security capabilities.

“This will pretty much give us surveillance cameras all the way down Main Street,” Montevallo Mayor Rusty Nix said. “This is something that we have been looking at for years and years and I think that the $16,000 will be well worth the money spent on surveillance so that we can (keep the city) secured.”

According to Steve Gilbert, Montevallo’s city clerk and treasurer, the surveillance system will see the new cameras extend street coverage from city hall to the fire station, ensuring a comprehensive coverage of the major areas of Main Street. Notably, CMIT Solutions’ bid for the project was the only such bid procured by the city for the project.

That decision came as the result of Montevallo’s already existing ties with CMIT Solutions who have supplied the city with surveillance and security cameras in the past.

“We went with them to keep everything consistent—so that we have the same type of cameras and the same type of recording equipment everywhere,” Gilbert said.

The concern of maintaining a simple and unified IT front and having simplified technology maintenance access across all cameras were among the reasons also cited by members of the Council as to why the city had elected to only secure a quote from CMIT Solutions for the project.

The Council also highlighted a recent agreement with the University of Montevallo, relating to the security cameras, that will allow the city to utilize recent internet infrastructure upgrades the University of Montevallo has made on Main Street that will ensure constant connectivity within the camera network.

“They just recently upgraded all of the Wi-Fi along Main Street, (I know that) some people may have seen them working out there along the light poles—that’s what they have been doing,” Gilbert said. “The university is going to allow us to piggy-back off of that connectivity to get the signals back so that we can monitor and record better. It is a good collaborative effort.”

Following the unanimous approval of the camera project, the city also passed the appointment of Robert L. Herron to the city’s ValloCycle Board, granting him a five-year term that is set to expire on May 13, 2029.

Created in 2011, the ValloCycle program, is credited as the first city-wide bike share program within the state of Alabama. The program was first developed to promote a healthier lifestyle as well as a cleaner environment through the utilization of bicycles as an alternative form of transportation.

Lastly, the city also approved its application for the Community Oriented Policing Services grant from the United States Department of Justice in the amount of $125,000. With that total amount to be separated out of over a three-year period, the grant is intended to help in the city’s hiring of a third school resource officer. Upon the hiring of a third SRO, the city would then be able to station an SRO within all of Montevallo’s schools with no daily lapse in coverage.

This latest regularly scheduled meeting came one week after a previously held special session of the Montevallo City Council on Tuesday, May 7, that saw the passage of a resolution authorizing the application for a community development block grant in the amount of $100,558 with matching funds in the amount of $10,055.80 to be derived from the Montevallo Development Cooperative District’s unallocated funds.

If received, that grant will go toward the city’s efforts of remodeling and revitalizing the James D. Seaman Scout Lodge which has served the community’s scouting programs for decades while also serving as a communal meeting space since its construction in 1995. The planned project will also seek to add an after-school activity area to the facility that will become available to the youth of Montevallo.