By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
City Commission is in the market for a new parks, recreation and animal control
commissioner, and Mayor Anthony Emanuel encourages prospective candidates to
come to City Hall and apply within.
“If you know
anyone’s who’s interested in getting involved in the city commission, this is
the time to do it,” said the mayor at Monday night’s regular January
The slot on the
commission was left empty last week when two-term incumbent Chuck Cannon made a
dramatic exeunt from Trenton civic life and indeed from Trenton, announcing his
decision to move out of state following his divorce and a well-publicized
encounter with the justice system.
commission will appoint a replacement to serve out the unexpired term of
Cannon, who was up for reelection in November in any case. Emanuel said he’d already spoken with four
interested applicants but would be happy to speak with more. “There’s no limit on how many can hold up
their hand and say, consider me,” he said.
commissioners will make their choice with a vote next month, said the mayor.
Speaking of the
off-year elections in November, another order of business on Monday was to set
qualifying fees for the three city positions up for grabs this year. Besides Cannon’s slot, Trenton must also hold
elections for police commissioner and city clerk.
voted to keep the qualifying fees at 3 percent of salary, which translates to
$108 for the two commission seats, which carry a part-time salary of $3600 a
year; and $1122.36 for the full-time clerk’s position, which has a base pay of
$37,000 per annum.
commission seat has been held on and off by Sandra Gray since 1994 – she sat
out one term but was appointed to fill the unexpired term of her successor in
2005, then successfully ran again – and Lucretia Houts has been city clerk
since 1990. Ms. Houts told the Sentinel
she has already decided to seek another term.
Ms. Gray made no announcement Monday night.
For more information
on any of these positions, readers may call City Hall at (706) 657-4167.
commission had a fairly short agenda this month. Mayor Emanuel took attendees through the
usual monthly tour of Trenton’s finances.
As he predicted last month, the city finished 2012 slightly over budget,
missing Emanuel’s goal of ending the year at breakeven, but he pointed out that
this was an improvement over previous years.
“Sometimes to look at where you are, you have to look at where you’ve
been,” said the mayor. “I’ll take
$87,000 in the hole vs. $300,000 in the red any day.”
the commission had done a good job of belt-tightening in 2012, specifically in
the personnel area, and hinted more staff cuts could be expected in the
future. “We are taking a very aggressive
approach to our budget,” he said. “We do
recognize that 85 percent of our budget is our employees.”
Also on the
subject of matters pecuniary, the mayor invited representatives of the Dade
County Public Library to submit numbers to the commission representing levels
of support it receives from its other funding sources so that the city could
set its own budget amount for the library.
has historically been funded through the city, county and board of education, with
state assistance dependant on local maintenance of support, but the board of
education abruptly pulled all support last year amid some controversy.
Emanuel’s predecessor as mayor was poised for a similar ducking out from under
as it set its 2011 budget but relented at the last minute, if only
conditionally, amid some public outcry.
comments on Monday seemed more library-friendly. “The library is the light in the darkness,
and we will find some way to support it,” he said. “We purposefully withheld funds from the
library not for any reason except we were trying to get to zero as quick as we
Now, he said,
he was guardedly optimistic about the 2013 numbers. He said the commission would review the
library’s situation and announce what the city could do to fund it next month.
Marshana Sharp was home sick, but Melanie Parrish spoke up for the library
during the civic organizations part of the meeting. She said library usage continued to climb.
library board member Donna Street also spoke for the library, inviting the
public to next Tuesday’s seminars on how to use library resources. “There are all sorts of things that the
public doesn’t realize they’re paying for with their state tax dollars,” she
will be held throughout the day Tuesday.
The library may be reached at (706) 657-7857 for more information.
spoke for the Trenton Arts Council. She
said TAC’s latest ArtScapes public art installation, a sculpture by Jerry
Wallace on Highway 11 North, had brought the town a lot of publicity. “People are fascinated with the textures and
with the objects embedded in the stone” she said.
another ArtScape sculpture was targeted for March 1. Also, said Ms. Sams, TAC hopes to open an art
show in the Trenton Civic Center around the beginning of May.
appearances, one citizen stood up to complain that a damaged gas station sign
at the Trenton interstate exit “stuck out like a sore thumb” and should be repaired.
City Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12, and Mayor Emanuel
reiterated the commission’s new schedule:
Instead of starting its informal work session at 6 p.m. and recessing
until the public business meeting at 7 p.m., commissioners will now begin the
business session as soon as they have finished the work session – usually
around 6:30 p.m., the mayor predicted.