The Cumberland City Council approved a resolution that should result in funds going to both the water and police departments during a meeting on Tuesday.
Mayor Carolyn Elliott brought the subject up to the panel, explaining the city has available funds from the Department of Local Government that need to be utilized or they will be lost.
“We do have some funds…this money is sitting down there and they told me we need to spend it before June 2016,” Elliott explained. “I need permission from you all, if you agree to sign any forms.”
Elliott said she was asking for an amendment on how the money could be spent.
“I asked for an amendment because this is where we desperately need the money,” Elliott said. “We need the money in the wastewater and in the water plant.”
A council member asked what the funds were originally marked for. Elliott told the panel the money was originally intended for window and roof repair at the police department.
“The roof is already done,” Elliott said. “But, you’ve got to look at your priorities…we’ve had water problems, we’ve had massive sewer problems.”
Council member David Dixon asked about the police department building.
“What about that building if it were to fall down or the excessive money we’re paying in electricity bills because those windows are out?” said Dixon.
Council member Yvonne Gilliam pointed out a large percentage of the city’s funds are dedicated to the water and sewer departments.
Elliott said the water plant is in need of repair, including a new flocculator.
“I know the police department needs repairs done,” said Elliott. “But…our water supply is more important than a building.”
Council member Charles Raleigh stated he would rather the funds be used for the police department.
“I think we should leave that money where it’s at…for the police department,” said Raleigh. “That’s what it’s designated for. We always change it. Once before, it happened to them the same way. We had grant money for squad cars that ended up buying two city service vehicles, now were having to get grants through the Frazier Foundation to get new squad cars.”
Elliott mentioned the funds, which total $30,000, would not be sufficient to repair the building, but would repair the water system issues.
Raleigh said he wanted to see estimate on the cost of the water system repairs.
Dixon made a motion to table the issue until the council was provided with more information.
“How much more do you need?” asked Elliott. “I can get you quotes after. To me, the water system is the most important thing in this city. It brings in the most income; it provides the citizens with safe drinking water. This is available money that’s been laying there that nobody knew anything about that we were going to lose.”
After some discussion, Raleigh made a motion to amend the resolution to split the $30,000 between the police and water department, with $15,000 going to each. The motion passed with one opposing vote.
In other council activity:
• The council approved the minutes for the Sept. 3, Sept. 8, Oct. 7, Oct. 13, Nov. 10 and Nov.23 council meetings;
• The council approved financial reports for the months of April, May, June, July, August, September and October;
• The second reading of an ordinance to consolidate the sewer system with Lynch and Benham was approved.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde