The Piedmont Police Department will soon get three new patrol cars, while emergency dispatchers will see a pay raise, both of which were approved by the Piedmont City Council on Tuesday.
City officials agreed to purchase three slightly used Dodge Chargers, equipped with lights and sirens, for a total of $43,500. The price tag for the three cars, which each have less than 50,000 miles, is considerably less than the $74,000 that had previously been set aside to purchase two brand new cars.
According to Chief Freddie Norton, most of the department’s current patrol cars are over 11 years old and several are in need of replacing.
Emergency dispatchers are slated to receive a raise of $1 per hour, following a motion by Council Member Terry Kiser. Most Piedmont dispatchers currently earn between $10 and $10.60 an hour.
City officials hope that the raise will increase employee retention, which has at times been an issue across the city’s departments due to wages lower than those of surrounding communities.
The salary increase will be paid from the $11,000 per year that the Piedmont Rescue Squad and EMS receives as a result of adding the city of Ohatchee to their coverage area over two years ago.
At that time, the rescue squad offered these new funds to the city of Piedmont for the purpose of giving a raise to the city’s dispatchers.
When the money was accepted, the council agreed that raise was needed in light of the increased call volume from adding Ohatchee. However, the money was then placed in the city’s general fund, due to some legal questions, according to city leaders at the time.
Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $666,160.75.
During the work session prior to the meeting, city officials heard a proposal from Cheaha Regional Head Start to lease the Bethune Community Center to house its Piedmont operations, which has recently closed due to the age of its current modular buildings.
According to Head Start representatives, the federally funded nonprofit could invest over $100,000 worth of improvements to the building in order to provide quality early childhood and pre-kindergarten services to the children of Piedmont.
Under the proposal, Head Start would pay rent of $1 per year, while also paying for all utilities and maintenance costs.
City officials are expected to vote on the proposal at the next meeting of the Piedmont City Council, scheduled for Tuesday, July 3rd, following the work session, which is set for 5:30pm.