Palmetto residents want more cops

Mon, 06/11/2007 - 8:42am
By: Ben Nelms

Palmetto City Council heard a host of citizen’s concerns during the public comments portion of the June 4 meeting. Those concerns outlasted the remainder of the agenda and centered on trash pick-up and the continually expressed need for city-sponsored recreation and increased police officers.

Developing over the past several months, one or more residents at every council meeting have expressed concerns over crime issues, especially burglary, and the need for additional police officers to be included in next year’s budget. Several residents in recent months have told council members that they would be willing to see a city tax hike if those funds would go toward putting more officers on city streets. One resident June 4 said, “I’ve been here for a year and a half and I’m terrified.” She referenced burglaries in her neighborhood, saying that a way must be found to “keep these children out of our homes.”

Burglaries continue to increase, not only in Palmetto, but across south Fulton and adjacent counties. Many of those apprehended in home and business break-ins are juveniles.

Also during the public comments portion of the meeting were continued requests for some form of city-sponsored recreation program. Mayor Clark Boddie told residents the city had included funding for a recreation director in the current budget and would include it again in the upcoming budget, if approved by the council. Currently, that position remains vacant. Residents also presented several options for a city-owned and city-run recreation facility. Boddie said the city was working to resolve the problem, including the possibility of using the gym at Palmetto Elementary School. Residents both in the meeting and afterward outside were receptive but unconvinced that a substantial move toward resolving the concern would be forthcoming.

A third issue that surfaced during public comments revolved around the change in trash pick-up beginning in July. Though serviced for years by Waste Management, the city will convert to 95-gallon receptacles supplied by the company beginning in July, along with a $2 increase and a Tuesday only pick-up. The large containers should in most cases accommodate a week’s worth of trash and prevent animals from tearing bags open and littering the area, Boddie said. Residents were mixed in their response, with some saying that trash pick-up crews were partly responsible for trash in yards and on streets due to sloppy work habits.

The rate increase is the first for Palmetto in seven years. Pick-up rates were $12.75 in 1996, increasing to $13.50 in 2000 and will go to $15.50 this year. The new rate also includes the 95-gallon container.

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