Hot Topics Discussed at City Council, Some Go Unresolved

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By Ashley Thompson

There were several issues on Tuesday night's city council agenda that have people talking. Everything from crime and healthcare to new development was discussed.

City Councilmen actually met twice before the council meeting to discuss hot topics. Some issues were resolved while others are still being debated.

Councilman John Dow says police are needed in the parking lots of Montgomery's nightclubs and bars. He says he believes police presence could stop some of the violence at these venues and says it would provide off-duty officers with the opportunity to make extra money.

"If all it takes is a person just sitting in a car or to be visible, to help reduce crime, then that's a small investment that they city can make."

But both Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Police Chief Kevin Murphy say they don't want police in nightclub parking lots, saying the answer is to better train security guards.

"For a very thing that we are tasked with enforcing and providing oversight, we're working for them and I see a huge conflict of interest there," Murphy says.

Things got heated in a special called meeting to hear arguments for and against allowing a new ambulance service to operate in montgomery. Excelsior Ambulance is trying to service residents but representatives from both Haynes and Care Ambulance say another ambulance company would hurt their business.

"We saw it back in the 90s," says Care Ambulance Regional Vice President Dennis Poole. "We had three, we watched the third one fall back then."

At the last minute, an agreement amongst all parties was reach. Excelsior would service only the VA hospital, while Haynes and Care would take 911 calls.

"It's nice we can come to an agreement where everybody benefits and where all the issues have been put under the table and we're now working together as partners," says James Graham of Excelsior Ambulance.

Council approved four ordinances that allows for the sale and purchase of several buildings on Dexter Avenue.

"Two of them are across the street from the Irish Bred Pub and then the Crest building which is across the street from the development that was announced last week," says Director of Development Mac McLeod.  

 

 

McLeod says when sold, the buildings on Dexter Avenue will be made into retail space and possibly apartments or lofts.