City Administrator Rick Childers is continuing to work toward getting security cameras installed in the gymnasium located in city hall and said that visual demonstrations from companies that specialize in that line of work could be scheduled for the June 4 board of aldermen meeting.
During both May board meetings, Childers updated aldermen on the issue.
On May 7, Childers discussed three proposals he had received from various vendors and then was instructed to bring back more information, including specific costs and services and visual demonstrations, at a future meeting.
On May 21, the city administrator said he had contacted the firms that submitted the two lowest bids and is hopeful that representatives can attend the first meeting in June to provide information as well as a demonstration on how their system would work.
The city deemed some kind of security system is needed in the gym after human feces was found on the floor there in early February. The mess was found at the end of a workday by a city employee when the facility was checked and doors scheduled to be locked.
At that time, board members told Childers to look into providing some kind of video surveillance system.
“As we’ve discussed at a past meeting, one of our hopes is not to have an unpleasant situation like this again in our gym,” Childers said during the first May meeting. “I went to a number of camera vendors and asked them to specify what kind of system would be appropriate for us.”
The city administrator said three companies provided information to him — Alarm Security, Eye Spy Electronics & More LLC and Beisher Lock & Security. Prices varied from about $1,000 to $4,500 for equipment and installation. The cheapest option, from Alarm Security, did not include a $20 monthly video data plan.
“This is an unbudgeted item,” Childers told the aldermen. “I’m coming to you now to know how to proceed.”
“Let’s do this right,” Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate said. “Let’s make sure we get a system that’s good enough so we can identify (anyone who causes a problem).”
Tate then went on to say that he thinks it would be best if a demonstration was given during a future meeting.
“I’d like to see what things look like and how it works,” he said.
Ward 2 Alderman Travis Dierker suggested the businesses that provided the two lowest bids — Alarm Security and Eye Spy — provide demonstrations and be on hand to answer any questions.
“I think that would be appropriate,” Childers said.
He contacted those two firms and tried to get representatives to attend the May 21 meeting, but couldn’t. So, his next option, he said, is to shoot for June 4.
A man who wished to remain anonymous told the aldermen during the first May meeting that he may be able to get some security cameras for the city free of charge. He was told to bring back more specific information.
That man did not attend the May 21 meeting, but Childers said then that the man is “moving forward” with possibly helping the city with the project.
Before the February incident, the city gymnasium was open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday though Friday. After the human waste was discovered, the city started padlocking the facility doors from 2 to 4:30 p.m. At 4:30, the gym still becomes available to individuals or groups who have rented it.
Anyone who wishes to use it when it’s locked during the workday may get a key from the collector’s office.
“Organized groups can reserve the gym in the evenings by filling out a reservation form available at the collector’s window,” Childers said. “This is available for both profit and nonprofit groups, with a fee charged to for-profit groups. Weekend use also can be reserved both for organizations and for special events, with a fee charged to for-profit groups or events.”
The city administrator also said that there are a number of individuals who routinely walk in the gym in the mornings at various times, and there had been a number of individuals who play basketball, typically after school.
“There’s already a sign on the door letting walkers know that if the gym is locked they can request a key at the collector’s window,” he said. “While we’re investigating surveillance cameras, we will accept reservations from organized groups for the period 2 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If we have further problems during the 8 to 2 time, we’ll restrict access further.”