South Jacksonville officials recapped the highs and lows of 2015 during Thursday’s board meeting.
Annual reports were presented by representatives from the South Jacksonville fire, police, water, sewer, street, parks and code enforcement departments.
Fire Chief David Hickox says the total fire loss for South Jacksonville in 2015 was much worse than in 2014, even though both years received virtually the same amount of fire calls. The village and rural area combined for around $900,000 in fire damage, up from $350,000 the year before.
The South Jacksonville Fire Department assisted with 109 mutual aid calls from other area departments in 2015. Recently the SJFD approved an automatic mutual aid agreement to improve manpower and better respond to calls with Jacksonville and Morgan County.
The fire department was able to purchase a brush truck, a one-ton Ford pickup truck and skid load in 2015. Hickox hopes to see improvements made to the fire trucks of South Jacksonville in 2016.
“We’ve got some pretty good sized businesses coming in. We have another hotel and a truck stop could potentially be here. We need to update our equipment because our oldest truck is 30 years old. We need to focus on that and see what we can do.”
2015 was a year of change for the South Jacksonville Police Department. The department began the year with former Chief Richard Evans in charge. After his retirement over the summer, Sgt. Mike Broaddus took over for several months. In October, Sgt. Josh Hallock stepped in as Interim Chief of Police, and still holds that title.
Hallock explains what it was like to work for the South Jacksonville Police Department during this transition period.
“It has been a challenge, but an enjoying challenge. I’ve got a lot of good officers I work with. I’ve put them to several different tasks to smooth out the transitions. I’ve had some great support from the board, mayor and help from the community. Everybody is looking forward to a bright future and I think we are heading that way.”
Hallock was proud to see the police department show a stronger focus on the community this past year.
In 2015, South Jacksonville Police received nearly 14,000 calls, made 625 arrests, issued 907 warnings and responded to 52 accidents.
Hallock hopes to continue with the professional makeover of the department in 2016 and expand on emergency programs alongside the Jacksonville Police Department and Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.
The water department reported 13 water breaks in 2015, which led to an estimated loss of 595,000 gallons of water. On a positive note, the water department was recognized for the eighth straight year by the Department of Public Compliance for satisfactory Fluoride Levels.
The sewer department completely rebuilt the village’s control panels with new power service and VFD drives for pump motors this past year. This will allow the pumps to start slow and shut down slow, making it easier on the motors and cutting down on power bills.
Code Enforcement officer Wilbur German informed trustees seven homes were either built or under construction in the village during 2015.
A full look at the annual report will be available soon at www.southjacksonville.org/.
Mayor pro-tem Steve Waltrip was absent from the meeting, so trustee Mike Elliot filled in.