Discussions of a new truck for the fire department, fresh curbs and sidewalks, and a brand new Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services (TOPSS) facility took up the most of Oxford’s Feb. 6 city council meeting. Enthusiasm for these projects came from both council members and members of the community.
Oxford Fire Department’s new truck
City council unanimously approved the purchase of a 2024 Silverado at the base price of $56,685 for use by the fire department. Fire Chief John Detherage said the purchase of the truck was long overdue, and it will replace a 2014 Ford Interceptor Utility truck which has been out of service since October 2022. The vehicle will be used for general transportation, pulling hazmat and Gator trailers, and hauling the hose and equipment to and from emergency scenes, according to the staff report presented to council.
A freshen up on Oxford’s sidewalks, curbs and gutters
Service director Michael Dreisbach presented this project to council explaining how certain Oxford properties had “defective, missing, or sub-standard curb, gutter, sidewalks, and/or driveway aprons.” Oxford’s service staff has already notified property owners of the project if parts of their concrete need repair.
The service staff also informed the owners that if the deficiencies were not corrected, the city would proceed with the project and charge the cost against the property. The resolution was unanimously approved with little discussion by the council.
New Flock cameras to be installed in Oxford
To better control crime within Oxford, Police Chief John Jones proposed to council the installation of Flock cameras around the edge of Oxford. The technology would be able to identify a make and model of a flagged car, including license plate recognition.
This data would be stored for up to 30 days, and can be used in order to solve ongoing investigations or flag stolen vehicles, wanted persons, or vehicles entered on a hotlist by the agency. However, these cameras would not record an active feed.
“[These cameras] really are an amazing tool,” councilor David Prytherch said. “It must increase [the police force’s] ability to solve crimes.”
Included in this project would also be the addition of a surveillance camera in Uptown near the parks. The police force has identified the sites for the camera and now needs to inspect each site within the next month before the cameras can be installed. Jones said the cameras will be installed by this summer. The council unanimously approved Jone’s proposal.
ARPA funds used for new TOPSS facility
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With the goal of promoting affordable housing within Oxford, $300,000 of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds will now be going towards the construction of a new TOPSS facility. The funds will be released to TOPPS once their building permit has been awarded and they have a construction draw schedule.
Sherry Martin, TOPSS Executive Director, addressed council following the proposal and emphasized the need for this money in order to build a new facility.
“This money would allow us to continue progressing so we can meet our goals,” Martin said. “The demand and the need is definitely there. A new building would help us continue to help the community.”
The resolution was adopted unanimously and met with applause from community members in the audience. Additional ARPA funds will go toward the Cottage Community project at 5234 Hester Road and the 3.33 acres of land at 601, 603 and 607 W. Chestnut St. Both projects continue to see development, including the amending of the zoning map for the three West Chestnut Street properties approved at the council meeting.
Council will meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Oxford Courthouse.