(KATV) The Bryant mayor and city council members took a field trip Friday, January 25, to all city departments including schools. It's a way to start the New Year, meet new faces in office and discuss what changes need to be made.
City council members loaded up on a bus. For the first time, they're getting out of the office and touring every city department. (For example, City Hall, the water department, animal control, public works, Bryant schools, police, fire and the streets department.)
You see, city council members have day jobs and meet at least twice a month. Mayor Jill Dabbs explains, "So it helps them, gives them better information when they make decisions and to establish a really good working relationship between the council members and my office."
Mayor Dabbs brought channel seven along for the tour.
An officer opens a locked door and jokes, "This is how we save money around here."
No question or room was off limits. One office spaces was designated as a temporary storage location, "We're going to have the city auction, this is the catch all for it right now until February 2."
Department heads ran through updates thanks to money allocated through the city. But they also talked about needs. For example, at the police station, they need $80,000 in upgrades to 911 dispatch and the kitchen where mold is posing a health risk.
Police Chief Mark Kizer points, "All that sheet rock has to be replace within 30-days, it has black mold growing."
Mayor Dabbs says, "You can get so much more done outside the court room sometimes. Getting out and looking at the situation and looking at the problem so that was the purpose of today and very grateful for those who were able to participate."
Fire Chief J.P. Jordan showed Channel Seven AED's that they can't use because the batteries are dead and too expensive, "You can hardly get pads for these because they're obsolete."
At the fire department, Chief Jordan talked about the need for laptops and aging air packs. He requested a replacement fund to stay in place so council members don't get sticker shock when the department needs new uniforms that cost thousands.
Police Chief, Mark Kizer says it's difficult to go in front of the council and ask for repairs, when they haven't seen it first-hand. "I hope this tour is done every quarter. They need to come and see the progress and changes because to keep up with times you have to keep moving forward."
Mayor Dabbs says she wants council members to build relationships with each city department, so they truly know what they're voting on. She concludes, "The council and myself are really working hard to make the local government in Bryant more accessible to the people we serve and to listen to them and to let them be part of the process of local government."