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West Point discusses SPLOST projects

WEST POINT — On Tuesday night, the West Point City Council met in person for the first time since the middle of February to conduct its regular work session. There have been a handful of meetings since, but conducted via teleconference due to COVID-19. 

Tuesday’s meeting took place in the West Point Depot to accommodate social distancing recommendations.

The council began the meeting recognizing retired fireman Dennis Walls for his years of service to the city of West Point.

West Point Fire Chief Milton Smith took the podium to update the council on the state of the WPFD. 

To start, Smith revealed that five members of the WPFD had been tested for COVID-19 after possible exposure to the virus. 

One of those five had to be tested twice due to a second exposure. 

“The thing is all of them came out negative,” Smith said while outlining the time line for each of the test results to come back. 

Smith said the returned results took anywhere from 8 days to 45 minutes. Smith also said throughout the next two days, city employees will voluntarily have blood tests that will test for the COVID-19 antibodies.

On March 30, Troup County EMS/AMR joined the West Point Fire Station to supplement the department’s emergency response. 

“This has worked very well as 90-95% of the time we now have two EMS units in town in service, at no additional cost to the city of West Point,” Smith stated.

WPFD has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for an Assistance to Fire Grant (AFG) for additional personal protective equipment (PPE) related to COVID-19 response.

Ed Moon took the stage to discuss his proposal for Phase 1 of SPLOST V projects that have been discussed by the council and earmarked as priority. SPLOST is an optional 1 percent sales tax for the purpose of funding the construction of parks, schools, roads and other public facilities and cannot be used toward operating expenses or most maintenance projects.

Transportation projects outlined in the proposal include intersection improvements at 10th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, and a new sidewalk on 10th Street between Dogwood and OG Skinner with a cost estimate of $500,000.

Recreation projects in the proposal include an estimated $200,000 renovation of the 6th Street Park. The small fields at City Park also would be renovated at a cost estimate of $200,000, with projects including adding a parking area and playground, replacing turf, irrigation, fence, renovate concession stand and restrooms, renovating the trail and signage. Also included is a project that would add a sidewalk on Avenue C from 10th Street to the parking lot, a walking path across John Hoggs Field, new signage and cross walks at an estimated cost of $100,000. 

As of May 12, the city has collected $1,071,412.00 in SPLOST this fiscal year. 

At the conclusion of the work session, the council discussed methods at their disposal to regulate gatherings of large groups and limit noise as a result of larger gatherings. 

The discussion stemmed from an incident over Memorial Day weekend where the West Point Police Department was called to break up a large gathering at an Airbnb property.

The meeting concluded with the council going into executive session to discuss the city attorney appointment. The city attorney position came available when it was announced in Mid-April that former attorney Jeff Todd would become the full-time attorney for the city of LaGrange. Todd will start this position on July 1.

The West Point City Council will meet again on Thursday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the West Point Depot.