EB council votes to propose police contract

Published 4:06 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

With little fanfare and no discussion, East Brewton city council members voted 4-2 Monday on a plan to contract with the City of Brewton for law enforcement services.

East Brewton now must make an offer to the City of Brewton; if that city council agrees, the East Brewton Police Department would effectively be dissolved.

Ned Sibert, Kenny Hultz, Bob Arrant and Byron Palmer quickly voted yes, while Ludon Simmons and Mayor Terry Clark voted no.

“We will prepare a document to the effect of contracting with Brewton for our police protection, probably this week,” Clark said. “Once we present that, the decision will be in their court.”

East Brewton Police Chief Kenny Brazile said the decision wasn’t a surprise, but said he was still on the job.

“I’ll be here in the morning and every morning doing my job until I’m told to stop,” Brazile said. “My job is to protect and serve the citizens of East Brewton and that’s what I intend to do.”

Clark said discussions on the subject have been held in the past involving Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace, Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin, himself and Brazile.

“The council there has not been given information concerning the finances involved in this proposal,” Clark said. “Once the paperwork is presented to them, it will be there decision on whether or not to move forward with a contract with us.”

Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace said the city will wait to see what kind of offer is made; once it is received, that offer will be reviewed carefully, he said.

The possibility of the change in police protection and services in East Brewton has been a hot topic of discussion for about six months.

At issue, according to supporters of the plan, is the financial stability of the city.

In a previous meeting, councilman Sibert said a $275,000 suggested contract figure with the City of Brewton would help keep more money in the budget of his struggling city.

According to Sibert’s figures, contracting with the City of Brewton would save East Brewton $101,000 per year. Mayor Terry Clark, however, said he thinks the savings would be about $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
Sibert’s math, based on a flip chart presentation at a recent council meeting, figures in the additional cost of night and weekend dispatchers, who were added to an already tight police budget in December after Brewton declined to continue dispatching for East Brewton during those times.
“Right now we have a $232,000 budget for our police department,” Sibert said. “The amended budget is at $288,000. As of March we were at 50 percent of our budget, with $6,000 over budget for overtime pay.
“We lost our dispatching service on the weekends and had to add dispatchers to the staff,” Sibert said. “That adds another $44,000 to our budget. When you look at the additional insurance, workers comp and other expenses, that puts our budget at $376,000.”

Officials say they won’t speculate on a date when a final decision could be made.