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Ailing Forest Park mayor on paid leave

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Forest Park Public Works Director Mike Gippert talks about the city’s new recycling program during a recent Council meeting.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Forest Park Public Works Director Mike Gippert talks about the city’s new recycling program during a recent Council meeting.

FOREST PARK — The absence of Mayor Corine Deyton from recent Council meetings was addressed Monday night after a query into her status was made by a resident.

Deyton has missed meetings in June and July and Mayor Pro Tem Sparkle Adams has been sitting in her place but without a formal announcement about Deyton’s absence. That wasn’t good enough for Kimberly James, who spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting.

“What is the status of the mayor? Is she retiring? If so, when? Are you considering a special election?” said James.

Adams told James to talk to city attorneys Robert Mack and Joe Harris after the meeting for the answers, which she did. Mack said Deyton is on paid leave for health reasons and he expects her to return “soon.”

Deyton’s term ends in December 2013 and it is unknown whether she plans to seek another four years.

In other Council news, Public Works Director Mike Gippert told the board the city has collected $2,200 from its new recycling program, implemented two months ago.

“We’ve collected 70 tons of recyclable materials,” he said. “That’s compared to 375 tons of garbage collected. That means we’ve saved 16 percent out of a landfill. We want to get to 30 to 35 percent and I think we’ll get there.”

Gippert said only 7 to 8 percent of residents are recycling.

“We want to build that up through education and newsletters,” he said. “The more you know about what can go back into recycling, the better.”

Gippert said all money made from recycling goes back to the sanitation department to reduce the taxpayers’ share.

Planning, Building and Zoning Director Al Wiggins told Council the city was recognized for its participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program.

“By our participation, we were able to qualify resident for a 5-percent discount of their flood insurance premiums,” he said. “It shows us we’re doing the right thing to correct the flood plain through our zoning and building codes. Hopefully, we’ll eventually become eligible for a 10-percent discount.”

Police Maj. Jamie Reynolds told Council the department got a $500 grant from Walmart Foundation, which will be used for Neighborhood Watch, Community Oriented Policing and Citizens Police Academy programs.

Reynolds also explained the department’s award of a $14,637 U.S. Department of Justice grant. He told Council the money will be used to buy a live scan fingerprint device.

“This device will let us capture and store fingerprints that we can use for comparison if we get unknown prints at a crime scene,” he said. “It won’t tell us if they are wanted somewhere else.”