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Police get Byrne justice assistance grant

FOREST PARK — Forest Park police got a revenue boost Tuesday when city council members voted to accept a $13,269 justice assistance grant.

Chief Dwayne Hobbs said the department has the money, it just needed council members to agree to accept it. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant is issued through the U.S. Department of Justice.

The grant can be used to hire or retain law enforcement officers, among other permitted uses.

In other council action Tuesday, the board approved a license agreement between the city and Phat Farm Trucking Co. City Manager Frank Brandon said the company has agreed to pay the city $1,100 a month to lease eight acres on J.G. Glover Court to park truck trailers for a year.

Brandon said the property is part of an 18-acre tract bought several years ago for $1.3 million to build a gasification plant.

“It’s just a year’s license so if the gasification project comes into effect, we will be able to change it out,” he said. “This will bring more than $13,000 into the city’s coffers. The gasification project is four or five years down the road.”

Mayor David Lockhart said gasification is a method of disposing of garbage in a way that produces marketable energy.

Residents express concern about election season

With the election less than two months away, politics reared its head during the meeting. Lifelong resident Mattie Hartsfield spoke during public comments and wanted to know the qualifications of a council member because she wanted to include one more attribute.

“We need intelligent people,” said Hartsfield, prompting a chuckle from the audience. “We need a people person who cares about Forest Park. I’ve been a citizen here all my life and we need people to represent us with some kind of intelligence.”

Ward 1 candidate Darnell Moorer also spoke during public comments after being admonished by Lockhart to not use his time to campaign. Moorer said he continues to be concerned about outside influences trying to impact local politics.

“The city appears to be overrun and operated by outside interest groups,” said Moorer. “Kevin Thomas is one of them but there are others. They are funding people who have never run for office before and we’re tired of it. We want quality but that’s not the way we run government. These people are running and before we know it, we’re voting for them.”

Moorer also echoed Hartsfield’s sentiments.

“We need intelligent people who are citizens of Forest Park,” he said. “We’re ready to take the city back and I say let’s do it.”