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Alton talks grants and 2023-2024 pay plans, recognizes Alton K9 retiree

Last Tuesday, the Alton City Commission examined various grants and the 2023-2024 fiscal year pay plans. The city also recognized a retiring Alton PD K9, who will go under the full-time care of the officer he was assigned, and approved a new camera system and softwares for the police department.

Through the State Energy Conservation, Alton received a $50,000 grant for energy conservation. The city’s match would be at a 20% amount of $10,000.

“What we want to use this [for] when awarded to the city of Alton is to retrofit the baseball park lights, turn them into LEDS,” said Alton Development Corporation CEO Steve Peña. According to Peña,  LED lights would help in cost and electricity savings and improve light quality for the stadium.

“We spend, just to let you know, almost $18,000 a year on lighting the baseball field,” said City Manager Jeff Underwood. “We’re looking…at cutting more than half.”

The Commission approved this change 5-0.

Also approved was the purchase of 300-gallon bins for the Public Works Department costing $97,436.76.

Payplans for fiscal year 2023-2024 underwent some changes with a captain position for the Alton Fire Department and a 2.5% increase for all pay steps beyond step 3.

“For the most part, what we’ve done is spread out the increases for both police and fire,” said Underwood. “They have been grouped up to every three years. This one we’re making sure there is an increase every year.”

After the pay plans for fiscal year 2023-2024 were approved, the city approved its investment report for the third quarter of the current fiscal year.

“The bottom line is we increase by $3.6 Million,” said Underwood. “We did see a negative, a decrease to the General Fund, again as expected…otherwise, everything is pretty healthy.”

A second grant of $20,000 was rewarded for personal protective equipment for the Alton Fire Department.

“That can be any personal protective equipment from gear, boots, masks,” said Alton Fire Chief Gus Ramirez.

According to the Alton City Commission meeting agenda, the grant will cover 90% of the cost, leaving the city to pay the remaining 10%.

Chief of Police Mark Perez then approached the Commission to request the retirement of K9 Tommy, who can no longer serve the PD due to health issues.

“He was bonded with Officer Padron. They worked very well together, but unfortunately, he’s suffering from some pain,” said Perez. “He’s suffering from arthritis from the hips, so it’s been a little painful for him. They could medicate him, but we didn’t want him suffering through work with treatment.”

Having bonded with Tommy, Officer Daniel Padron offered to adopt the dog and become his full-time handler.

The Alton City Commission also confirmed their votes for the Hidalgo County Appraisal District Board of Directors.

Before adjournment, the Commission approved a $285,730.54 finance contract with Frost Bank to acquire a Motorola In-Car System with body-worn cameras and hardware for the Police Department. It would be a 5-year subscription.

“The Police Department…needs new dash cams and body cams,” said Underwood. “I asked them to move forward in outfitting the entire fleet with the same cameras so we don’t have any issues with the compatibility.”

The  Motorola In-Car System cost $285,730.54 at the purchase of 15 items, per Motorola quote documents.

The meeting then adjourned.



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