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Federal grants will help shore up Jefferson's hurting budget
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JEFFERSON — The city of Jefferson has been awarded several federal grants, and the City Council received an update on the expected funds during Monday’s meeting.

Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman informed the council that the police department has been approved for a $26,909 grant through the U.S. Justice Department.

“We will be using the funds to order laptops for our patrol vehicles,” Wirthman told the council.

“This will help us cut down on costs, because officers will be able to file reports from their vehicles, instead of using gas to come to the office. This also will increase the amount of time that the patrol vehicles are out in the community.”

Prior to receiving a computer in their vehicle, officers will have to complete 40 hours of training to gain certification and will have to also “attest that they won’t do anything improper” with the computers, Wirthman said.

The council also was informed by staff that the city of Jefferson has received two grants through the Georgia Forestry Commission totaling $21,565.

City Manager John Ward also gave the council an update about the continued decline of Local Option Sales Tax collections.

May collections were only $57,173. June collections dropped down to $56,798. Cities receive LOST funds from the state revenue department around a month after the initial revenue is generated. In general, monthly collections for 2009 continue to lag behind those of 2008 by at least $10,000 per month.

“LOST collections continue to be a concern,” said John Ward, city manager. “We were hoping to see some of that turn around, but so far we have not.”

Council member C.D. Kidd III was absent from the meeting. He was also absent from last month’s voting session due to being hospitalized. Jefferson Mayor Jim Joiner noted during Monday’s meeting that Kidd was no longer hospitalized but is still recovering.

The council will meet again on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. for its regularly scheduled voting session, at which time the council will take action on agenda items.