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City of Tioga okays liquor license, new dispatcher, and new building

 

Posted 9/15/15 (Tue)

By Kevin Killough
Tioga law enforcement raised some concerns about a liquor license permit from China Express, at the Tioga Commission meeting on Sept. 8. The commission ultimately approved the license, pending a routine background-check of the applicant. 
The commission also approved the hiring of a police dispatcher and a request for funding from the Tioga Fund to help bring about a plan for a dog pound and recycling center, which is jeopardized by some unexpected problems with the structure.  
Red Flag
China Express submitted an application for a beer-only liquor license, which will allow them to serve beer with meals. 
Police Administrator Jeff Spivey said the department has some concerns due to an incident involving “other agencies” that occurred at the establishment about three months ago.
A border patrol agency showed up at the restaurant and a few employees ran from the officers. The agency requested backup from the local police to help apprehend the suspects.
“I have red flags on that,” Spivey said. 
Speaking after the meeting, Spivey said he isn’t sure why the agency was at the restaurant or why the individuals ran. There could be any number of reasons individuals would run from police -- and not necessarily because they’re guilty of anything -- but anytime it happens, Spivey said, it’s a reasonable cause for police to pursue. 
Spivey said by bringing up the incident he wasn’t trying to influence the commission’s decision on the license one way or another, but he felt it is his duty as a law enforcement officer to provide the commissioners with the information so they could make an informed decision. 
Dispatcher 
The commission also approved the hiring of a second police dispatcher, which brings the department’s number of dispatchers to three. This will allow the department to have one dispatcher on duty at all times.
It is actually the second time the commission approved the position, but at a special meeting last month, all new hiring was put on hold. 
Though two dispatcher positions were funded by the county, the original request is based on an inaccurate figure that didn’t include benefits, training, and other costs for the position. This created a funding shortfall of $30,000 per year for the second position.
These funding requests are handled by a board composed of emergency workers throughout the county. At its October meeting, the Tioga Police Department will ask for a “change order” on the grant that funded the positions, which will cover the shortfall. 
“I’m going to have to ask for a modification of the original request,” Spivey explained.
While he doesn’t think the board will object, he said he can’t be certain. 
Though it will be some time before the request can be made, the city has already interviewed, selected, and screened for the position. The hiring freeze was enacted right before the position was about to be filled.
“I don’t think it’s fair for her to have to sit and wait another month for the job,” said Commissioner Ronda Davidson. 
Project Interrupted
The commission also approved a recommendation from the Tioga Fund Board to pay for a new $98,000 building, which will house a dog pound and recycling center.
The project was originally going to be a renovation of the old city shop building on First Street, but during the construction it was discovered fire damage from a long time ago has rendered the building unsafe. 
“We could not see the damage until we opened up the walls,” Spivey said.
After an engineer determined the building will not hold up under the weight of heavy snow fall or strong winds, Spivey, acting as project manager, requested the city condemn the building. 
With money from the Tioga Fund, the project can still be completed, and it will save some of the plumbing work that was already put into it.