Residents speak out at Hogansville’s first town hall meeting

Asia Ashley

February 21, 2014

Six Hogansville residents took advantage of the opportunity to voice their concerns to city officials Thursday night at Hogansville’s first town hall meeting.

Resident Carole Dickerson, one of two on the agenda that were in attendance, told council that she had previously received information that she could apply to receive reduced utility bills due to her senior status.

She applied but never heard back from anyone about her application, she said.

City Manger James Woods said Dickerson likely did not qualify due to income requirements. He went into detail about the program telling attendees that the program gives senior citizens who meet the income requirements a $7.50 reduction on each utility bill. Out of about 400 seniors in Hogansville, nearly 225 qualify, said Woods.

Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said the city would work on responding to applicants whether they do or do not qualify.

Lisa Davis voiced her concern with local police interaction with people in the community.

“When I was growing up in Hogansville all the police officers knew and interacted with the citizens,” she said. “Now, few of the officers are local and many of them are coming from big cities to small towns with big city attitudes.”

Davis said she would like to see officers “make an effort to get to know the people and get involved.”

Woods said when speaking with retiring police chief Moses Ector on Wednesday, they found that the majority of Hogansville officers live in or near Hogansville. Four officers live in Hogansville, three in Grantville, one in LaGrange, one in Pine Mountain and the remaining officers are the minority.

In recent years at the police department, there has been the implementation of many programs that engage the community, including giving fruit baskets and vegetables to the needy and Easter egg hunts. Community policing has also become a standard for the police department, said Woods.

“We’re constantly trying to train new officers in the community policing to talk with neighbors as they go through the neighborhoods,” said Woods. “One of the things I’m gonna be looking for in the police chief (candidates) is the need for community policing and interacting with the citizens and making sure his officers are interacting with the citizens.”

Stankiewicz said citizens will also have the opportunity to interview the final three chief candidates when they are selected.

Woods read a letter from Terry Rainwater, co-director of God’s Bread Basket, thanking the council and the police department for supporting the organization. ​

Other topics from residents on the agenda that were not in attendance included enforcing loud music and “baggy” pants, and minor landscaping issues in the city.