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By PATRICK SMITH
INDEPENDENCE — Independence Town Council held a special meeting Sept. 4 to officially vote to hire Jerry Hughes as the new town manager.
Ronald Sexton, Buddy Halsey, Cecil Adams and Tom Maxwell were the four councilmen present to make the majority vote. Maxwell made the motion to hire Hughes and Adams seconded.
The group also decided on Hughes’ starting salary, and Mayor Butch Reeves said that it could be increased by 5 percent after six months, depending on his quality of work. Hughes began his work as the new town manager this week.
The meeting was adjourned in less than 15 minutes, but Reeves encouraged council members to stay on for a bit longer to walk through the police department, where the meeting was held, and take note of problems with the building that could be fixed in an upcoming renovation project.
Council discussed this project during the August meeting.
Council is still deciding on a potential contractor for the project and is gathering quotes for the cost of labor and materials. The proposed renovations would include the installation of a new roof and gutter system, among many other repairs.
During their tour of the building, council members noted multiple problems that needed to be addressed, including insufficient lighting, poor heating and cooling systems and poor insulation.
The back of the building is an area of additional concern, because it has not been well maintained and the rear exit door frequently jams. There is also a hole in the back wall of the building that could be large enough for small animals to fit through and enter the building.
Reeves said council had already received a quote for the cost of the lighting and heating repairs, but the first priority in the renovation process would be the new roof and gutter installation.