City Council District 5 is interested in traffic and City Councilmember Tammi Thurm was prepared for a lot of traffic questions at the “Community Conversation” at the Leonard Recreation Center on Ballinger Road on Monday, April 22.

Thurm had the head of the traffic enforcement division of the Greensboro Police Department, Lt. Rick Alston and two motorcycle cops at the meeting to answer questions.  They were asked quite a few and many were extremely specific.

One thing people learned at the meeting was that the traffic enforcement division collects piles of data and the officers do a great job of answering questions about it.  What a number of District 5 residents were requesting was more enforcement to slow down fast drivers and to remind drivers that those red octagonal signs that say “STOP” mean the driver is supposed to stop the car.

The residents certainly got a promise that their neighborhoods wouldn’t be forgotten when it came time to divvy up the traffic enforcement pie.  But they also got a reminder that it’s a big city and the traffic enforcement division was spread thin.

After the police had finished their presentation and left, Thurm was asked a question about the morale of the police department being low because they were constantly being attacked and dragged into court when they were just trying to do their jobs.

Another speaker expressed concern that the city was losing good police officers and firefighters because the pay scale had not kept up.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who was present along with City Councilmember  Michelle Kennedy, said that two years ago public safety employees received a significant increase and added, “Not only are we having those issue with public safety but we’re having them across the board.”

Thurm added that adjusting the pay scale was going to be an issue during the upcoming budget process.

There were three people in the audience who come to City Council meetings to talk about Marcus Deon Smith.  Since police were brought up, one member of the group suggested saving money by firing the eight police officers named in the lawsuit filed by the parents of Marcus Smith who died after being apprehended by police on Sept. 8, 2018.

Thurm said because the city was being sued she wasn’t going to talk about the topic.

Thurm got one more lengthy question from the group about firing the chief of police for lying under oath.  A man in the audience said , “I don’t believe a word of that.”

Thurm stuck to her guns and wouldn’t talk about the situation.

Thurm was asked if the city was going to stop recycling glass and said that the city would continue to recycle glass but starting July 1 people should not put glass in the brown residential recycling bins.

Thurm explained that recycled glass has gotten so cheap that they have to pay people to pick it up.

Currently the city is paid $30 for each ton of recycled material produced at the materials recovery facility.  In July that is going to change because the price of recyclable material has dropped so low that the city will have to pay for each ton of recyclable material produced by the facility.

Thurm said that there would be some drop off points set up for people who wanted to continue recycle glass.  But because of its weight and negative value, it made sense to eliminate it from the recycling containers.

Then there was a confusing discussion of what could and could not go in the brown recycling container. It certainly appeared that the city’s efforts to educate the public about what can and cannot be recycled has been a failure.

Changes coming on July 1 should give the city a chance to start over and do a better job.