The Richmond Hill City Council voted Tuesday night to spend $4,250 on a machine that will be used to destroy illegal drugs seized by the city's police department.
The drug incinerator will be paid for with Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax funds.
The drugs that are being destroyed are fed into the incinerator on a special cartridge. A wood fire is used to burn the drugs.
City manager Chris Lovell told the council that the police department used to haul seized drugs to a facility to be destroyed but that is no longer possible and is the reason the police department was seeking permission to make the purchase.
"So now we will have one inhouse to destroy any drugs seized by the department," Lovell said.
The exact location where the drugs would be destroyed was not disclosed during the council meeting.
The incinerator is able to destroy methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, heroin paraphernalia and ecstasy, among others.
The incinerator is being purchased from a firm in Illinois. The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase. No timeline was given for the delivery and installation of the new incinerator.
The council also heard a presentation from Fire Chief Ralph Catlett about a notification system, termed CodeRed, that could be used to make emergency communication with people who have signed up to participate.
The notification system, Catlett said, would cost $4,400 yearly but would give the city the ability to notify residents of any emergencies, including hurricanes, fires, automobile accidents, broken water pipes, etc.
Catlett said the notification would be made via text message, email, etc. and said the system works similar to the way Amber Alert works.
City residents, he said, sign up to participate in the program. He said during Hurricane Matthew, the only mass notification system available to the city was Facebook and that proved to be useful, but insufficient to reach as many people as necessary.
The exact details are still being worked out but Catlett said, at the present time, the system would be made available to residents in incorporated Richmond Hill with the possibility of expanding the system to include resident in unincorporated Bryan County in the future. No action was taken at the council meeting as the presentation was for information only but Catlett said he would like to move forward as soon as possible.
More on these and other city council business in next week's issue.