City council approves purchase of closed circuit cameras for dispensaries, parks, traffic lights and other parts of town
By Crystal Havner
Reporting for the Sun-Gazette
FARMERSVILLE – Farmersville is putting more eyes on the ground to keep residents safe.
On Monday, Oct. 28, the Farmersville City Council went ahead to purchase and install closed circuit video cameras. Not all councilmembers were keen on the idea of monitoring more public areas. Council member Paul Boyer expressed concerned about being on cameras everywhere.
“It just seems like there’s no privacy anymore,” he said. “I just worry that everywhere we go it seems like we’re on camera.”
Police chief Mario Krstic said, “if you’re worried about being on camera, you’re on camera right now.” Krstic pointed to the camera on the ceiling above. He added, “just about anywhere in public you’re gonna be on camera because a lot of homes have security cameras and businesses also. The dispensaries have cameras and can be tuned on by the PD for a live check-in at any time.”
Krstic also said law enforcement could not be everywhere at once but the cameras would help them have eyes on situations. The cameras will not be used to monitor for traffic violations but could be looked at to see who and what caused an accident.
Krstic said “it’s more for public safety than anything else.”
Mayor Greg Gomez said he approved of the cameras because of all the graffiti in certain areas that could be monitored.
“I also like the idea of a camera at Veterans Park where in the past the plaque has been stolen,” he said.
Live cameras are already in use at the new dispensary in town and will be installed at future dispensaries. That project came in under budget which is an opportunity to place cameras in other areas. The future cameras will be placed at the roundabout at the highway and if funding allows at local parks, the two lighted intersections and city facilities. The cameras can be moved if an instance occurs where an area needs more surveillance than usual.
Security Lines US will install the cameras. The project is funded through the 2019 Capital Improvement Plan.
In other news
The council also gave approval for city manager Jennifer Gomez to apply for a Per Capita Grant fund for $200,000. The grant originated from Proposition 68. Funds are available for local park rehabilitation, creation and improvement of local governments on a per capita basis.
The proposed grant would be spent at Roy’s Park to add new arbors, new tables and make the park more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
City manager Gomez said she felt more could be done if the funds were all spent at one park.
Mayor Gomez agreed, “$200,000 will go fast but if all is spent at one park a lot could be done and the changes will be beneficial to the city,” he said.