The Laurel Police Department will soon have upgraded equipment on both sides of their belts.

The City Council agreed to allow the lease-purchase of 42 new tasers and body-cams at a cost of $258,249.80 from Axon Enterprises. The cost of a five-year plan will be $48,999.80 the first year and $52,312.50 each year after. 

The council also agreed to let the LPD get 68 new Glock Night Sight firearms and all related gear at a cost of $20,000 from Glock, Inc., Mid-South Uniform and Supply and Gulf State Distributors. The LPD will have to trade in its 68 existing duty weapons to get the new guns.

The council voted unanimously for both purchases and they agreed to adopt the Fiscal Year 2020 with no discussion, after weeks of budget meetings and a public hearing. The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

The budget shows almost $18.7 million in total revenue, down from the nearly $20.5 million that the city estimates to take in by the end of this fiscal year. The city school district is getting 69.11 (61 percent) of the 112.46 mills that the tax levy will generate to meet the needs of the city. City operations get a total of 43.35 mills. (Look for more on the budget in an upcoming edition.)

In another matter, the council agreed to refinance up to $3 million in bond money that had already been secured.

“This is not new money,” council President Tony Thaxton said. “We’re just refinancing to get a better rate.”

The council also agreed unanimously to pay travel expenses for Mayor Johnny Magee and Councilman Tony Wheat to attend the City Building Exchange in New Orleans next month. The annual workshop features leaders from across the country who teach attendees about how to handle pressing issues, as well as urban planning and design. The cost for registration and accommodations is $795 each.

Councilmen also agreed to remove a $25,000 maintenance cap in the professional services agreement between the city and Suez Water. It is the eighth amendment to their service agreement.

The council set a public hearing for Oct. 8 for the owners of the following properties that the Inspection Department has deemed unclean and a menace to the public health and safety:

•  624 West 12th St., Harvey Lang;

• 1114 Clark St., Harvey Hull;

• Overgrown property at corner of Masonite and Ash, Pace Property Investments;

• 711 Royal St., Empire Investments;

• 100-foot row, 14th to 15th Avenue, Vacant lot between 8th and 9th Avenue, 103 Walters Ave., Mitchell Asmar;

• 911 Tulip Ave., Mae Clark;

• 1519 Woodlawn Dr., Parker McCurley;

• 13 Woodlawn Dr., James Wilson/Stephanie Evans;

• 21 Woodlawn Dr., MAS Properties;

• 1134 Capitol St., L&E Properties;

• 1131 Capitol St., Hartfield Corp.;

• 503 East 19th St., Ammiedell Andrews Estate/Rudolph Andrews;

• 1516 North 3rd Ave., M&R Farms of Meridian

The council agreed to have the city clear lots at 1320 North 5th Avenue (Kaja Holdings Inc.) and 213 South Pine St. (USDA Rural Housing Service) and assess the costs to the owners on their tax bills.

Members also approved lot-cleaning cost assessments ranging from $115 to $665 at 15 city properties.

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