SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga City Council met for the first time in the month of April on Tuesday night covering a wide array of topics.

During the pre-meeting work session, Parks & Recreation director Jim Armstrong alerted the Council to a problem with the city pool. A significant leak is being investigated, with worry that integrity of a pool wall might possibly be affected and pose risks. Until the extent of the issue is understood following cutting of concrete for visual inspection, the pool won’t be opened to the public. Armstrong advised that he has backup plans for the swim team to keep them on schedule and will update the Council at the next meeting.

Kay Jennings, an Airport Authority board member, told the Council that the life flight service based at the airport has requested addition of a new hangar to house their medical helicopter. The company rents airport facilities and needs this accommodation to adequately protect the helicopter, according to Jennings, who also noted that the service has 26 employees assigned to this location as the company’s only on-airport facility. The Authority is hopeful the City can contribute half the cost of the project, and bids are now being sought. Jennings confirmed that rent would be increased but amounts had not been discussed. Council president Lee Perryman suggested that the City could possibly discuss helping the Authority fund the work with reimbursement recaptured through additional rent, and the Authority will resume discussions with the City when numbers are in.

V Adams of Waste Pro, the City’s residential garbage and recycling collection service, and her supervisor briefed the Council on a substantial recent increase in their costs for processing recycled waste and a potential future request to seek financial help from the city. Adams noted that China is no longer purchasing recycled material and that there has been a sharp – but hopefully temporary — increase in the percentage of contamination of recycled material being collected from Sylacauga. They promised to keep the City informed and also noted that an expected contract extension or renewal was still outstanding. Perryman asked the City Clerk to prepare an update for review and possible council approval for the next meeting.

The Council was told that the Talladega County Economic Development Authority building, owned by the City, needs some $4,100 in repairs related to leaks. The council deferred taking any approval action until discussions with the TCEDA about contributing or assuming the costs since it uses the building rent-free.

Noting the upcoming Federal Census in 2020, the Council briefly discussed a contiguous property annexation drive proposal drafted by Mike Whetstone of the Planning and Code Department. Such a campaign would encourage eligible property owners to request annexation into the city limits to boost population. Even though Sylacauga has seen solid industrial and even retail growth, lack of housing inside the city’s boundaries, according to Perryman, may mean that population growth has not kept pace. Possibly dropping below 12,000, he said, would lead to the city’s reclassification as a town, changing the form of government with other undesired consequences. The Council asked the City Clerk to review the proposal and also seek information on how other cities may have undertaken similar projects. As of the 2010 Census, the population of Sylacauga was 12,749, although the city’s website notes that 26,104 people have Sylacauga addresses and ZIP codes.

Perryman also suggested exploring extension of the City’s police jurisdiction up to three miles and extending the planning jurisdiction up to five miles, matters he will discuss with the Planning Commission.

Mike Whetstone discussed backflow water issues on City-owned property noting that 10 sites needed inspection expected to cost a total of $1,500.

Perryman advised the Council that Rocky Sims of the Sylacauga Little League Association had confirmed via email that the League was now registered as a legal entity with the Secretary of State and had also obtained a renewal certificate for the required liability insurance. The City Clerk was asked to reconfirm receipt so drafting of an agreement transferring the lease responsibility to Parks & Recreation could move forward.

At the official meeting, the Council approved the following items.

  1. Approved resolution authorizing a five-year sponsorship commitment in the amount of $2,500 per year to the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen Pageant – Renewal of sponsorship commitment authorized through Resolution 09-2013 dated Feb. 19, 2013. (5-0)
  2. Approved resolution awarding contract for waste hauling services to Peoples Services Inc. at the rate of $120 per haul of 40-yard container and $23 per ton disposal fee – Recommendation from Street Supt. Reed Calfee following tabulation of bids from bid opening March 26, 2018. (5-0)
  3. Approved transfer application for Retail Beer (Off Premises Only) and Retail Table Wine (Off Premises Only) licenses from Harco, Inc. to Walgreen Co., DBA Rite Aid #07011 for the business located at 1 North Broadway Avenue, Sylacauga. (4-1 Councilman Donnie Blackmon voted no)
  4. Approved requests for a refund of overpayment of 2018 business license fee as follows: Roger W. and Joanna M. Frazure, DBA AutoTrim Design – $100 and Renasant Bank – $90. (5-0)
  5. Approved request from Fire Chief Adam Gardner to authorize the temporary assignments of Firefighters Josh Forbus, Ron Machen, and Sam Ogilvie to the positions of Interim Lieutenant until such a time as a promotional test for the Lieutenant positions can be given or for a period not to exceed 120 days, whichever comes first, and to authorize a 5% pay increase during such interim appointment – Action to become effective with the first day of the pay period beginning following approval by Council. (5-0)
  6. Approved travel/expenses for PD Captain Rondell Muse to attend the JSU Continuing Education (CLEEP) Training Courses: Organizational Performance and Evaluation (Financial and Operational) and Ethics and Integrity, both to be held in Ft. Payne, April 12-13, 2018 – Registration fee is $99 per course; Additional costs for lodging (2 nights), meals, and *use of department vehicle will be incurred (*Muse and Johnson will be carpooling) – Estimated total cost of travel/training for Muse is $514.34. (5-0)
  7. Approved travel/expenses for PD Chief Kelley Johnson to attend the JSU Continuing Education (CLEEP) Training Courses: Organizational Performance and Evaluation (Financial and Operational) and Ethics and Integrity, both to be held in Ft. Payne, April 12-13, 2018 – No registration fee; Additional costs for lodging (2 nights), meals, *fuel for department vehicle will be incurred (*Muse and Johnson will be carpooling) – Estimated total cost of travel/training for Johnson is $346.34. (5-0)
  8. Approved travel/expenses for Animal Shelter Technician Connie Willette to attend the Animal Care Expo 2018 to be held in Kansas City, MO, May 14-17, 2018 – Registration fee in in the amount of $275, lodging, and a majority of airfare cost will be paid by St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center; Additional costs for meals and approximately $25 balance of airfare will be incurred (Willette will be carpooling with another Expo attendee) – Estimated total cost of travel/training for Willette is $205. (5-0)
  9. Authorize payments totaling $119,640.99 for balance of accounts payable invoices received for March, 2018. (5-0)

During regular scheduled council meeting, Councilman Donnie Blackmon updated those in attendance on the progress of a new retailer coming to the city. In February, SylacaugaNews.com reported Dirt Cheap, a bargain store, will be moving into the former Kmart building on W. Fort Williams Street. Blackmon said he spoke with the developer who said there has been a delay in the schedule. Dirt Cheap will now be moving to Sylacauga in mid-June and opening in mid-July.

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