Tuesday, June 18, 2019 – The Centreville City Council got straight to business by immediately going into a closed Executive Session – to discuss “personnel issues.” City Attorney Mitch Kemmer spoke to the Council in the session, and him having to leave early for an appointment was the reason the meeting was earlier than usual as well as for starting instead of ending with the closed session.
Councilman Don Mack was not present.
Sales Tax Ordinance Changes
The Council approved an ordinance to make the sales tax rates in city limits fair to various businesses in town. The new ordinance makes the local sales tax .5% for automotive and revises farm equipment (which would include lawn mowers) to 1%. The vote was unanimous.
Gaping Sinkhole Update
Street and Water Superintendent Larry Oikle gave the Council a status update on the massive hole in the intersection of Hazel and Belcher streets, next to English Auto Parts (NAPA). According to Oikle, the problem stems from two ruptured drainpipes that come together at that intersection, under the pavement. Water drainage ate away the soil underneath, causing a sinkhole in a similar way to a natural underground stream.
There is also a third pipe that intersects the two culprits. After digging it all out and inspecting the situation, it appears that all three will have to be replaced. The pipes are many decades old and rusted out. They will be replaced with modern, long-lasting plastic and a sealed concrete junction that should last at least 60 years. The process will be neither quick nor cheap.
Police Officer Resigns, Department Overtime Approved
The Council accepted the resignation of a publicly-unnamed Centreville Police Officer. A posting will be made to fill the now vacant position in upcoming weeks.
Given the department’s already short-handedness, and the officers’ request for overtime pay instead of compiling more unusable comp time, Chief Rodney Smith brought numbers to show the cost of paying overtime on a schedule with some officers on vacation in coming months, as the Council had requested last meeting.
The Chief further mentioned that the idea to bring in part-time help from other departments would be like “cutting their throats” as one officer had told him on the topic. Mayor Terry Morton responded by calling the overtime proposal a “no brainer” but said it was up to the Council to approve it or not.
Approval of overtime would be at the Chief’s discretion on a case by case basis. Chief Smith said this would insure that only actual duty type work would constitute overtime, and not things like classroom training or writing reports after-hours. City Council approved the proposal for overtime based on the Chief’s schedule and estimates presented.
Following up on the idea to update the Police Department office lighting to modern LED’s and rewire the switches so that the lights may be turned off without also turning off the computers, the Chief reports that an estimate was given by a licensed electrician of $2,000 materials and $2,000 labor. The Council decided they would like additional estimates, and councilman Calvin Elliott suggested opening the project to bidding. For now, the Chief will seek out additional quotes hoping to find something cheaper.
The Council would like to remind everyone of the Celebration on the Green to take place July 6th, and that council meetings in July will be held on the 9th and 23rd.
The Mayor stated to members that he would like to apologize to a local business that was recently overlooked in city business as a possible service provider. The mayor did not elaborate on what company or service, but said it was an oversight on his part that he regretted. He added that he hoped everyone would support local businesses when possible.
The Council also looked over and then voted to accept the city’s financial statement for the closing fiscal year
Wireless or Fiber? The Battle for Bibb’s Broadband:
The Council approved an amendment to the franchise agreement for Alabama Lightwave. There was no general discussion. The amendment received unanimous approval. Alabama Lightwave has been conducting tests for a new wireless high speed internet network in Centreville.
Later, Savannah Ward, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Community Cable addressed the Council concerning the company’s intent to bring fiber optic internet to at first Centreville and Brent. “From Walnut Street, all the way down to Juane’s Mexican Restaurant, and up to Highway 82” was stated as the initial installation area.
Ms. Ward expressed the company’s excitement to be bringing this new technology to town.