With an extremely short and uneventful West Blocton Town Council meeting otherwise, Mayor Daniel Sims and Council Members agreed to put $500 toward a fund to revitalize the municipal building with paint and cosmetics. This would be added to the $500 that had been allocated to Christmas lights but was not used, as Mayor Sims paid for the lights out of his pocket and donated them to the town. This gives $1,000 budget to spruce up the municipal building.
Sims also urged the Council to check their districts visually and by inspecting the areas themselves for ditches that need to be cleared. A project is planned to clean out drainage ditches throughout the town, and Sims said it would be most efficient to be able to do them all at once.
Census Means Money
Matthew Hartzell spoke to the Council about the importance of people filling out the census, and encouraged council members to urge their constituents to fill it out when the time comes.
According to Hartzell, it is already expected that low 2020 census numbers could lose Alabama a Congressional seat or two. That, as well as federal funds to the states and counties, are all dependent on population numbers. He went on to say that roughly 4,000 people in Bibb County were not counted in the 2010 census. According to his data, a census count equates to roughly $160 per person per year of federal funding. Losing 4,000 people means $640,000 per year lost. And since the census is only updated every ten years, that means the county lost $6,400,000 because of those 4,000 people not being counted.
He urged everyone to fill it out, and if you don’t want someone coming to your property to find you to count you, just fill it out and send it in.
Food Vouchers for the Farmers’ Market
Kathy McCulley also spoke to the Council about helping out residents. This time via food vouchers that are available for residents over 60 years old to be able to get free food ($30 worth) at the West Blocton Farmers’ Market.
McCulley and Mayor Sims agreed it would be critical for Council members to possibly even go door to door in their districts to find those who need the vouchers, as many in the target group do not have social media or other avenues to find out that such a program exists.
“We’ve only had 20 people call to sign up,” McCulley said.
McCulley and the Farmers’ Market Board are working toward the possibility of the vendors being able to accept SNAP benefits, but that is a goal in the works, and not something that can be promised at this point.
The Farmers’ Market will begin on June 4th, and be every Thursday night from 5:30 to 8:30 this year, instead of Saturday mornings as it was last year.
“We want to make it more convenient and accessible to everyone,” McCulley said.