Mayor Daniel Sims opened the night by congratulating “a local guy here in town” Jeremy Lightsey for his win of Bibb County Commission District 1 seat in last week’s primaries.
During the previous meeting, Alabama Power requested a modification to their easement agreement from the Town, enabling them to run lines underground and cross roads at different places than previously stated. As requested by the Mayor, a representative returned with new drawings and agreements reworded, giving the Town Council more say in the situation. The Council inspected the documents and approved the new agreement.
Easter Egg Hunt
Mayor Sims brought up the previously discussed Town Easter Egg Hunt, suggesting it would be held the Saturday before Easter, on April 11. Instead of the Town Park, however, he suggested the even be held at Coke Ovens Park as it provides a wealth of places to hide the eggs, and will show off the park just as spring is getting going. After some discussion, the Council approved this plan, simultaneously agreeing to volunteer and help out with the event.
A hot topic for months in West Blocton has been the clogged ditches needing cleared for drainage in order to stop various yards from being washed out as waters divert themselves. In the previous council meeting, Mayor Sims requested that all council members inspect their districts and ask their residents where work was needed. As of this week’s meeting, Sims said none of the Council has brought a list yet. “This was the last night for it,” Sims commented.
Councilman Fred Lynch responded, “I’d say the whole town.”
District 1, Fred Lynch – Councilman Lynch aired a list of concerns including making a distinction between water and sewer service in terms of cutoff for non-payment. It was unclear what exactly Lynch was requesting in this regard other than the Council to consider these may be different. He went on to discuss “vicious dogs” roaming out of fences and off leashes around town, saying this was a problem, and also re-stated the need for ditches to be cleared out, adding that “citizens need to help us out” by telling them about problems.
District 2, Glen Johnson – Johnson began his report by calling back to an issue discuss briefly last meeting: visible house numbers for 911 calls. He said something “needs done now.” The issue is that residents do not have retro-reflective, clearly and prominently marked numbers on their homes, making it hard for emergency responders to locate them when called. Johnson asked how they could “force people to do it.”
According to Mayor Sims and Police Chief Jay Cromer, the ordinance exists on the books already, but there is currently no means stated for enforcement by way of a penalty. Sims said he would like to research the topic in terms of what they can put in place legally in regards to fines or other penalties.
Johnson also brought up the item previously discussed of raising the usage rate for the municipal building (where Council meetings are held, as well as other town gatherings). After considering the need to both raise the rate and pay an hour of time for someone to inspect the building for cleanliness after each use, the Council passed a motion to raise the rate to $165 per day, with a $25 cleaning fee that could be refunded if the renter cleaned up after themselves sufficiently. The new rate will go into effect April 1, 2020, with anyone who has already booked for a future date receiving the old rate. Fred Lynch was the only member to vote “no.”
District 3, Rance “Rabbit” Galloway – According to Rabbit, there is a dangerous stop sign in his district that needs a “prepare to stop” sign placed before it, as it is difficult to see until you’re at it. Galloway has mentioned this item in previous meetings. He said he will call the County Engineer to see what could be done about this sign and others.
Galloway also brought up the issue of litter along the roadside by people using the ball park and other gathering areas. He insists that the people who litter should have to pick it up. Discussion by all included the fact that there is currently a $500 fine for littering in place, and the real problem is catching the people who are littering in the act. Lynch suggested that people be given an option of community service time to clean litter instead of paying the fine, which they may not be able to afford. Sims and Chief Cromer countered, saying that was up to the judge on a case by case basis.