Paying the Bills
After approving the minutes of the previous meeting and accepting the financial statements for the month of January, the Council approved payment for two items for the Parks and Recreations Department. One invoice was for concessions inventory of $352, and the other a background check for a new concessions manager in the amount of $305. Cheryl Rice passed her background check and was approved by the Council to get the job.
The delivery car for the Senior Center fell dead in the water recently and had to be taken for repairs. The invoice for repairs was approved.
The Kelly Group invoiced $766, $65, and $695 for service on the sewer system recently. These were approved to be paid.
Payment of $617 for new software for the sewer system was approved. The software was installed last year but has not yet been put into service.
Retirement Plan Decision
Just as Brent City Council recently discussed, Woodstock must also decide about accepting a state-approved change to retirement plans for municipal employees. Mayor Jeff Dodson asked Town Clerk Tiffney McCulley to explain the basics to the Council. Tier 1 retirement benefits were taken away from new hires in 2011, but are now being made available to new and current employees who were hired since 2011, but only if the municipality approves the change.
Tier 1 benefits are generally considered to be preferable, with earlier possible retirement and higher rates. However, like any benefit, the cost is higher. According to McCulley, very few towns have so far implemented the change because of the associated cost of $5,000 per year per employee, retroactively to 2011, including employees no longer working for the city. As it stands currently, this would cost Woodstock about $75,000.
“I don’t think we can afford it right now,” Mayor Dodson put in.
Councilman Bowling requested the issue be tabled pending more research and thought on the matter, as the change does not have to be made immediately. The motion was approved to table for later.
Library Deed Dispute
Legal action is underway regarding a contested property line associated with the Woodstock Community Library. The property was donated by the Kinard family for use in building a library. A neighbor now claims the property line is wrong on the plot map, and claims markers were moved many years ago, before the property was donated. The total area in dispute is roughly 8/10 of an acre.
According to the Town’s Attorney, the dispute has been recorded, using deeds filed “over 100 years ago.”
The Council agreed to take a “wait and see” approach, having now been informed of the issue.
A Police Officer recently departed to work for Northport after the Town of Woodstock paid his way through the police academy. As is standard practice that “rarely actually happens,” according to Mayor Dodson, when an officer leaves within two years of being put through the academy by a city, the money is owed back to the city. The City of Northport sent payment to reimburse Woodstock $12,000 for this expense. “It’s nice when it happens,” Dodson added.
Resolution 2020-2-3, for renewing the agreement between ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) and Woodstock, wherein Woodstock is to be reimbursed for cutting the grass in the medians and along State Highways 5 and 11. This renewal of agreement was approved by the Council.
According to Clerk Tiffney McCulley, the Postmaster will no longer allow public notices to be posted at the Post Office. As a result, all Woodstock Public Notices will from now on be posted at the Library. The Council approved this change as a Resolution.
Zoning and Planning
The Planning and Zoning Commission met just before the Town Council Meeting, and Building Inspector Larry West presented their plan for the plat at Exit 100 on Interstate 20. After all council members looked over the plan for expanding the area for a larger fuel station, they approved the new plan unanimously.
Another change discussed by the Council was to give authority to approve minor changes as needed to the Zoning Commission without having to seek approval of the Council.