By Crystal McGough
The Pinson City Council met at noon Tuesday to canvass the results of the Oct. 9 runoff election between Council Place 3 candidates George “Robbie” Roberts and Jeffrey “Jeff” Walden.
The council unanimously passed the resolution, which declared Roberts duly elected to Council Place 3 beginning the first Monday in November.
Roberts received 175 votes in the runoff election and Walden received 130 votes.
“Congratulations to Mr. Roberts and welcome to council,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said. Councilman Joe Cochran also welcomed Roberts to the council.
One provisional ballot was cast, but City Clerk Marie Turner said the Board of Registrars labeled it a “do not count” ballot.
The council also passed a motion to pay for Roberts, and any other council member who wishes, to attend the Alabama League of Municipalities Orientation Conference for Elected Officials and Municipal Personnel on Nov. 14 in Birmingham. Councilman John Churchwell said the cost of the conference is usually about $100 per person.
Churchwell said the conference is a training session for newly elected officials, but experienced city officials may also attend the conference to get “refreshed” training.
In addition, the council elected Churchwell to attend the National League of Cities’ Conference in Boston, Mass., as the council’s voting delegate. The conference will be Nov. 28 through Dec
At Pinson’s next council meeting, the council is expected to vote on renewing its contract with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for enhanced law enforcement in the city. The council presented the resolution and contract for first reading Tuesday.
Through this contract, the sheriff’s office places four contract deputies in the city limits of Pinson for 40 hours per week per deputy. The cost to the city is $339,890.26 per year.
Each year, the contract has to either be renewed or have an amendment extension, which extends the contract through the council approving certain amendments to the document. This is the third amendment to the contract since the original contract was signed Nov. 13, 2009.
“Most of you know that we are very fortunate in Jefferson County to be able to participate in the enhanced law enforcement with the county sheriff,” Sanders said.
As for amendments, there is a new paragraph in the contract, which speaks to “equipment.”
Paragraph 24 of the contract states, “From time to time, the Sheriff, upon the City’s consent, may place various equipment and/or vehicles with the City…In such event, the City may use such equipment and/or vehicles in connection with any and all business and operations of the City, including business and operations that may relate to or have an impact on counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities.”
In May, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office placed a surplus “deuce and a half” personnel transporter military vehicle in the city. This vehicle falls under the amendment to the enhanced law enforcement contract.
“Since 9/11, the federal government has made every effort to place surplus equipment with the law enforcement agencies,” Sanders said. “The sheriff is eligible to receive those items. Obviously, us being a contract city, we are fortunate enough to reap the benefit.”
Although the truck is still the property of the U. S. Government, it is assigned to the sheriff’s office and stationed in Pinson. Sanders said that he believes these vehicles have also been stationed in Clay and Center Point.
“As some of us mayors teased, Pinson is not going to declare war on Clay or any local city, as far as I know,” Sanders said. “It’s primarily (for) emergency use. For example, if we have another tornado or flood event, obviously these military vehicles can get into and out of areas that normal trucks and ambulances cannot. That’s going to be an asset to us.”
The city will be responsible for minor maintenance to the vehicle, as well as putting the vehicle on the city’s liability insurance coverage.
“In any case, should we need that vehicle, say for a crisis…there is some language which speaks to our making accommodation for that on our liability insurance,” Sanders said.
In other news, the council appointed David Gillian to replace John Harrison on the city Planning Commission.
“Mr. Gillian lives…in the city limit,” Sanders said. “He has years of experience with the county in their Land Development department and is retiring in about nine months from the county.”
Harrison passed away in September before his term had expired. He had been on the Planning Commission since its foundation. Last year, Harrison renewed a 6-year term with the city. Gillian will be finishing the last five years of the term.
“While we will never replace Mr. Harrison’s expertise and experience, Mr. Gillian brings a wealth of information to the table, as well,” Sanders said.
The mayor also presented for first reading a resolution to appoint Gillian to fill Harrison’s position on the Board of Zoning Adjustments. That term expires in December.
“Mr. Harrison was the Planning Commission’s representative on the BZA,” Sanders said. “Since Mr. Gillian does live within the limit, he is also eligible to fill that seat.”
In addition, the council passed a resolution to renew Danny Churchwell’s membership to the Library Board. Councilman Churchwell abstained from the vote due to Danny Churchwell being his son.
The next Pinson City Council will be Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. with a pre-council meeting at 6:30 p.m. The council will also meet on Monday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. for the swearing in of the new council by Justice Mike Bolin. A short organizational meeting for the council will follow.
Photo credit: Crystal McGough