By Gary Lloyd
CLAY — Clay Mayor Charles Webster said he will go to Washington D.C. if he has to.
At the Jan. 20 Clay City Council meeting, Councilman Bo Johnson threw out “for thought” the idea of setting boundaries for the city limits and annexing in everything inside those boundaries.
Johnson said he hopes the council can develop a “united vision” of what Clay could become and get residents to “rally” behind it. Johnson said the city’s Annexation Committee is “working hard” to lure more people and businesses to Clay.
“That was just on my heart this week,” Johnson said at the meeting.
The topic of annexation spawned into quite the discussion.
Webster said City Manager Ronnie Dixon received a Birmingham Business Journal report on the wealthiest ZIP codes in the Birmingham metro area. The list ranks the 25 wealthiest ZIP codes in Jefferson, Shelby and St. Clair counties. The city of Trussville — ZIP code 35173 — ranked seventh. The city of Pinson — ZIP code 35126 — ranked 15th.
Where did Clay rank? That’s a trick question.
Clay does not have its own ZIP code, so it couldn’t be ranked. The city’s borders are not defined and closed, a requirement for a city’s own ZIP code. Most of the city shares the Pinson ZIP code, while some falls under Trussville’s.
Webster said that when Clay residents make purchases online and have to enter their ZIP code, some of the revenue from those purchases go to Trussville or Pinson, not Clay. He believes that in five years, 50 percent of shopping will be done online.
Webster said he knows acquiring Clay’s own ZIP code is an “uphill battle,” but he said the city will work hard toward that goal, even going to Washington D.C. if city officials have to do so.
Webster said many people live in unincorporated Jefferson County but believe they’re in the city of Clay. He also said there’s a lot of sales tax revenue to be had by annexing up Chalkville Mountain Road in the Grayson Valley area. Dixon said ACE Hardware and Jack’s have said they’d annex into the city.
Councilman Ricky Baker, however, said there’s no need to annex up Chalkville Mountain Road or expand the city. He said he wants the city to annex or expand for “a purpose.” He wants a plan in place or gaps to be filled in before the city expands. Baker would like to see businesses express their desire to become a part of Clay in writing, he said.
The Clay City Council at the Jan. 20 meeting also approved updates to the city’s comprehensive plan. The plan includes the city’s major street plan, future land use, planned zoning and zoning changes.
Another issue facing the city is the Clay Post Office on Old Springville Road. It almost closed two years ago, Webster said, but is still open for now. Webster said city officials could go to the Postmaster General to find out how to make Clay’s own ZIP code happen.
The Clay Post Office and Palmerdale Post Office were on a May 2012 list to have their window hours cut sometime in the next two years. The May 2012 announcement described it as a “framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.” From Jan. 1 to March 31, the USPS had a net loss of $3.2 billion, the USPS website states.
Manager of Post Office Operations Willie Trawick told those who attended a community input meeting in Clay in March 2013 that new post office operating hours would be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours would be 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Trawick said.
A survey aimed at gathering community input and opinion on the re-alignment of the post office’s operational needs and business hours was sent to 276 Clay residents. Only 66 returned the survey.
Webster said the current six-hour daily business hours have been satisfactory, but also said he didn’t want to see those hours reduced any further.
“Our goal is to let the citizens know you need to use your local post office to keep it open,” Webster said in March 2013.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.