By Lee Weyhrich, For The Tribune
ARGO – The mayor and Council of Argo covered a pretty extensive agenda Monday night, beginning with reports of various departments and organizations.
The City of Argo is still working off of an extension of the previous years’ budget and has not yet finalized a new budget. As a result, several necessary budget items must be addressed individually as they pop up.
Argo Fire Chief Mike Platts requested up to $400 from the council to pay for Community Emergency Response Team items. Argo’s CERT team is made up of certified members of the community who are trained to deal with disasters and emergency situations including fire safety, search and rescue, disaster medical operations and team organization.
Upon graduation from the program, each person is presented with a backpack filled with items necessary to those duties. The council voted unanimously to release up to $400 from the General Fund for four of these backpacks.
Jim Link of the Argo Food Bank gave the council an update on various donations for the holidays. The city’s food bank received donations from the antique mall in Springville, Birmingham Soccer League, Solid Rock Church, a Mr. and Mrs. Peoples, the Teen Council, Jeff Jones, anonymous donations of turkeys and for the repair of the food bank’s freezer and Crosspoint Church sent more than 20 packages of food. Springville Mayor William Isley also presented the Food Bank with a check.
The Food Bank is now faced with an issue of space. In addition to food items, the Food Bank also keeps various hygiene items and paper goods. In order to make more room for food donations, Link has requested the use of a storage room upstairs at city hall where these paper goods can be securely stored.
The council has tabled this decision until they determine how much space they can spare or if there is a way to create separate secure areas.
Similarly, Argo’s Christmas For Kids program also received a donation from Springville, presented by mayor Isley. Kristin Bowman reported on the progress of the program. This year the program is helping to provide for 12 children and seven families, Bowman said.
Emma Owen of the Argo Teen Council also gave a report on their recent and upcoming projects. The Teen Council recently helped with the Argo Christmas Parade, as well as the Christmas For Kids program. Members have also volunteered to dress as elves and lead children to Santa. The next project the council has proposed is a reading program geared towards the youth of Argo. The council has requested the use of City Hall for the program at a yet-to-be-decided date in January.
The council voted unanimously to allow the Alabama Department of Revenue to handle all rental taxes in Argo. Currently the reports must be made by city officials and sent in. The new system would automate the process and possibly lead to greater revenue due to incentives to use the program, ADOR representatives Pettus Strong and Lee Ann Rouse said.
Argo will take part in Alabama’s Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday on February 24-27, 2017. The holiday allows emergency items to be purchased tax-free.
The Council voted to join the National League of Cities and attend the national conference in Washington, D.C. March 11-16, 2017. The cost to join and take part will be around $1,000 to be taken out of the Education Fund. The council also voted to pay the travel and hotel expenses for mayor Betty Bradley.
With the recent rain the burn ban has been lifted. Burn permits can be obtained at City Hall.