By Megan Miller, Editor
TRUSSVILLE – Tuesday’s Trussville City Council meeting included two public hearings on alcohol applications and the approval of a number of projects.
General Manager of the Trussville Courtyard Marriott, Rhondell Brown, appeared on behalf of the hotel for its on-premises alcohol application. At this time, beer and wine is available for purchase in the hotel’s market, but the buffet style restaurant in the hotel has been converted to a full-service bistro.
“We’ve already done training called TIPS training,” Brown said. “It trains our associates to be able to identify fake IDs, things like that.”
Brown said International Marriott would also come to Trussville to offer training once the license has been approved.
“Anyone that appears to be under the age of 45 will be carded,” Brown said. “Marriott is very strict, very high standards.”
While Marriott employees have already completed the TIPS training, Council President Bryan Plant asked that Brown return during the next council meeting after getting approval to become a member of ABC’s Responsible Vendor training from Marriott Corporate.
“There are rules and regulations for the sale of alcohol, and if those rules are violated, the consequences can be very serious,” Plant said. “We ask every vendor that comes here the same things we’re asking you so they understand the gravity of what they’re doing.”
Fresh Value Market also attended the meeting to apply for an off-premises alcohol license. This would encompass selling beer and wine at the store that would be consumed off-site.
Fresh Value’s new owner, Jerry D’Alessandro, owns two other grocery stores, and he said neither has ever been cited for an alcohol or tobacco violation.
“We have our own in-house training in addition to the Responsible Vendor training,” D’Alessandro said. “As long as the cashier confirms the person handing them the ID is that person, they key in the date and the system tells them yes they can purchase or no they can’t.”
D’Alessandro said the store employees will be trained to ask for ID from anyone who appears under the age of 40. The council unanimously approved the license.
The council also approved a resolution recognizing the Alabama 200 Bicentennial celebration.
“Alabama is celebrating its 200th birthday and the city of Trussville is also right around its 200th birthday as well,” Councilman Zack Steele said.
The resolution will allow the city to organize a celebration to coincide with the bicentennial.
The next item of business was a resolution for the Greenway Ball Field project grant.
“You may or may not know the Parks and Recreation Department is writing a grant to renovate and improve the two fields behind the library,” Steele said.
Steele said the Parks and Recreation Department is applying for a $150,000 grant, and one of the caveats of the grant application is the backing of the city to match those funds if the grants are approved.
The grant was approved unanimously. Councilman Steele later pointed out that the field will be named after the Greenway, and has no bearing on the ongoing Greenway project.
Next for discussion was raising Trussville’s lodging tax from three percent to six percent. Steele said that the lodging tax in Trussville is lower than most areas in Jefferson County, and the revenue will help Trussville complete many needed projects, although none of the funds will be earmarked for specific projects.
“I know when everyone hears ‘tax’ they panic,” Councilman Alan Taylor said. “This isn’t a tax on the citizens of Trussville, it’s a tax on the people that come to visit Trussville.”
Taylor said a number of years ago the council and management from local hotels came together to discuss the topic, and hotel management and ownership was in support of the tax at that time.
Councilman Jef Freeman was the only councilman to vote no on the matter.
“I think taking that tax to double is more than I can support,” Freeman said.
The final order of business was approving the city’s new motor vehicle policy.
City Clerk Lynn Porter said the policy requires the city check the driver’s license history of all drivers at least every three years, it requires city employees use seatbelts and requires city employees report any and all accidents immediately. The resolution passed unanimously.