By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune — A public hearing was held for several abandoned properties in Center Point that will undergo a final assessment before being demolished. Afterwards, the Center Point City Council held its regular meeting on Thursday night in which the council approved the purchase of equipment for the city’s facilities and extended a contract with Advanced Disposal.
Barlow said that the council was advised by legal counsels to extend the contract for three months to review the contract and make changes. Mandatory garbage service was brought up during discussion. A representative from Advanced Disposal said that mandatory collection is a state law but enforced by counties and municipalities.
She said that mandatory gives them “a little more leeway because we’re going by that house regardless, so it’s not adding additional service for us, it’s actually – we’re going right by there, we stop, pick it up – so it actually assists us in assessing our costs.”
Barlow asked her if the city would see reduction in costs. She said that Center Point uses more services from Advanced than surrounding areas and that the costs there are the lowest and that the company has not increased fees “in a while.” She also said that citizens get a service with Advanced where, in addition to garbage from cans being picked up, other materials outside cans can picked up as well.
The council approved to extend the contract unanimously.
Before the regular meeting, at 6:15 p.m., the public hearing was opened on the assessment of properties located on 5th Street Northeast, 23rd Avenue Northwest, Woodland Court Northeast, Huffman Road, 5th Place Northwest and 6th Place Northwest. These properties have been spoken in about in prior meetings, including one on Oct. 22, 2017 in which the council voted to approve demolitions.
Out of the six properties discussed, two people spoke to the council during the hearing. One was from the Vega family on the 23rd Avenue Northwest home. They have been trying to persuade the council to allow them to make repairs to the home, which was damaged in a 2012 tornado outbreak.
Similar to other meetings, Council President Roger Barlow and building inspection superintendent Ricky Hinkle said that the repairs on the home were not feasible and that costs would be too much to handle.
Center Point resident Harold Thompson, the owner of the 6th Place Northwest property, spoke and said that he had no interest in maintaining it and that he would be willing to deed the land to the city. The council decided, on the advice of legal counsel, to go ahead and approve the resolution for assessing the property before taking up Thompson’s offer of deeding it.
After the hearing was closed, the council continued on to its regular meeting. No one signed up for public comments.
The council then heard from Ephraim Stockdale, who is on the Associates Council at Alabama Communities of Excellence or ACE, an organization that assists communities of 2,000 to 18,000 residents in development. He said that six communities were chosen this year, with Center Point being among them.
Stockdale outlined a three-phase plan for the city. The first was “assessment” or a study of the community’s situation in which a team visits a city and makes recommendations on strategies. The next two were “leadership development and strategic planning” and “implementation and comprehensive planning.” Stockdale said that a team has been to Center Point to study it.
The presentation, however, was not met positively by all. A resident in the crowd of approximately 20 people spoke and said that the council did not support the people. Stockdale responded and said “Don’t set yourself up for failure” and to keep a “positive mind.”
A report on Center Point can be seen here on the ACE website.
After the presentation by Stockdale, the council approved the final assessments of all of the properties that were discussed in the public hearing.
Following this was the approval of several purchases for the city’s facilities. The council voted to lease copiers for the Hilldale property for $377.84 per month. The council also purchased equipment (poles, posts, etc.) from Sport Imports for volleyball and badminton systems at $7,219.15.
$3, 900 was approved to purchase software for the future community center at Hilldale property. The software would handle credit card processing, scheduling, registration and other functions. The council then voted to approve $12,000 to Laser Top Grade to aerate and level the Youth Football field.
The next Center Point City Council meeting will be held on April 12 with pre-council at 6:45, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.