By Nathan Prewett
For The Tribune
SPRINGVILLE — The ongoing talk of a park director continued at a Springville City Council meeting on Monday night. A resolution drafted to create and fund a position for park director with a $40,000 annual salary was brought up, but after much discussion it was defeated with a tie vote.
At the June 18 meeting, the position was discussed but tabled until after a budget committee review. Several members of the parks and recreation board stood and spoke at the Monday night meeting on July 2, including chairman Mike Ennis, who said that the position was “critical” and urged the Council to move forward with it. He addressed concerns that were raised at the last meeting about the city being able to afford it.
“This position that we’re talking about,” he said. “This parks and rec position at the highest possible amount only impacts less than one percent of our budget as a whole.”
Springville Mayor William Isley pointed out that other cities with smaller budgets, such as Pinson and Clay, have parks that were able to produce enough revenue to pay directors and staff. He expressed his belief in being able to fund such a position for Springville.
“It’s not just a personal decision of Council,” he said. “It is a community decision.”
Chip Martin, who serves as chairman of the budget committee and member of the Parks and Recreation board, spoke on the position. He said that it could “easily be budgeted” with the current budget after reviewing finances. He recommended that the Council approve.
However, Councilor Herbert Toles raised concerns about current city employees, saying that there are some who have said that they have not had raises in their salaries. He asked if the budget would address pay raises and insurance by the end of the year with the addition of a park director.
Following this was a discussion over the priorities of pay raises and other city expenditures along with funding the parks and recreation director. Similar to the last meeting, Councilor David Jones said that he was not opposed to a park director but he thought that the city should “work out all these different things before we make that decision.”
Isley, along Councilors David Vinson, Katrina Hennings and Sherry Reaves voted in favor while Toles, Wayne Tucker, Tim Walker and Jones opposed, defeating the motion.
The May budget report was given during the meeting. Martin reported several highlights of a meeting held last week that covered eight months of the city’s budget, including the city being $160,000 ahead of budget in sales tax revenue. In March there was a one-time tax abatement of $43,000.
In general funds through May the city had revenue over expenses of approximately $800,000. He said that close to $500,000 in reserves was budgeted but may come down slightly as revenue is front-loaded from business licenses and other things. He made a recommendation that the Council approve the May budget, which the council did unanimously.
The Council discussed an agreement with Spire Natural Gas for the installation of a gas line at the sports complex maintenance building. Fire Chief Richard Harvey spoke on the matter, saying that Spire offered to make the installation free of charge if the city agrees to several conditions.
One would be conveying a general easement for all utilities used. Others included commit to using natural gas for heating and water heating in the maintenance building as well as in the storm shelter and natural gas for cooking at the existing concession stand at the complex. The Council approve the agreement unanimously.
Afterwards, the Council passed a resolution authorizing a permanent, full-time position and pay increase of Springville Police Chief Belinda Crapet. She served as interim chief after the retirement of Bill Lyle.
Next on the agenda, the Council approved the purchase of defibrillators for the fire department under $100,000. Harvey spoke on this and said that he wanted to replace the current defibrillators first purchased in 2008 with upgraded technology. Among the functions of new technology is allowing firefighters to automatically transmit an EKG strip from a patient’s house to a hospital. Additionally the department sought out an AutoPulse, which is a CPR machine.
“From a technological standpoint it can do quite a few things,” he said. “There’s some new technology out on the monitoring side of it that gives us some capabilities that we currently don’t have.”
In other business, the council approved:
- $855 to the Beautification Board for additional planters for downtown;
- $1500 for safety fencing at Springville Public Library;
- $225 for fencing at Woody Park;
- Cost up to $1500 for Speedbreaker removal at Pine and Robinson St.;
- $41,653 for sodium hypochlorite and sodium bisulfate pump skids for wastewater treatment;
- Entering an agreement with Middle Alabama Agency on Aging for the fiscal year 2019 nutrition contract; and
- Entering into a lease purchase agreement for police body cameras and tasers, as well as a body camera for the fire department.
The next Springville City Council meeting will be held on July 16 at 6 p.m.