By Terry Schrimsher
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville City Council began the regularly scheduled meeting on May 20, 2019, with a spirited debate on the use of public works funds in various districts. The discussion began during the work session prior to the meeting and erupted again during the regular session.
Councilman Herbert Toles, of District 1, previously requested city workers to mow and use weedeaters around ditches in his district. He cited decades of precedence in accommodating such requests.
Mayor William Isley presented an expense estimate to the council to explain the personnel costs of providing additional mowing services to the district and suggested it would need to be approved by the entire council. Isley said such services, if approved, should be provided to all districts equally.
“We don’t have enough resources,” said Isley. “I have the costs of a temporary employee, the ones employed through the temporary company we use, and the projected costs of contracting with a lawn service. Thirdly, I have the cost of hiring our very own city employee tasked with providing that service.”
Toles cited years of tradition in maintaining the ditches in his district and expressed his belief that maintaining the ditches was a matter of safety, health and quality of life for his constituents.
“I’m not for or against it, but it does not need to be a mayor’s decision of spending money,” said Mayor Isley. “It needs to be a council decision knowing we don’t currently employ the resources to do that.”
The discussion resumed in the regular council meeting with input from Earl Peoples, director of public works, who has been working to fill vacancies in the workforce for the city. Councilman Wayne Tucker, of District 3, proposed hiring two temporary employees tasked with weed eating the ditches.
“What we do out here is very hard work,” said Peoples. “If we are going to hire anybody, they should just be in the fold. Somebody’s going to cut in every district every day. I’d rather just have 10 people out here.”
According to Peoples, public works should maintain the ditches, not temporary workers.
The council voted and agreed to allow public works to hire two general labor positions to fill the open jobs within the department.
In other business, the council unanimously approved Ordinance 2019-14, which rezoned the strip mall property at 5383 US Highway 11 from a business zoning to light industrial. This ordinance would allow the current tenant to build additional storage units on the property.
The council also approved Ordinance 2019-15 to declare a sales tax holiday in the city before the beginning of the school year.
The council also agreed to Resolution 2019-15, which is mandated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). The resolution is required by ADEM to presented annually to address water pollution prevention efforts.
The council unanimously approved the appointment of Christy Ennis to the Historical Commission. Ennis is a resident in the Springville historical district and her appointment fills the last vacant spot on the commission.
Police Chief Belinda Crapet was called on to discuss traffic concerns related to pedestrian crosswalks in the city. She discussed safety concerns with drivers ignoring the right of way at the crosswalks and the council discussed various options including lights at the crossings and pricing for the purchase and installation of the signals.
After all of the agenda items were addressed, Isley moved the council into Executive Session outside of the public hearing. City Attorney James Hill presented a letter into record detailing the circumstances under which the council may move from a public forum to a private session. In this instance, the discussion involved potential security concerns. After a 45 minute closed-door meeting, no further action was recommended by the council.