By Crystal McGough, copy editor
PINSON – The Pinson City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday night establishing a Department of Public Safety in the city of Pinson.
Ordinance 2020-7 not only establishes the creation of the public safety department, but also addresses the department’s duties, the appointment and supervision of the department’s director, compensation, and the department’s relationship to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
“You’ll recall that, in December, this council changed Bob’s (Jones) job description to make him Director of Public Safety,” Pinson City Attorney Shane Black said. “It enumerated some of his duties that related to law enforcement. What this does is it serves primarily a purpose of identifying for ALEA (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) that Pinson has a public safety department, so different kinds of coding and things can be done by them from the state.
“As you can see, it identifies the duties of the Public Safety Department, primarily related, of course, to law enforcement. I would point out that this supplements the existing contract with contract deputies. It does not replace it in any way; it just supplements it.”
The ordinance lays out the duties of the Department of Public Safety as follows:
“The Public Safety Department shall:
Be charged with the preservation of peace and order in the city, the protection of all persons and property in the city, the enforcement of all criminal ordinances and criminal laws of Alabama, and the detection of criminals in the City;
Be charged with the enforcement of the City’s municipal ordinances, including but not limited to zoning ordinances, business license, and all other City ordinances;
Coordinate with and supplement the law enforcement activities of the Sheriff’s Department of Jefferson County;
Perform all the duties and responsibilities of a municipal police department under law and shall have all the powers conferred upon a department by virtue of ordinances of the City and Alabama law, and shall have such additional powers, and rights as may be lawfully imposed upon the Department by any administrative directive, resolution, rule ordinance or law; and
Designate, upon approval of its Director, emergency vehicles as necessary to provide for the safety of the general public and provide for the performance of the duties of the City.”
The council also passed Resolution 20-11, a resolution concerning the city’s agreement with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
Black told the council that this is an attachment that ratifies minor revisions to the contract the city accepted with the sheriff’s department in December for enhanced law enforcement services.
The primary change in wording that Black pointed out was in paragraph two of “Attachment 1,” which states, “The Sheriff anticipates that there will be four (4) deputies working assigned 8 hour shifts with patrol vehicles and equipment providing services for the City, in addition to normally assigned patrol units serving the area. The Sheriff, in his best judgment, determines the scheduling of the shifts as is appropriate to enhance law enforcement in the City …”
Additionally, the council unanimously approved a resolution and two ordinances concerning pieces of property in the city limits.
Resolution 20-12 authorized the city to purchase roughly 3 acres of land adjacent to Dry Creek for the amount of $2,500. Mayor Hoyt Sanders said that this land is about 90-95% floodplain.
According to Sanders, a home on the property burned down before Christmas and the home was not rebuildable, so the owner, who now lives out of state, offered to sell the property to the city.
“Adding 3 acres would prevent any disturbance there and continue to give us absorption and hopefully mitigate flooding in years to come,” Sanders said.
Ordinance 2020-6 authorized the annexation of properties at 6059 and 6055 Lakeside Drive into the corporate limits of the city of Pinson. Councilor John Churchwell said that these two pieces of property add up to about 80 acres.
Ordinance 2020-8 addressed the rezoning of real estate at 3108 and 3104 Sweeney Hollow Road from Jefferson County R4 (Multi-Family) to City of Pinson District CI (Community Institutional).
“Some of you may remember we purchased 34 acres on Sweeney Hollow for conservation purposes,” Sanders said. “So this comes recommended from Planning Commission to go from county multi-family to municipal community institutional.”
One resident, Cathy Jensen, spoke during the hearing for this rezoning, to ask the council what the intended use for the property would be. Sanders informed her that the property would be “perpetual green space” because it is 90% floodplain.
“It was actually zoned ‘Apartments’ under Jefferson County, and Community Institutional is just where we put things like that, Turkey Creek (and) other places,” he said.
Counselor Dawn Tanner nominated Mayor Hoyt Sanders and councilors John Churchwell and Robbie Roberts to be the city of Pinson’s voting delegates for the Alabama League of Municipalities convention, which begins Monday, March 9.
A motion was unanimously approved to appoint Sanders as the delegate, Churchwell as the first alternate and Roberts as the second alternate.
In other news, the council heard a report from attorney Nick Greenwood, with Hand Arendall LLC, concerning possible bond refinancing for the city’s Bicentennial Park and Rock School loans.
“The reality is that it would potentially save thousands of dollars,” Counselor Roberts said.
No action was taken on this matter Thursday night, but the council expects to hear back from Greenwood and a representative from Joe Jolly & Co., Inc at the March 19 pre-council meeting.
The next meeting of the Pinson City Council will be Thursday, March 19, 2020, at Pinson City Hall. Pre-council begins at 6:30 p.m. and the regular council meeting begins at 7 p.m.