By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville City Council met in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The council approved several resolutions concerning the coronavirus pandemic.
One resolution was to mirror the Department of Revenue’s template on late payment penalty waivers on certain business classifications. The waivers will cover penalties through June 1, 2020. In another resolution, the city approved a move to waive local alcohol tax through June 30, 2020.
The council also approved resolutions in support of the Stay at Home Order issued by Governor Kay Ivey. Council President Zack Steele first consulted with city attorneys to see how the city could approve a more strict curfew to help police enforce the order. However, the state’s order already allows for the enforcement of guidelines Steele was inquiring about.
Steele said the resolutions passed supporting state orders will inform the public of how serious the city is taking the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is going to let the public know that our police department and our public safety folks are going to be serious about enforcing this public health order,” said Steele. “We’re not going to get back to normal until this virus gets mitigated.”
Another resolution was approved showing support of the Gov. Ivey’s and the State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris’ mandates concerning COVID-19.
“We do believe in what they’re trying to do and we do believe in social distancing,” said Steele.
The council also passed a resolution encouraging residents to use protective masks while in public.
During the workshop session, the reappointment of Trussville City Schools Board of Education member Kathy Brown was discussed. Brown’s seat is expiring in May. Brown currently serves as the president of the BOE.
Councilmember Jef Freeman recommended the approval. Freeman serves as the BOE liaison to the council. Councilmember Brian Plant seconded the recommendation.
Before a vote, Council President Steele opened the measure to a discussion. Councilmember Perry Cook spoke first, saying he is disappointed that some members of the council have not reached out to others who applied for the position.
Councilmember Freeman said he considered all candidates but said with the climate nationwide, it is best to stay with a proven leader, such as Brown.
Councilmember Brian Plant then spoke up and said the current board has served well and has the council’s full support.
Councilmember Alan Taylor said he has considered other candidates. He said he reviewed resumes in-depth. Taylor said with the current board, it is evident, by the successes within the school system, that things are being done in the best interest of the students and teachers.
Council President Steele said he believes the school system has been successful, but that he would appreciate the process of vetting each applicant.
Brown was reappointed by a vote with no nays. Councilman Zack Steele said he will clarify that he abstained because he did not vote either way.
“I abstained,” Steele said. “And I’ll make sure that is reflected in the record.”
Brown’s next term will expire on May 25, 2025.
The downtown redevelopment project is continuing, despite the coronavirus crisis. In fact, the city approved a resolution awarding a bid to EBS Group, Inc. for the A/V/L (audio, video, lighting) system on the downtown entertainment district stage. The $697,603.52 contract will include a large LED video wall that will be behind the stage. The wall will be over 27 feet wide and over 12 feet tall. Mayor Buddy Choat said the wall can be used to promote events and for advertisers. He believes the high quality of the A/V/L will attract national talent.
A resolution passed awarded a bid for a pouring contract to Coca-Cola. The city has to put the Parks and Recreations’ pouring contract out for bid every three years. The resolution was approved unanimously.
A resolution was approved to gain access to three properties for the city’s new downtown loop road. The properties are on Chalkville Road, Will Street and Vann Circle. The city is gaining the right-of-way and a temporary construction easement for the downtown loop road project.
The city also amended a formerly approved resolution for the acquisition of another property on Vann Road, to include an exhibit that was previously left out.
Councilmember Taylor abstained from the votes on the loop road project, because he works for Trussville First Baptist, which has been impacted by the loop road project.
Another resolution approves Mayor Choat to execute an agreement with Stifel as the underwriter for Series 2020 warrants. Choat said the city has been looking at refinancing some things since November, in order to put money back into the city.
“We didn’t know at that time that COVID-19 was going to be as disruptive as it is now,” said Choat. “The market is not ready for it now, but we’ve got to get all of our preliminary work for this.”
Choat said that financial council is advising the city on refinancing and when the time is right he will be able to come back to the council for further approval.
Items approved as part of the consent agenda are listed below.
- Accounts Payable
- Promote Jessie Clifton to Fire Lieutenant, Grade 20, Step 8
- Accept resignation of Steve Phillips effective April 15, 2020
The Trussville Tribune streamed the Zoom meeting live on Facebook. You can watch the entire workshop and meeting below.