By Crystal McGough
The Pinson City Council held a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at noon, to canvas the votes from the election. The council additionally moved its regular meeting, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, to Sept. 1, taking place immediately following the canvasing.
During the canvasing portion of the meeting, city clerk Marie Turner opened two provisional ballets. The first included one vote for Joe Cochran for mayor and no votes for City Council Place 5.
The second provisional ballot included one vote for Joe Cochran for mayor and one vote for Glenda Kirkland for Place 5.
The new official numbers after canvasing are as follows:
Mayor – Richard “Joe” Cochran (433); Hoyt Sanders (389 )
Place 5 – Chris Esquire (218); Glenda Kirkland (538)
The council passed Resolutions 20-15 and 20-16, approving the canvas and election results, with Mayor Hoyt Sanders abstaining.
During the regular city council meeting, the council unanimously approved Ordinance 20-40, authorizing the city to enter into a lease agreement with Birmingham-Southern College for the new pavilion being built at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
“We have been working with Birmingham-Southern, Freshwater Land Trust and the new partners at the Turkey Creek preserve to swap 30 acres of flood plain on Sweeney Hollow with 30 acres, roughly, of land that was part of the original Turkey Creek project, on which is going a pavilion,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said. “(The MOA) will function very similar to the PHCC (Palmerdale Homestead Community Center). We will — you might say — own or maintain that, major capital maintenance; but the Birmingham Southern, through their park ranger and other, will handle the scheduling and minor maintenance.”
Sanders added that he is “very excited to see that pavilion come forth.”
The council also passed Resolution 2020-17, approving a demolition bid for 4229 Main Street. Bids for the demolition were taken earlier in the year, prior to the Covid-19 shutdown, and the lowest responsible bidder was determined to be Jones Valley Industries, in the amount of $17,640.
“Council started condemnation by imminent domain in early 2020,” Sanders said. “… We filed suit on … what we’ve sort of dubbed the laundromat on Main Street and the fruit stand by the park. We are finally getting some light at the end of the tunnel.
“As a reminder, the Main Street (property), that’s dearer to no one than it is to me, but the flood hazard area from about where the laundromat is to past Price’s just simply ties our hands and there is no way to fix that. It’s not a matter of if it will flood, but when.”
Counselor Robbie Roberts made a motion for the city to request a copy of the plan that the Chamber of Commerce will submit to the health department regarding the Alabama Butter Bean Festival, so that the city of Pinson will have the opportunity to review it, as well.
“At the last meeting, Mr. (Ronnie) Dixon was here and we discussed whether or not we wanted to move forward with the Butter Bean celebration,” Roberts said. “It seemed to be the consensus that we move forward. It’s no secret that I’ve got a lot of reservations about whether or not we can pull this thing off, but I decided that in light of the fact that we wanted to move forward, we needed to see what we would need to do to actually do it right.”
Roberts said that he had a conversation with the city attorney, Shane Black, regarding the diligence the city would need to do in order to comply with state law.
“The order that the governor has given out, it will go through at least the first night of the Butter Bean Festival,” Roberts said. “(Black) also stressed the fact that the governor’s order has the affect of law; so naturally this isn’t just a suggestion, this is actually the requirements the state has put forward. One of the requirements is that if you hold an outdoor event where 10 or more people are present, you must be able to maintain 6-foot distancing and masks must be worn.”
Roberts said he also had a conversation with the people over infectious disease at the Jefferson County Health Department.
“They were not aware of the Butter Bean Festival attempting to continue on, but they were definitely very interested in what our plans would be,” he said. “What the health department requires is the submission of a plan showing what we are planning on doing and about what steps that we’re going to take to ensure that we uphold the law.”
Barry Wilson of the Clay-Pinson Chamber of Commerce said that the plan is already being worked out.
“Ronnie (Dixon) has already talked to the health department and the county and we’re headed in the direction that you’re talking about in what we’re doing,” Wilson said. “Just to let you know, it’s all being done and we’re taking care of that right now.”
Councilor Dawn Tanner clarified that the social distancing requirement is for 6 feet between each family unit, and Councilor John Churchwell added that the most recent update regarding social distancing states that people cannot be within 6 feet of one another for more than 15 minutes.
“There’s not that many people going to walk up and stand around and talk to the same people (outside their family unit) for 15 minutes,” Churchwell said. “They’re going to move on. So the social distancing, to me, is really not going to be a problem.”
The motion to request the plan from the Chamber of Commerce passed unanimously.
Under new business, the council passed a motion to approve repairs to the amphitheater at the pavilion structure site in the amount of $22,400.
The council also passed Resolution 20-28, authorizing the lease of a city-owned house to a local family in need. Mayor Sanders said that the house normally has a deputy living in it, but has been empty for several months, and the city was contacted by one of the schools concerning a family looking for somewhere to lease or rent within the city. The lease will be for six months while the family looks for a more permanent residence.
Councilor Joy McCain said that the enhancements committee is planning to make provisions for a drive-thru Veteran’s Day lunch and offered a motion before the council to approve a $5,000 limit for the event.
“Lunch with a gift,” she said. “We always give them a gift.”
The motion passed unanimously, but the date is still to be determined.
“Obviously veterans are some of our susceptible population,” Sanders said. “We love hosting our veterans, but this year, that would just be inappropriate given (the) health crisis.”
The next meeting of the Pinson City Council will be Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, at Pinson City Hall. Pre-council begins at 6:30 p.m. and the regular council meeting begins at 7 p.m.