By Terry Schrimscher
SPRINGVILLE — The City of Springville certified the winners of the October 6 runoff elections at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Sherrie Reaves won reelection for her seat in District 7 and Marshall Parker won his race for District 6.
After the votes were certified, the council held its first regular meeting of the month beginning with three public hearings. The first hearing was a request for an alcoholic beverage license for The Farmhouse restaurant on Purple Heart Blvd. No one spoke in objection and the request was granted later in the meeting.
The other hearings were residential zoning requests. One, for 43 Gin Street, was to change the current zoning from R1 to R4. The other, for 131 Fern Creek Circle, was to zone newly annexed property as R1 residential. There were no objections and both requests were granted when voted on later in the meeting.
Near the end of the meeting, Mayor William Isley presented the city budget for fiscal year 2021. The new $8.1 million budget proposal included $300,000 for paving, a nearly triple increase from past budgets, and a $638,000 reserve set aside for unforeseen expenses.
The proposed budget also included health insurance benefits for city employees. The new budget request would cover health insurance for employees at 100% and family member coverage at 70%. Mayor Isley explained the benefits had been reduced several years ago and the improved coverage would make the city more competitive with other cities in the area in terms of hiring and retention.
The council voted no on the proposal and the city will continue on the current budget until a new budget is proposed and passed.
The council also heard a discussion on a proposed ordinance that would cede ownership of two pieces of real estate to the Springville Commercial Development Authority (CDA). The discussion revolved around a downtown property where a farmer’s market was once located and 60 acres of land near the interstate. Kris Bishop was on hand to answer questions for the CDA.
According to the discussion, the city cannot buy and sell land for commercial use due to statutes limiting the value of such transactions. Transferring ownership of the property would allow the CDA to negotiate directly with potential businesses for use of the property and help the Authority generate revenue to help local businesses.
After much discussion, the council voted no on the ordinance. The new city government, which will be seated in November, will have the ability to readdress the issue at a later date.
The council also heard an update on the ongoing Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve project. Representatives for the project, which is part of the State of Alabama’s Forever Wild initiative, provided an update on recent park user opinion surveys and requested a letter be sent from the city to St. Clair County requesting assistance with roads into the property to facilitate the next stage of development.
Councilman Herbert Toles spoke on a proposal to rescind Resolution 2020-24 which had been passed unanimously in the last meeting on September 21. The resolution would have changed the name of Sunset Drive in Springville to Herbert Toles Jr. Drive.
Toles thanked Mayor Isley and members of the council for the honor but asked that they reconsider changing the street name. He said he didn’t want the address changes to cause problems for residents who might have trouble getting mail or medicines delivered.