By Terry Schrimscher
SPRINGVILLE — Mayor Dave Thomas opened the November 9 work session at City Hall with a short apology to members of the City Council.
“First, I’d like to take an opportunity to apologize to the council,” said Thomas. “In my haste and eagerness to be more inclusive of the council and the mayor’s decisions, I must take responsibility and apologize for putting the council in an uncomfortable position. I will certainly be more considerate in the future.”
Thomas was speaking in reference to some of the potential personnel changes he announced in his first city council meeting last week. In the meeting, he announced his intention to move Ashley Hay out of her role as Director of Parks & Recreation to an assistant role in the Mayor’s office. Council members initially complained the resolutions were not on the agenda before moving the discussion into a private, executive session.
“My intent is to leave Ashley where she is,” said Thomas. He explained he had intended to maximize the use of city personnel with the move. “In spite of our best efforts, we sometimes have unintended consequences and that was one of them,” he said.
Mayor Thomas proposed the creation of a new cityscapes department to oversee the aesthetic appeal of the city as a whole. The new position, if approved, would be included in the city budgets and would initially start with one person focused on maintaining and improving the eye appeal of the city. Members of the council encouraged Mayor Thomas to study similar roles in other cities as he creates a job description for the potential hire.
Hay addressed the council twice during the meeting. First, she delivered an update on bids for cleaning services for city buildings. The previous contractor resigned and she expects to present bids for the work at the next city council meeting.
She also presented a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from the State of Alabama regarding the city’s proposed Forever Wild project, Big Canoe Creek. According to Hay, the MOU sets specific guidelines for the development and allows work to begin on the property. She will present the information at the next regular city council meeting.
Mayor Thomas introduced Charlie D. Waldrep, the new City Attorney, and new City Clerk Lynn Porter. Both were announced at the previous meeting.
Robert Wilkes addressed the meeting regarding sewage treatment needs for the new Archer’s Cove housing development at Wright Farms. Currently, the Odenville Utilities Board plans to take on sewage treatment services for the neighborhood of more than 600 homes.
Springville Public Works Director Earl Peoples led much of the discussion on behalf of the city, reiterating earlier opinions that the city is not at capacity but cannot take on that many additional homes. The city is studying ways to assist the developer as they prepare to close on the first group of houses at Archer’s Cove until the connection can be made with Odenville.
With no more new business, Mayor Thomas adjourned the meeting. The next regular meeting will be Monday, November 16 at 6 p.m.