By Terry Schrimscher
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville City Council met on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, for the second regularly scheduled meeting of February. The meeting was rescheduled from Monday night due to inclement weather.
The primary issue during the meeting was the approval of the annual budget, which has been in consideration since it was first proposed by the mayor in January. Several members of the council asked for clarification on the budget, presented by Mayor Dave Thomas, regarding funding for new positions being created. Councilor Katrina Hennings made a motion to adopt a different budget which was presented by the City Council in previous work sessions instead.
“I will certainly defer to the council but we need to tighten our ship up in terms of procedure,” said Thomas. “What we have before the council is the Mayor’s proposed budget. You can vote it up or down, you can substitute, you can amend it, but we’ve got to adopt a budget and then do something with it.”
After a motion to approve the budget as presented by the mayor failed, the council’s budget was then passed by the council.
The total operating expense in the council budget is $6,273,513 which is subject to revision based on changes made during the meeting.
A resolution approving the creation of a new Executive Assistant to the Mayor was not in the council version of the budget and several members of the council questioned the need for the position at the present time.
“I have been Mayor pro tem for 40 years, I guess, and I’ve always been available,” said Councilor Wayne Tucker. “I’ve had contact from several people I represent and the first thing they ask is why we need an executive assistant to the mayor and I can’t answer that. I can’t see it myself.”
The resolution creating the position was tabled for future consideration. Other job-related resolutions were passed, including:
– Resolutions authorizing one part-time and one full-time general laborer in Parks & Recreation
– A resolution authorizing one part-time magistrate for city courts
– A resolution authorizing one additional building inspector
– A resolution authorizing a deputy City Clerk
– Resolutions authorizing one part-time and one full-time firefighter
– A resolution hiring two full-time laborers for streets
The city also passed a resolution to approve a contract with Windstream to convert city phone and cable services to fiber optics. Once completed, the upgrades are expected to save the city approximately $800 a month.
The council approved the purchase of a new fire truck for $569,845 and will discuss terms for financing at a later meeting. The truck is expected to be delivered by April of 2022.
After a brief Executive Session, the council approved a resolution merger clause with Wright Farm Development, one of the parties involved in the building of the Archer’s Cove neighborhood.
Mayor Thomas also presented a resolution to the council regarding the new jail being built in Pell City and the eventual closing of the jail in Ashville, which could also result in a reduction or elimination of court services in Ashville. Thomas said the closure would create hardships on cities across St. Clair County.
“It would needlessly put a strain on police departments which are already stretched to the breaking point to just provide basic public safety,” said Thomas. “One arrest could take an officer off of our streets for the better part of a shift. Or, if that arrest was made at the end of a shift we’re looking at costly overtime,” he said.
The proposed resolution calls for the repeal of legislation in an appropriations bill signed by Governor Kay Ivey in June of 2019.