By Nathan Prewett
LEEDS – Leeds Mayor David Miller announced that city council member Ryan Bell recently resigned and that his district 4 seat is open for application.
“We have received word that Councilman Ryan Bell has resigned as effective as of this date today (March 1, 2021),” Miller said. “And therefore, that seat is open, and we will now invite anyone wishing to apply for that seat who lives in district 4, and is a voter in district 4, to fill out an application which will be considered on the ninth of March in accordance with city policy on that issue.”
Bell told The Tribune that he had moved out of the district and was required by law to submit a resignation. Applications for the vacant seat can be done online at www.leedsalabama.org.
The council then heard from Leeds Police Chief Jim Atkinson, who recognized two officers in the department. The first was Officer Jake Turnbloom, a K-9 officer that Atkinson said has made several drug busts.
Atkinson said that Turnbloom recently made an arrest after his K-9, named Jenks, sniffed out a car containing $135,000 in drug money. The car, a Cadillac, will be confiscated and processed before being turned over to the city of Leeds. The vehicle can then be sold.
Afterwards, Officer Zack Harris was recognized for his arrest of a man who Atkinson said had stolen lumber from home construction sites. Harris was on patrol when he saw a truck and trailer parked at a site. When he went to investigate, he found the suspect hiding between two houses and arrested him.
After an interview, the suspect admitted that he was there to steal lumber and was responsible for a two-month string of other thefts and had been selling items online.
“My guys have done a great job,” Atkinson said. “I’m really proud of them.”
The council also voted to provide a tax break for an upcoming TriGreen Equipment location in Leeds. The location will sell John Deer products such as tractors and other equipment, as well as bring jobs to the city.
The location would be located near Rex Lake Road in the city. Miller said that the company asked the city for assistance in the form of a tax rebate of up to $125,000 and not to exceed 18 months.
The council held a public hearing for the tax break as well as for three properties that were being considered as public nuisances. However, because the properties (located at Texas Avenue, Oak Street, and Lewis Avenue) have made “considerable progress” they were taken off the agenda.
No one spoke for or against the items in the public hearing.
In his comments, Miller said that City Hall’s office hours have returned to their normal times of 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday. On March 15 Public Works will open at 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday.
In other business, the council:
- Voted to renew its annual animal control services and pound services contract
- Approved the implementation of a city department cash and receivables policy
- Dedicated a paved access road located in St. Clair County currently providing paved access between Sharp Drive and U.S. Hwy 411 as a public right-of-way
- Voted to amend the budget for the purchase of equipment for the library, as well as the police and fire department
Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of every month. Agenda packets can be seen online at the City of Leeds website.