By Crystal McGough
PINSON – During the regular Pinson City Council meeting Thursday, March 4, 2021, Mayor Joe Cochran reminded those in attendance that a fundraiser will be held at Bicentennial Park on Saturday, March 6, for the tornado victims at the Rusk and Wares mobile home parks. The fundraiser, a barbecue cook-off competition, will be held from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., and there will be entertainment on the Bicentennial Park Stage throughout the event.
“We met Monday evening at a local church down in Roebuck with the EMA, The United Way and Catholic Charities, and about 35 people from the mobile home park,” Cochran said, adding that United Way will place a case worker in the affected area and that committees are being put in place to make sure each resident gets the help they need. “Every Tuesday, we will interview people for their needs.”
Categories for the competition will include: Best Pork, Best Beef, Best Chicken, Wild Wild Game, Baked Beans, Potato Salad and People’s Choice.
Catholic Charities, the organization working as conduit of tornado relief money donated through the city of Pinson, will be present at the fundraiser to accept additional donations, as well.
The city council had a lengthy conversation during the meeting concerning the possibility of taking ownership of the building permit and inspection process in the city of Pinson.
“It’s something as you grow as a municipality, you think about … how much city services do we need to offer vs. how much do we need to push off onto the county,” Cochran said. “Jefferson County is the group that currently does our permitting and inspections for anything that goes on in the city of Pinson. We have the right and the authority to do it if we want to. It will come at an expense; you’re talking about software expense; you’re talking about ongoing employees who are qualified to do inspections and do the permitting. … Sometimes I think there’s a benefit to having your own. Currently, everybody around us has their own.”
Cochran said that, currently, if someone is building in Pinson without a permit and/or not complying with building codes, the city is unable to issue a stop work order and force them to come into compliance
“We’re being told by Jefferson County currently that they’re not going to provide that service to our community anymore, which I don’t understand why,” he said. “If you collect the permitting fee, you should be obligated to the full service. … We don’t have the authority to do that, so if they’re not going to do it, who is going to do it?”
Zoning Administrator Bob Jones said that the city of Pinson is the only municipality in Jefferson County that contracts with the county for building inspections.
“This is new on the refusal to come to anywhere in our city to stop people that are working without proper credentials,” Jones said. “It has brought to light something I probably should have known … this whole time, they’ve not been watching our city.”
No decision was made during Thursday’s council meeting.
Center Point Fire District Chief Gene Coleman and Logistics Captain Chris Horn presented the council with a request for assistance in the amount of $195,000 for a new fire and emergency services training facility in Tarrant. The facility, in full, will cost $330,000.
The council did not vote on the funds for the training facility Thursday, but said they would take it up at the next council meeting.
“With it being a regional facility, I do think that the two closest neighboring cities have the most interest, because you guys (CPFD) cover them – that being Center Point and Clay – and cover a sizable portion of the city of Pinson, also,” Councilor Robbie Roberts said. “So, we want to make sure that those guys are bought in too and basically that we could work as a team along with those other two municipalities to make this thing a reality.”
Councilor John Churchwell pointed out and Captain Chris Horn confirmed that both Center Point and Clay have already committed to giving funds toward the facility.
While the council did not vote on this issue, they did unanimously pass a motion to approve $100,000 toward a new Center Point Fire District fire truck, which will sport Pinson Valley and city of Pinson logos. The funds will be paid as $20K/year payments for a total of five years.
The council also approved a resolution to amend and re-designate the position of Parks Assistant to the position of Athletic Director and announced that the city will be accepting applications for that position.
“Chris (Aycock), who is currently our Assistant Park Director, the former title of this job, will be leaving us at the end of the month, or thereabouts, to pursue retirement and more time spent with his family,” Cochran said. “I appreciate that he’s been a tremendous asset to the city and to parks and recs. We hope that we can find someone who is as good as he has been to replace him.”
Additionally, the council approved the following orders of business:
- Ordinance 2021-5, annexing 5455 County Road into the city of Pinson
- Ordinance 2021-6, annexing 3809 Osage Lane into the city of Pinson
- Ordinance 2021-7, approving post-annexation zoning of 4461 Main Street
- Motion to move forward with a proposal from Hendon & Huckestein architects for a master plan for Pinson Parks and Rec and PYSC for $7,850, and PHCC window upgrades for $4,800
- Motion to put trash collection and disposal services out for bid
- Motion to accept a bid of $15,607.45 from The Park and Facilities Catalog for garbage cans at PYSC
- Motion to name Mayor Joe Cochran and Councilors Brad Walker and John Churchwell as voting delegates for the upcoming ALM conference
- Motion to approve $1,500 for zoning mapping software upgrade
The next meeting of the Pinson City Council will be Thursday, March 18, 2021, at Pinson City Hall. Pre-council will begin at 6:15 p.m. and the regular council meeting will begin at 7 p.m.