By Crystal McGough
CLAY — The Pinson City Council recognized six city officials during Thursday night’s council meeting for receiving their Planning and Zoning certifications.
“This previous week, we’ve had some online class training for three days for certified Planning and Zoning officials,” Mayor Joe Cochran said. “It’s kind of a big deal to have your Planning and Zoning officials be in a class and actually know what they’re supposed to do. That’s a good thing.”
The council presented certificates to the following city officials:
- Barry Wilson, P&Z
- Pat Wise, BZA (not in attendance)
- Eric Winfrey, Director of Public Works (not in attendance)
- Anje May, Assistant Clerk
- Marie Turner, City Clerk
- Joe Cochran, Mayor
The council also passed its budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The budget for the new fiscal year is $3,599,234.88 for expenses, with an expected total revenue of $3,929,065.38.
“We’ve had two meetings with council — obviously all of those were open — in preparation of this year’s budget,” Cochran said. “In our meetings, we have had a lot of participation, a lot of conversation. We allowed our department heads to interact with us on that because they are a part of this budget process. … I could do it on my own, but I really don’t want to. I think it’s a much smarter move to have everyone involved and bought in and part of the process.”
Cochran said that some of the highlights on the budget include: increased revenue from sales tax, additional personnel in the city’s roads and streets department (under Public Works), the addition of a recreation director and a part-time inspector to take over building permits and inspection within city limits.
“In all the years that I’ve been on council and been dealing with the mayor with the budget — not slighting the former mayor or anything — this has been the most detailed document and I appreciate it,” Councilor Dawn Tanner said. “Knowing exactly where numbers come from, that helps. I appreciate (Mayor Cochran) allowing the department heads to be involved. … I appreciate the detail and the time it took to come up with this.”
The council held its second discussion regarding the creation of an alcohol policy for certain city facilities. The proposition is for a policy that would allow alcohol at certain events held at the Rock School auditorium and events room, as well as the community center.
“I thing we narrowed in on a number of different questions and ideas and thoughts and reasons on that (during pre-council),” Cochran said. “There’s some additional outside conversation, I believe Councilor (Robbie) Roberts wants to have, with a church that is near one of our facilities that is in this discussion.”
The council first discussed this policy, which would permit alcoholic beverages during events such as weddings, receptions and business parties, at its June 3 meeting.
“Last time I expressed a concern for any event venues here in the city, private businesses, and what impact us having this policy might have on them,” Roberts said. “I reached out to the owner of, to my knowledge, the only one of these type facilities here in the city and they did not feel like this would be an issue at all for them. They really appreciated the fact that we would take their situation under advisement, but they said that it actually probably would help them out to be able to have that sort of thing … when someone calls and asks about a facility and theirs isn’t a good fit, they could refer it down to the city’s facility.”
Cochran said the the city will continue to do its due diligence on the matter.
The city took steps to move its Keep Pinson Beautiful campaign forward with the creation of a Keep Pinson Beautiful committee.
“At the end of the day, I would want to assign a couple of council members to that committee, as well as members of the community,” Cochran said. “So, if you know someone in the community that would like to participate with that, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com, or any member of council, or the front office. We would love to have a lot of participation and ideas.”
Cochran said that one idea for the campaign is to have giveaways for small trash bags that people can keep in their cars in an attempt to reduce littering. The city will also enforce more strict action on fining people who litter within the city.
“If we catch someone throwing a mattress out on the streets, if we catch you: 1) We’re going to make you clean it up; 2) You’re going to pay $500 for the privilege,” he said. “We’re done with it. We’re tired of it. We’re going to enforce every law in the books that we can when we find people doing this stuff. We are sick and tired of people driving through our community and trashing it, and we’re sick and tired of people within the community trashing it.”
In other business, the council approved the following:
- Motion to establish Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting date as Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021
- Motion to order conference table for Park & Recreation Department in the amount of $899
- Motion to change city cell phone services from Verizon to FirstNet, a network designed specifically for government officials for enhanced coverage during natural disasters and crises
- Motion to rename the Rock School Center to Rock School Municipal Complex
- Motion to disperse Pinson Schools designated funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year
- Motion to authorize Magic City Gun Club to use Rock School Complex for its Air Rifle Jr. Team, free of charge
- Motion authorizing the purchase of picnic tables for Triangle Park and Bradford Park for the amount of $2,040, and garbage cans for Triangle Park for the amount of $1,314
The next meeting of the Pinson City Council will be Thursday, July 1, 2021, at Pinson City Hall. Pre-council begins at 6:15 p.m. and the regular council meeting begins at 7 p.m.