By Faith Callens
CLAY — On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the Clay City Council met for a regular meeting at City Hall and city leaders agreed to no longer allow fishing at Cosby Lake.
The decision came after a report from City Manager Ronnie Dixon about the health of the lake and the fish in it. A recent electro-shocking analysis showed that all 16-inch and up bass were very healthy and the 16-inch and under bass, were underweight.
Dixon went on to say, the bluegill fish population was low. Five thousand bluegill fish were put in the lake previously and they were two and three-inch baitfish.
Due to recent findings, four-inch and up bluegill fish were found but not many smaller bluegill fish were in the lake. Dixon said that causes an issue for the lake. He said it was recommended to only allow people to take smaller bass out of the lake.
“We would recommend releasing all of the 16-inch bass and above and culling all, under 16 inches,” said Dixon. When they say releasing that means catching and release and not taking them out the lake and they’re recommending to keep all bass in the lake because the population is so low.”
There was no mention of any catfish in the recent report, something city leaders were surprised to hear because there have been catfish put in the lake before.
During the discussion, the council decided to not allow any fishing at all. Mayor Charles Webster said that is because it is nearly impossible to monitor the size of fish that people catch and take with them. Council members agreed and a sign will be posted to stop all fishing at Cosby Lake. Webster said the sign should be up sometime during the first week of August.
Experts recommended that the city put in 18,000 two and three-inch copper-nosed bluegill fish, which would cost 8,000.
Webster also said for the spring, it is recommended that they put in 20,000 shad so that the bluegill will have a chance to develop rather than being eaten by the bass.
The addition of fish to the lake will cost $8,000 this year and $4,000 in 2022. Mayor Webster said the money is in the budget for the fish in the lake but he wants the public to know they are not doing a good job of helping maintain the lake.
Webster said it is recommended that no catfish are placed in the lake from now on because the lake is there for sport-fish and for recreational purposes.
“Either catch and release or no fishing at all,” said Webster. “Cosby is not a feeder, it’s not there for people to get their food, it’s supposed to be for recreation.”
Dixon said eventually, people will be allowed to fish at Cosby Lake again, but he thinks it will be around a year before the fish in the lake are healthy enough for that change to be made.
In other business, the council considered two resolutions that led to the adoption of an annual transportation plan and the declaration of weeds being a public nuisance on some residential streets.
- 2021-19 Resolution Adopting an Annual Transportation Plan
This plan is required by the new Rebuild Alabama Ten cent tax. This is done by the council every year and the council is agreeing to maintain the roads in the city.
The council approved this resolution unanimously.
- 2021-20 Resolution Declaring Weeds to be a public Nuisance
During the meeting, several residential streets were called out, declaring the weeds within the residential property as a public nuisance.
The council approved this resolution unanimously.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
Councilor LeWayne Allen mentioned the public works crew who cleaned up the trash this week around the city .
Councilor Becky Johnson said the senior center is doing great and the center received two new members. Johnson also briefly mentioned the seniors are enjoying the meals that are being served.
Councilor Bo Johnson gave thanks to Center Point Fire District Chief Gene Coleman and Capt. Chris Horn for their participation and success with the golf tournament that was held recently and hosted every year.
Councilor Dean Kirkner reflected back on the tournament from last week. Chris Horn, chairperson of the tournament mentioned that they had a successful tournament. They had 23 teams, 92 players and in the afternoon, they had 17 teams. In total, Horns said they had 116 players.
Horn went on to say, the benefits of the team wins go to organizations Kid One, Breast Cancer Research, Children’s Hospital NVA and the explorer program.
Horn said they have given 95,600 to the tournament.
Johnson also mentioned the City of Clay fall festival. The date for the festival is October 31 and it will start at 5 p.m. at the high school football field and stadium.
Resident Joe Hobby, member of the Faith United Methodist Church, is looking for a way to administer to the community. He introduced a plan to bring a 12-step program called Celebrate Recovery to the church. He said he cannot make it happen without support from the city.
Hobby said it is different from Alcoholics Anonymous.
“It’s a 12-step program that is Christ-centered appose to alcoholics Anonymous which you have a higher power,” said Hobby. “They make literal use of the bible and Christ in their ministry. The difference in this program is that ministers get to the hurts and strongholds, I’ve gone to these meetings where people are dealing with divorce, death of a spouse or dealing with sexual molestation in childhood and there is just a co-dependency, There is just a laundry list of strongholds that Celebrate Recovery does.”
Hobby continued to say it is a sustainable program and it will be hosted every week at Faith United Methodist Church. Hobby said Sunday at 2 p.m., the church will host an informational meeting about the upcoming 12-step program.
Councilor Chris Nail said a prayer breakfast will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 3. The breakfast will include a prayer for the intermediate schools and the high schools to start the school year off under God’s guidance.
Nail also mentioned that there will be a luncheon for all five schools in Clay on Aug. 3.
Nail also mentioned on Aug. 9, there is another luncheon for teachers, administrators, and council members to come out and celebrate the new school year.
Before the meeting was adjourned, a question was posed about the mask ordinance for students during the upcoming school year and Mayor Webster said he would not force students to wear masks and he would leave that decision strictly to the parents. Webster also said there will not be any students going to school and then staying home for virtual learning for a certain amount of time.
“Either the child is enrolled in our school or can be a member of our virtual school or the child won’t be a student in any school,” said Webster.
Schools in Clay are part of the Jefferson County School system. Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsolin said the plan is to have in-person instruction, five days a week, and masks will be optional, but he said those plans could change if the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise. You can view the full plan by clicking here.