By Tanna Friday, For The Tribune
IRONDALE — The Irondale City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 17, to discuss several items, including changes in the Open Meetings Act.
Councilmember Cindy Cuellar shared her notes from the League of Municipality 2022 Convention about the recent statute to the Open Meetings Act that will go into effect in July. The Open Meetings Act, formerly known as the Sunshine Law, guarantees that Alabama’s citizens have open access to agencies, boards, commissions, and other governmental bodies which conduct the people’s business. In addition, the law states that all meetings of government bodies are open to the public, exempting executive sessions.
Alabama’s Open Meetings Law Ala. Code § 36-25A-1 et seq. reads:
“It is the policy of this state that the deliberative process of governmental bodies shall be open to the public during meetings as defined in Section 36-25A-2(6). Except for executive sessions permitted in Section 36-25A-7(a) or as otherwise expressly provided by other federal or state laws or statutes, all meetings of a governmental body shall be open to the public, and no meetings of a governmental body may be held without providing notice pursuant to the requirements of Section 36-25A-3. No executive sessions are required by this chapter to be held under any circumstances. Serial meetings or electronic communications shall not be utilized to circumvent any of the provisions of this chapter.”
According to Cuellar, the new statute to the Open Meeting’s Act deals with virtual cities.
“They are now allowing elected officials to participate virtually via telephone, video conferencing, or other devices for council members to hear each other,” Cuellar said. “The stipulation is that there has to be a physical quorum of council members in this facility at city hall. In addition, there has to be a quorum in order for a council member to participate virtually. The council member can participate, vote, and count towards roll call.
The only other stipulation Cuellar shared is that this statute serves the purpose for those members who may be ill. This was the council member will be able to be present while representing their district. They will be able to be present and represent their district. This law will become effective July 1. The council will need to have a detailed policy listing such requirements, including explaining how the public can access this meeting and how the voting will be conducted.
In addition to the new statute, Cuellar summarized notes from Gov. Kay Ivey’s speech during the convention.
“A lot of good things are coming to the State of Alabama and are all coming to Irondale,” Cuellar said. “We are seeing some of that construction as a result of the efforts in support that we are receiving. Gov. Ivey stressed that local governments are closest to the community as we council members and the mayor know our people, issues we are dealing with, as well as our business community. Ivey said funding is necessary to prove much-needed water and sewer projects and are a part of that need to draw in more economic development. She stressed that they want to continue hearing from us.”
In other matters, the Council approved:
- Minutes from the regular City Council meeting on May 3, 2022;
- Current bills for payment of $412,813.89; and
- Form of the agenda;
- Consent agenda;
- Resolution 2022-R-89 authorizing the execution of a service agreement with the Exceptional Foundation, which provides year-round social and recreational services for adults and children with special needs;
- Resolution 2022-R-90 authorizing the execution of agreements with Alabama Power Company and the Alabama Department of Transportation for Interstate Roadway Lighting Repair and Maintenance;
- Resolution 2022-R-91 authorizing the execution of a service agreement with the Cahaba River Society, Inc. in the amount of $25,000;
- Resolution 2022-R-92 authorizing the execution of a service agreement with Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition, Inc. in the amount of $50,000;
- Resolution 2022-R-93 accepting the bid of Advanced Disposal Services Star Ridge Landfill received for MSW and Green Waste Disposal at an approved Sanitary Landfill;
- Resolution 2022-R-94 adopting an Internal Investment Policy for the City of Irondale;
- Resolution 2022-R-95 adopting an OPEB Investment Policy Statement for the City of Irondale;
- Resolution 2022-R-96 setting a public hearing for June 7, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. for public comments concerning proposed standard code adoptions; and
- Resolution 2022-R-97 authorizing the donation of $3,500.00 to Shades Valley High School for use by the Shades Valley High School Future Business Leaders of America Student Organization.
- Regular agenda;
- Resolution 2022-R-98 authorizing the execution of a lease agreement with Republic First National for two Tractors, cutter attachments, a Misc Tracked 60″ Remote Control Slope Mower with Winch, and other miscellaneous items in the amount of $302,813.47 for the Public Works Department;
- Ordinance 2022-07 modifying Chapter 3, Article II, Animals, adding Division 9 entitled “Tethering of Animals” and to repeal all ordinances and parts of ordinances of the City of Irondale in conflict therewith;
- Ordinance 2022-08 granting a non-exclusive franchise to Telepak Networks, Inc. dba C Spire Business; and
- Council to go into executive session to discuss preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce in which the governmental body is in competition with private individuals or entities or other governmental bodies in Alabama.
The next Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 7, beginning at 6 p.m.