By Terry Schrimscher, For the Tribune
CLAY – The city of Clay is preparing to take action on the ongoing homeless camps in wooded areas behind residential communities. The Clay City Council offered an update on the situation during the second monthly regular meeting of the council Tuesday night, Aug. 22.
City Manager Ronnie Dixon was absent due to illness, so Mayor Charles Webster offered the update during his report to the Council near the end of the meeting.
“There’s a couple of things he (Dixon) was going to let y’all know about tonight,” Webster said. “He’s working on getting the homeless situation cleaned up. It probably will start taking place next week.”
In the Aug. 8 meeting, Dixon outlined a proposal to clear the brush and clean up the areas around the encampments after Jefferson County sheriffs began issuing trespass notices and removing the individuals living on the empty lots.
“We got some prices. I think the lowest price is around $16,000,” Webster said. “They’re going to take a forestry head and clean all the underbrush up to as far as that forestry head will reach up in the trees.”
Webster said the contractor estimated 40 dumpster loads of debris would need to be removed from the site, including the underbrush and the garbage from the encampments.
City Attorney Alan Summers first shared information about encampments in March when an encampment was found in the woods behind the Lovelady Thrift Store. The current camp is in the same area and has expanded to property behind private residences as far away as Matt Aaron Lane and Refuge Church at 2400 Sweeney Hollow Road.
Although the store secured its donation bins, the campers have been removing discarded items from dumpsters at the thrift store and other sites around town and leaving rubbish on the private property. Dixon described it as a public health hazard in the Aug. 8 meeting.
The Council passed one ordinance and one resolution during the meeting. The resolution, 2023-19, declared weeds to be a public nuisance at 5700 Finch Road.
Ordinance 2023-03 amended ordinance 2003-103 to current zoning standards for alcohol sales. The updated regulation standardizes language to say business licensed for on premises consumption of alcoholic beverages to be 750 feet away from a school, church or library. The ordinance also establishes the distance for off-premises consumption at 300 feet from a church, school or library.
Assistant City Clerk Andrea Self filled in for Dixon to deliver City Manager updates. She gave a summary of the city’s accounts.
The City of Clay’s account balances are:
- General fund = $3,126,957.85
- Vehicle registration = 26,199.56
- Contractor’s bond = 155,911.16
- Capital fund = 1,073,686.17
- 4 and 5 cent Gas Fund = 277,588.23
- 7 Cent Gas Fund = 82,532.15
- Rebuild Alabama Gas Fund = $219,671.46
- Paving Supplement Fund = 236,840.98
- Reserve Fund = 2,929,486.65
- BB&T Fund = 37,060.72
- Sports Income = 101,547.11
- Expenses for Ballpark = 117,956.69
The next meeting of the Clay City Council is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 12, at City Hall.