By Terry Schrimscher, For the Tribune
ARGO – The Argo City Council met Monday night, Sept. 25, for the second regularly scheduled meeting of the month. Most of the discussion was covered in the work session prior to the meeting.
The first presentation of the meeting came from Don Smith, Executive Director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. Smith gave the Council an update on the EDC’s five-year strategic plan.
Smith has been speaking to city leaders throughout the county in recent weeks to discuss the accomplishments of the EDC and its plans for future growth. He said the five-year strategy includes working with the education sector to focus on workforce development, which he says has suffered since the pandemic.
“It’s impossible to recruit a new company into an area who’s going to need to find 200 employees if we have 500 jobs unfilled right now in that sector,” Smith said. He also discussed how the EDC has grown since its inception to have a major focus on tourism dollars.
Smith added the EDC is focused on infrastructure and public safety grants and hopes to house a grant writer to serve St. Clair municipalities to assist with funding for critical development opportunities.
Smith commented on Argo’s proposal to move to a four-day work week. “If you do it, there’s no coming back because the employees love it,” he said. “The citizens welcome it because they are able to get to City Hall and do business before and after work. Lots of times, people aren’t coming in on Fridays anyway.”
“The purpose for the four-day work week is to improve resident convenience and make it a more accommodating work environment for employees,” said Mayor Betty Bradley speaking to the Trussville Tribune. “We view the transition to a four-day workweek as a creative method to enhance convenience and accessibility for our residents. This shift also presents a budget-neutral strategy to maintain competitiveness, enhance recruitment, and bolster retention. In addition, there are extra advantages like potential savings in utility and fuel expenses.”
City Hall will transition to the new schedule at the end of October. The new hours will be Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This will not impact emergency on-call services like police or fire. Those departments will still operate 24 hours a day,” Bradley said.
The Council unanimously approved the city budget for fiscal year 2023-2024. There was no discussion on the budget during the regular meeting, but the Council held budget work session on Sept. 12, Sept. 18, and Sept. 19, to work through the details ahead of the meeting.
The new budget includes funding for increases in municipal insurance rates and funds to buy new radios for the police and fire departments. Funding is also included to provide step raises for city employees.
The Council set a date for a public hearing on an ordinance to adopt State of Alabama building codes. The ordinance will establish proposed codes, inspections and enforcement procedures. The hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the Council on Oct. 23.
In other business, the Council approved a date for the Argo Christmas Parade. The parade will be held Dec. 9, at 10 a.m., with an alternative date of Dec. 16 in case of rain. Corky Massey will manage the parade for the city.
The next regular meeting of the Argo council is scheduled for Oct. 9 with a work session at 5 p.m. An agenda for each meeting is posted in local businesses including Hill Top Farms, Argo Hardware, Liberty Automotive, Shell, Southland BBQ, Fox’s Pizza and Buckeye Grocery. Agendas are also posted on the city’s Facebook page.