Council OK’s wording change to contract for new high school
by Ron Harris
Jul 03, 2013 | 2250 views | 0 0 comments | 82 82 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Jasper City Council met Tuesday morning, and among the first items on the lengthy agenda was brief discussion and approval of an addendum to contracts pertaining to construction of the new Walker High School.

Council members had concerns about wording regarding hiring contractors for the project, which is expected to take up to 30 months to complete. Council members want some input into who’s hired as contractors since all funding for the project comes from a portion of the 1-cent sales tax hike approved last fall.

The new Walker High School, which is expected to include a 285,000-square foot building that would house academic classrooms, a competition gym, a practice gym and a 1,500-seat performing arts center and cost more than $60 million, is slated to be built along Viking Drive. The council was first approached with basic architectural plans for the school about eight months ago.

The Jasper City Board of Education is scheduled to meet next Tuesday at 8 a.m. in a special called meeting to discuss issues related to contracts with construction of the new high school.

In other business, the council:

•approved minutes of the June 18 meeting.

•heard from resident J.L. Koon about concerns he had about traffic along Calumet Road, and about what he called the Jasper Police Department’s lack of properly enforcing laws regarding handicap parking across the city.

Koon said speeding traffic along the street he lives on is a constant worry, and he’d like to see increased speed bumps used to slow down traffic. “The city has told me the reason it won’t make them any higher is that the city could be sued if someone damages their car,” Koon said. “Well, if they’re fool enough to drive over them like that, let their car get damaged. I don’t care if it destroys their vehicle. When I go down a street and see a speed bump, I slow down.”

On handicap parking, Koon, a disabled Vietnam veteran, said, “It’s not being enforced.”

Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe responded later in the meeting by saying police have stepped up enforcement of illegal parking in handicap parking spaces, primarily at Walmart Supercenter, The Home Depot and Winn-Dixie.

•adopted an ordinance pertaining to the city’s financial policy.

The policy establishes a framework for the city’s overall financial planning and internal controls, city clerk Kathy Chambless said.

“Within this framework are individual policies. There’s a budget policy, debt policy, fund-balance policy, investment policy and capital improvement policy,” she said. “Some of these policies the city currently operates under. This policy is more an overall philosophy of how the city will conduct its financial business.”

•approved an amendment to the city’s budget pertaining to the Jasper Police Department.

•approved a request from Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe to purchase a golf cart to be used by police for downtown parking enforcement. The golf cart, which costs $3,500, will also be used for events such as the upcoming Foothills Festival and for traffic control at Walker High football games.

•agreed to provide $1,500 each to two girls softball teams associated with the Jasper Parks and Recreation Department to travel to the World Series tournament in Southaven, Miss., next week.

•heard an introduction to a request from city engineer Joe Matthews for $9,500 to replace traffic lights at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Alabama 118. The intersection is located adjacent to Capt. D’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

•approved a request to allow Mayor Sonny Posey to sign a contract change order for improvements on Industrial Parkway and Industrial Way. The contract change order included no cost changes.

•adopted a resolution to submit an application to the Alabama Department of Transportation for grant assistance through ALDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program. The grant is for $400,000, with the city’s match totaling $113,650.

•rejected bids pertaining to the work on a turn lane at the site of the future Full Moon BBQ. The move was necessary because of parts of the ADECA project that are not included in the turn lane work were inadvertantly included. The city must accept new bids that include just the turn lane project.

Rejecting the bids won’t slow down or stop the project, council members said.

•approved a request to dissolve a lease agreement with the Jasper Water Works and Sewer Board regarding fire hydrants in the city. The move will save the city approximately $42,000 a year.

•heard from city planner Keith Pike, who introduced several properties which fall under the city’s nuisance abatement ordinance.

•introduced an ordinance by Pike to rezone a .9-acre parcel of land located on 9th Avenue from B-1 (Neighborhood Business) to B-2 (Community Service) in order to allow the property owner to operate a farm-support business.

A rezoning request was also made on a .48-acre parcel of land on 24th Street West from R-2 (Single Family Residential) to R-3 (Affordable Housing) in order to allow the property owner to place a manufactured home on the site.

•granted permission to vacate a portion of 27th Street East, from Corona Avenue to Delaware Avenue, to allow First Baptist Church Corona Avenue to expand its facilities.

•recognized Stacy Kirkpatrick Banks, Lisa Barnett and Sheila McGuff of the Memorial Park Natatorium and honored them for their work on the natatorium’s 10th anniversary celebration held last weekend.

•presented a proclamation honoring former Eagle editor James Phillips for his coverage of the city council.