Council cool to coal excavation in city limits


DORA - The Dora City Council  showed informal disapproval with a request Thursday from Jasper attorney Eddie Jackson, made on behalf of Lost Creek Clay and Mineral, to consider allowing the mining company to excavate for coal within the city limits. 

The parcel is between Washington City Road near the Armory and Horse Creek Boulevard.

Mayor Randy Stephens asked Jackson during Thursday's council meeting what the city would gain if they allowed the mining. Jackson said since the city owned property, it would be entitled to surface rights.

“Depending on what we find in the prospect, there may be some room if there’s enough coal and the ratios are right to pay the city an override on all the coal,” Jackson said. 

The city has not allowed strip mining within the city limits since the 1970s, according to Councilman Arthur Lee Taylor.

“I’m a retired underground coal miner, and I’m for coal mining, but I’ve never been for stripping in the city limits,” Taylor said. “And I’m opposed to it now.” 

Jackson went on to explain the mining company’s small-scale approach is less disruptive than the methods used in the past.

Stephens said that even if the city received monetary gain from this mining, he could not sleep at night knowing that he voted to allow surface mining in the city.

In the interest of time, Stephens polled the council to see how they felt about allowing surface mining within the city limits. The council was unanimously opposed. 

In other action, the council: 

• Heard Stephens report on the police department activity for July. He said he hears complaints about the Dora Police Department. People complain that “we’re out here running a speed trap and writing tickets to everyone coming through Dora,” Stephens said.

The police department wrote an average of only one ticket per shift during July. “Does that sound excessive to any of you?” he asked. “Now, it’s excessive if you’re the one who got the ticket, but the person complaining about the police department does not have anything to go on.” 

• Approved a request for an alcohol license for the new owners of T. J. Convenience Store on Sharon Boulevard. in Burnwell.  Stephens spoke to the representative of the new owners and told him that the city had problems in the past with the store selling alcohol to minors and also with people gathering in the parking lot to drink.

“We’ll be watching you close for selling to minors, loitering and drinking in the parking lot,” Stephens said. “We want to see you make money, but we want to see it run legally.” The motion passed but Councilmen Clyde Nix and Gary Thomas voted against the measure.

• Heard Stephens report that the Veteran Memorial is nearing the final stages. The committee requested that the city fund three flag poles, two concrete benches, and lighting for the monument at a cost of approximately $7,000. The council approved the purchases. The goal is to have a dedication for the Veterans Memorial on the Saturday before Veterans Day, on Nov. 9 at 11 a.m., according to Stephens. 

• Heard Stephens report that the police department is requesting a 65-inch TV monitor to be installed behind the judge’s bench that will allow video evidence during court proceedings. The TV can also be used during department training sessions. The cost of the new unit is $600. The council approved the purchase. 

• Heard a request from Johnny Sudberry of the Walker County Children Advocacy Center for the city to renew their contribution to that organization. The advocacy group works with local children who have been physically or sexually abused. The council contributed $2,500 in the past, and they voted to renew that contribution.