PARRISH - Parrish city officials on Tuesday said their farewells to Mayor Heather Hall after she announced her resignation.
Hall said she was resigning to move with her husband to Mobile, so both of them could take jobs where they wanted to retire. Her husband's income was affected by the closing for the Gorgas Plant recently.
Councilwoman La'Tisha Oliver, the only person to speak up to be a replacement, was picked to be the new mayor and will be sworn in on Thursday, July 18, at 7 p.m. A council replacement for Oliver will be picked later; a date for the council to interview applicants for the position will be announced later.
Hall was close to emotional at times as she read her resignation and a farewell statement. The audience eventually gave her a standing ovation.
Councilman William Smith said, "I know on my behalf, she'll be missed. I've enjoyed the times we've had," although he also noted the arguments they've had in work sessions of the council. "I know she tried to do a good job, and she did the best she could. I really appreciate what she did. I hate to see her go."
Oliver said, "I know some of you guys saw Heather and me going at it" in disagreement sometimes. "We both knew it was not personal. It's about Parrish. As she said, we all love Parrish. That's what it was all about. I hate to see her go too, and I wish her the best of luck."
Councilman Jake Williams said, "I hate to see you go. I didn't think I would be sitting here until you approached me three years ago," adding the time served with her has been good.
"I know it's hard at times and probably harder than most people understand. But you prevailed and I do think you left Parrish in a better place than where you found it," he said.
Councilwoman Kathryn Thomas said she had her moments of opposition against Hall, but it was not personal as she lives there. "Overall, we did have fun. We had a couple of good times," she said. "You did work hard for what it was you were trying to do. I appreciate every small thing and every grand thing you did. I'll miss you."
"I knew you before this," Councilman Bubba Cagle. "I do wish you luck. My advice to you is to always be you. I do feel like you are a good person and that you do work hard."
Other city officials also spoke up and wished her well during the meeting.
In other action Tuesday night, the council:
• Heard Hall say that the paint, which helps seal concrete, has been coming off the concrete at the splash pad. That has led to sand from the concrete coming off and getting into the filtration system. "That has been leading to some algae build up," she said. The Street Department is working to paint and seal the facility, and they are adjusting the chemicals so the splash pad should be open on Thursday this week. During the work session, Hall said more chlorine would be added to the system to deal with the algae.
• Approved renewing the franchise agreement with Spectrum Cable for 10 years with an automatic five-year renewal. According to Spectrum representative Robert Smith, who spoke in the work session before the meeting, Spectrum will pay 5 percent, the top legal amount, for use of right-of-ways. The current franchise agreement ends in 2020. Spectrum has 248 franchises in Alabama.
• Voted to approve part-time officer Ray Goggins, who has been with the department since March, to move up to a vacant full-time position at $13 an hour. Hall said officer Matthew Coley had left the police department to work for the Walker County Sheriff's Office. The council also agreed to hire a replacement for Goggins' part-time position. Hall recommended delaying the hiring of a part-time police officer (which pays $11 an hour) so that Oliver could pick who she would desire.
In the work session before the formal meeting, it was noted Hall had usually hired officers, but Hall said due to her leaving she felt better this time if the council took action since she is leaving.
• Talked about a written proposal from Ricky Freeman Environmental Services to help trim back trees. Freeman noted in the proposal the company is currently doing right-of-way clearing for AT&T in Alabama. "Our proposal is $125 per hour, per crew, with a five-hour minimum per day," he said. "The hourly rate includes one foreman, two flaggers, one labor per crew. This also includes using a service truck and/or a bucket truck per crew. We also have a pull-behind chipper" at an additional $25 an hour. Additional labor would be billed at $15 an hour." The council, at Hall's recommendation, approved the proposal but also agreed to wait on where and how to use the service just yet until details are worked out.
• Talked about the work session about sink holes at Elementary School Road and that estimates will be obtained to get repairs made, as the county has determined an engineer will be needed for the work and the city cannot do the work itself. Some council members said concrete has been poured in it, but Hall said that may be a temporary solution.