Oakman to explore capital improvements

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/19/17

OAKMAN — Oakman Mayor Cory Franks announced at Monday night’s Oakman Town Council meeting that capital improvement projects are being considered for the town.

The state Department of Finance recently presented Oakman …

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Oakman to explore capital improvements


OAKMAN — Oakman Mayor Cory Franks announced at Monday night’s Oakman Town Council meeting that capital improvement projects are being considered for the town.

The state Department of Finance recently presented Oakman with a yearly capital improvements check for just over $7,672. Franks said his goal is to use a large portion of the funds to make some upgrades to the Oakman Community Center.

“We don’t make a lot of revenue by renting this building out,” Franks said inside the community center Monday night. “It is a community center, so we’re not trying to stop anybody from using it, but if you look around, there haven’t been any upgrades in a while.”

Franks said he hopes to have ceiling tiles in disrepair replaced and have a new floor installed that will be easier to clean. He said the community center could also use more tables and chairs, depending on how much the items will cost.

Many of the community center’s chairs have disappeared after parties and other events have been held there, and Franks said he is being more selective on what events can be held at there.

“I have been more stern on the building being rented out, who rents it and what it’s being rented for,” Franks said. “We’re going to try to take care of what we have, because if we don’t do it, nobody else will.”

Some of the capital improvement funds will also be used to upgrade the town clerk’s office and other areas inside town hall.

In other business, the council:

•announced a clean up day that will be held Saturday, April 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The cleanup will be held in conjunction with other cleanups across the county. All ages can volunteer to help during Oakman’s cleanup day, sponsored by the Walker County Commission and Alabama PALS.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the Oakman Senior Center at 9:30 a.m. Saturday before being dispersed to clean various areas. Trash bags will be provided, but Franks said the town could still use donated safety vests for the cleanup.

“If you want your community to look good, sometimes you’ve just got to go the extra mile to go out and participate in things like this,” Franks said. “Let’s try to get the word out and get as many people involved as we possibly can so we can make our community look better, and we can be proud of it.”

After the cleanup, traditional tomato sandwiches will be served at the senior center.

•heard from Franks that the town could see a sewer rate increase in the coming months. Franks cited ongoing issues with Oakman’s sewer system and lagoon, and said he would have someone at a future council meeting to speak on why a rate increase will be necessary and how much the increase could be for residents.

“The Town of Oakman is behind in a lot of areas when it comes to our water and sewage. Hopefully, we may be able to look at some ways to better handle some situations,” he said.

•adopted a resolution to participate in Alabama’s sales tax holiday that will be from Friday, July 21, through Sunday, July 23.

•announced the town received a Loss Control Division Award at the Gold Level from the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation and the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund.

“It’s showing that we had no on-the-job injuries or loss of compensation for the year 2016, which I think is great,” Franks said. “Everybody is doing their part and doing a good job.”

•said the Alabama Department of Environmental Management made a surprise visit to the town recently to inspect their sewer facilities. Town Clerk Lisa Lockhart said she expects the town to receive a positive report, based on ADEM’s preliminary comments.

•heard a construction update on the town’s storm shelter from Oakman Fire Chief Shane Calloway. Calloway said construction will begin on the town’s first storm shelter as soon as necessary documentation is received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

•learned from Franks that he has heard positive things from community members and leaders outside of Oakman, regarding Oakman’s progress in the past few months.

“I think it’s saying a lot for us all here that we’re doing good things, and people are noticing that we’re doing things a little differently,” Franks said. “I think that’s something we should be proud of, and we will need that same type of enthusiasm and dedication for future events.”

Moving forward, Franks said progress is being made to organize a town celebration day, and the town will consider adopting a nuisance abatement ordinance in the months ahead to hold residents accountable for unkept properties.