Town closer to clinching new business


Daily Mountain Eagle

OAKMAN — Oakman may soon have a new retail business opening its doors.

Mayor Cory Franks announced Monday evening that a new business from outside the community is seeking the opportunity to serve the residents of Oakman.

“I understand the property has already been purchased,” Franks said. “Due to contracts and things of that nature, they still haven’t officially told me what the retail store is.”

The new store would be located across from Oakman High School on Highway 69. Before the business can become a reality, the town must write a letter to ALDOT to confirm Oakman will be responsible for maintaining the canal that runs in front of the site. They must also write a confirmation to allow ALDOT to construct a drive at the location to accommodate the new business. Franks said the location meets the qualifications to be on the historic register, which warrants the council to approve of activity at the site.

Concerns were expressed over traffic flow at the location because of heavy school traffic.

“We can’t afford to lose any business for the town of Oakman,” Franks said, adding that he hopes ALDOT being in the area will pave the way for future projects to alleviate traffic congestion.

The council approved for a letter to be written to ALDOT, agreeing to all terms.

In other business, the council:

•heard an update from Franks on a proposed garbage pickup service in Oakman.

Franks said he hopes for the town to have their own garbage service, allowing them to part ways with the county garbage pickup service.

In order for Oakman to have their own garbage service, a sanitation truck would be purchased, and Franks said garbage would be picked up twice a week at a lower rate than customers currently pay.

Rough estimates show the town would serve more than 260 residents with garbage pickup. Residents currently pay $43 a month for the county service. Oakman’s garbage pickup would cost only $37 or $38 each month.

“It’s $40,000 or $45,000 a year that can be brought back into the town of Oakman,” Franks said.

The garbage service is still being explored, and Franks did remind those at the council meeting that sewer rates will increase in the coming months.

•learned from Clerk Lisa Lockhart that an independent company has offered to do testing and evaluation of the town’s lagoon free of charge. She said this will help the town determine how to proceed in future upkeep of the lagoon for sewer purposes.

•was introduced to a nuisance ordinance that Franks will ask the council to pass in the future, in an effort to hold those accountable for trash, junk or other items on their properties.

The ordinance states that a corrective warning will be issued for a first offense. If further action is needed, fines will be issued from $50 to $500 as offenses continue, or incarceration after multiple offenses.

The ordinance will be discussed further and voted on at a later date.

“This is the ordinance that I will ask the council to adopt for the town of Oakman,” Franks said. “We’re all going to be on the same page and know what it takes to make it work.”

•learned Pearlie Gibbons has been working at Oakman Town Hall with Lockhart through work-based learning program SOS (Second Opportunity System).

The program is sponsored by Bevill State Community College to provide youth with a number of services to further their education and begin a career.

“She’s making great strides working in our office and working with our clerk,” Franks said.

In a newsletter from BSCC, Gibbons said, “The office allows me to study for my GED and learn office procedures, as well as improve my social skills.”

Franks said the town is also looking for another student to work with their street department. The candidate must be 18 to 23 years old and have reliable transport.

For more information and qualifications, call Oakman Town Hall at (205) 622-3232.