Acuff, of Community Consultants, said there were approximately 40-plus grants awarded and Carbon Hill was one of 15 cities to receive a Community Development Block Grant. The city council and utilities board applied for the $350,000 grant in August 2013 to improve the town’s water system.
“You’ve been awarded a grant, now you have to go through the process to actually get the money. You have received a letter of conditional commitment that has a bunch of things you have to submit back to ADECA,” Acuff said. “Once you do that, you have to hire an engineering administrator to administer the grant and a professional engineer to design it.”
The city’s utilities board matched the grant by contributing $38,000. The grant will help to replace water lines on 6th and 8th avenues and 2nd Way NW. The current system is served by 93-year-old, cast-iron water pipes that are leaking.
“What you have tonight is a resolution. I have a copy of the proposals, the mayor does as well, that you’ll need to consider passing authorizing the mayor pro tem to enter into a contract with both of those firms,” Acuff said. “... It’s your grant. You’re going to have to do all the administrative things.”
Acuff added that if the project is bidded out in the spring, then it should be “closed out” by this time next year. Council members approved and accepted the resolution.
In other business:
•The council approved the minutes from the Jan. 9 meeting.
•Council members heard from the city’s Police Chief Ron Colburn who updated the council on 12 arrests and 22 reports. All the police vehicles are up and running now.
•The council approved Colburn attending the AACP Winter Conference in Huntsville, which will cost the city approximately $700 for the week, excluding food cost.
•Council members approved hiring Jason Morris as a part-time police officer. Members also approved Lt. Jason Richardson and Sgt. Tim Walter to attend class on the Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation at Jefferson State College on Feb. 12-13. Colburn added that Officers Jiles Meadows and Danny Alexander need to be recertified, which would consist of obtaining 95 hours within six months.
District 5 Council member James Pendley asked Colburn if Richardson’s responsibilities increased when he was promoted to lieutenant. After Colburn responded with a yes, Pendley motioned to increase his pay. The council voted to raise Richardson’s salary temporarily by 50 cents. Another increase will be discussed and voted on at a later meeting.
•Fire Chief Buddy Smith told council members that the department got a call early Sunday morning around 12:15 a.m. about a house fire across the railroad tracks. The home was owned by John Atkins, but Brooke Garrison and her family resided there. Smith said the family lost everything.
“It’s cold. Just keep us all in your prayers because while y’all are laying up there in a good warm bed, we’re out here fighting fires, freezing through the equipment,” Smith said.
Several questions were asked during the meeting pertaining to subjects such as city employee pay, cutting grass around a few ballparks, coordinating different venues for people to receive help after a loss — such as a fire — and other issues.
Council member Terry Mason said all of these questions and others will be answered at a scheduled workshop the city plans to hold in the near future.
“We’re going to have a workshop meeting, date to be announced, but we need all of the employees of the city that we can possibly get at that meeting. The reason being, we’re going to have the new handbook; we’re going to go through the handbook and get your feedback on it as well as what we want,” Mason said. “Plus, there’s been some question on the pay. ... If you need something, come to us. The only way we’re going to know what you need is when you let us know, and then we can handle it.”
The workshop will be open to the public.
Pendley asked if the council would start allowing citizens to speak at the council meetings. The protocol in the past has been that if citizens wanted to speak at the meetings, they would need to contact city hall to be placed on the agenda by the Friday before the council meeting on the following Thursday. Pendley asked to give citizens a time limit on voicing their concerns, but also asked that they keep it clean and respect council members. Citizens will be escorted out of the meeting chambers if they cannot abide by those rules.