CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council opened on Thursday the only bid for selling the old water treatment plant - while Mayor April Kennedy Herron noted that city officials are now having trouble locating the deed for it and that any transaction must wait until the deed is found.
"Yes, the deeds are not in the office. Sorry," Herron said, noting even information is missing in the Walker County Probate Judge's Office, although officials do have a parcel number.
"We got all the way down to where we were going to get to the book and the page number, and that apparently doesn't exist. We can't find it, so we're having to do a title search," she said.
City Clerk Sherry Garner said she was told by probate officials that without the page number and the book, it is like "finding a needle in a haystack."
Herron said this is also not the only title search the city will have to do. "Where these things happen, we don't know. You know what we walked into when we took office," she said. "We just don't know. They're not there. They should be but they are not there. There are some deeds, and Sherry and I were able to recover some deeds that belonged to the city."
The mayor said some items actually went missing when she was in high school.
In other action, the council:
• Held an executive session on good name and character of a person.
• Heard Marion Ognoskie of the Little League asked for permission to put up a fence. Officials reported at a recent meeting that Little League representatives had talked with Scott Kirkland about the fencing around the old high school ballfield. Kirkland will donate the fence but it has to be done through the city, as that is city property. The fencing will be donated to fence off the entrance to keep people from driving down to the dumpster to dump garbage, District 3 Councilman David Phillips said at the time. Ognoskie said the fence will also force people to pay a gate fee rather than watching a game at the end of the fence. The city will have no expenses, but the council had to give permission to do the work on public property.
Phillips said the overseer of the fish hatchery is wanting to construct a walking trail to tie into the park, adding that he is in discussions with the official. Ognoskie said the fence work will not interfere with that project.
The city also discussed creating a couple of handicapped parking spaces at the ballfield.
• Heard from Herron the two police cruisers that have been in the repair shop are "trash" and "done," as the repair would be $9,000 for a crate motor. She heard about an Explorer from Jasper that wrecked that she is looking at buying through the insurance company for parts. She said she would no longer purchase anymore Ford Explorers as a patrol car, and that they should never have been sold as patrol vehicles as they don't seem to hold up.
Herron said oil has been changed at local shops, but she is about to start having city workers do the work. Police Chief Antoine Cobb has set up binders up to review maintenance on each vehicle.
District 1 Councilwoman Cindy Killingsworth asked city police officers to consider the vehicles as city property and to not drove 85 or 90 mph down the interstate, although she said the comments were not directed at Cobb. "I just heard some reports, and I don't want to hear anymore," she said. "That's going to add to the wear and tear" of the vehicle.
• Agreed to send Killingsworth to the annual Alabama League of Municipalities conference on May 12-15. Herron said she will not be able to go, as something has come up. The hotel room costs $281, while the conference costs $375.
The bid was from Timothy and Cindy Wright for $10,000 cash - the minimum price set by the council. The council will have to vote on a resolution at the next meeting whether to accept the bid or keep the property.
• Heard a proposal to purchase a demolition saw for the Street Department to use on roads. In will be used infrequently, the mayor said. Street Superintendent Alan May said a back hoe has been used to tear up the roads, but the saw would make for smoother work, preventing walls from caving in when pipe is installed. When dirt is put back in, the leveling process would be more smoother, he said. May said a blade would probably last a couple of years and cost about $30. However, no motion was offered by the council for purchasing or tabling to the next meeting.
• Voted to hire Breanna Burditt as the senior center director, with funds provided from the Middle Alabama Area on Aging. Her mother had already filled in as director voluntarily, so Burditt and the seniors are familiar with each other, and she is familiar with the workings of the center.
• Discussed about whether or not to allow yard sales at the Front Street pavilion, as Herron said people don't pick up after themselves. District 2 Councilwoman Oranetta Kirk urged that instead of banning the yard sales, the city could charge a deposit fee which they could lose if it is not cleaned up. District 4 Councilwoman Judy Hurst said the pavilion is designed to be a picnic eating area, not for yard sales - although Herron said she has never seen anyone eat there. Saying she understands beautification efforts, Kirk said on Saturday people want to have yard sales and it should not be taken away. She said police officers could monitor the situation. "You can't take everything away from the city," she said. Killingworth also favored the yard sales, as the city could make some revenue.
Herron suggested charging a $25 deposit fee and allowing the renter to come back on Monday to get back $20 of the fee if it is clean. Kirk said in some locations renters don't get the money back, as the revenue is used for beautification efforts.
The mayor also suggested possibly using the old sale barn location, where the property could be sectioned off more easily for vendors.
No motion for action was made at the end of the discussion.