CARBON HILL - At a work session Thursday night, Mayor April Kennedy Herron told the Carbon Hill City Council she is wanting to find a way to upgrade playground equipment through repairs and purchases.
The mayor noted maintenance, such as painting and boarding, to be given to the playground equipment at the Blue Gym and at the ballfields. She also wants to buy a few new swings over time as the city is able to, noting they cost about $30 a swing.
"I would just want it to be a little more of an inviting place," she said. "It's not very inviting as it is right now." District 4 Councilwoman Judy Hurst said, "It needs a facelift bad. Just painting would help."
She hopes to use revenue from the pool this summer to possibly address that. Herron also noted that five street employees "have a lot of grass to cut," which means it may take a while to do the work.
Asked about needed cleanup at the ACE ballfield, Herron said by she wonders whether it is better to use the employees paid at $13 an hour to cut grass each day or would she would be better off contracting by bid to cut twice a month at the Blue Gym and the Little League.
Hurst asked about putting pea gravel at the swings near the swimming pool so the equipment area wouldn't have to have weeded out. Hurst said new playground areas are now required to have pea gravel. Herron said she has seen rubber mulch at some playgrounds, although Hurst thought it might be more expensive. Herron said the city can check into the cost of pea gravel.
In other action during the work session, the council:
• Heard Brittany Chambers, the dispatching supervisor, say that a window unit at the jail failed recently and a new one later came in on special order - which Herron said delayed the arrival. Meanwhile, orders from Municipal Judge Ken Guin has given orders which means some people will be held for several days, meaning the heat and air will be needed.
Chambers said the unit was installed the previous Friday, but lumber will still be needed to case it out - which wasn't available at the time. "We patched it as well as we could to get us through the weekend," she said. "We have the supplies now to get it fixed and ready, so that is not going to be an issue. It has duct tape on it, so it looks bad, but it works. It was an emergency fix so we could heat and cool our inmates."
She also noted expense figures for inmate food may increase as more inmates are being kept. Inmates are fed for $9 a day per inmate. However, she said officials are hoping more people will pay their fines now that they see they might have to spend more time in jail, which will balance out the meal expense.
Herron said more court fines are coming in.
"To make a believer out of some of these folks, we're actually enforcing it and keeping them," she said. "But while they are here, they are not just sitting under the air conditioner. We've got them doing stuff around City Hall and where we need them. I've even told (Street Superintendent Alan May) that when it comes time to do some painting around the (municipal swimming) pool, if (Police Chief Antoine Cobb) has a reserve officer, we'll take them down there and let them paint the pool or whatever we need done."
Herron also said the generator in the jail is not working due to a switch, which could be $15,000 to $20,000 for replacement if it cannot be repaired. Chambers said emergency lights for power outages are being obtained for the jail, as they are not expensive. Chambers also reviewed protocol for working with E-911 for calls when the power goes out.
• Heard Chambers said the garage door has also been looked at where wood is decaying. "It is going to be an expensive fix, but for now it will partially work. We still have to get them to adjust the linkage and put a new belt on it," she said, noting it is not a safety issue. If the belt breaks, it still has an emergency stop on it. "We're just using it as we have to," she said.
• Heard Herron said a request was made to put a street light by the nursing home on Fourth Avenue, on the corner, as it is dark on that area. District 2 Councilwoman Oranetta Kirk said she tried to tell an Alabama Power official the site was private property, but that the utility maintains it belonged to the city. "We don't have any property over there," Herron said. The mayor said she still needs to meet with Alabama Power anyway within the next couple of weeks about installing LED lights in the city.