Sipsey council hires clerk, changes meeting hour

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SIPSEY – The Sipsey City Council on Monday hired a new full-time city clerk and changed the hour of the monthly council meetings to later in the afternoon. 

Kristina Ward will assume her duties as city clerk immediately. One of the first items Ward will have to take on is sending out business licenses, which must go out by Oct. 31. The council also approved a motion to purchase office supplies for city hall.

In a related matter, Councilman Jerome Nunn discussed the need to change the city council meeting time from 3:30 p.m. to another time that would allow more people to attend the meetings. The council approved changing the time of future council meetings to 5:30 on the third Monday of each month. 

In other action, the council: 

• Heard Assistant Fire Chief Craig Grace give an update on activities for the past month. The department has engaged a grant writer to work on grants. Once the grants are approved, the city will use these funds to purchase needed equipment for the fire department.

The new department Motorola radios that were approved in a previous council meeting were expected to arrive in a few days. Also arriving are medical bags used by the first responders in the department. The city needs to write a check for $338 plus tax to pay the vendor upon delivery.

The fire department is now tapped into active E-911 service. Within the next two months, they will be billed an annual charge of $11.75 for each of the department’s handsets. The total annual charge will be approximately $120. The council will have to address the recurring charges in a future meeting.

The Fire Department is planning a Trunk or Treat event in Sipsey on Halloween night between the Sipsey Post Office and Mike’s Grocery. It will be between 5 and 7 p.m.

The department will also do a drama with the Sipsey Church of God on Nov. 3, at 6 p.m.

Emergency calls for September included one for a wood fire, one car fire, and 23 medical calls. Last week, the department responded to a serious auto accident on Campbellsville Road on the line between Sipsey and Town Creek coverage.

• Heard Police Chief Jady R. Pipes give a report on his department for the month. There were two complaints made against the police department recently. The complaints were discussed in the called council meeting earlier in October. Pipes investigated these complaints, along with Councilman Christopher Lollar. Pipes said that he discovered more details and determined that these complaints were baseless. He did emphasize that it’s important to investigate all complaints against the department.

Pipes purchased a fully equipped and certified 2018 Ford Explorer. This is his personal vehicle that will be used for police business in Sipsey. He asked that the city reimburse him for the gas he uses and the routine servicing.

He also recommended that the council consider making Assistant Police Chief Will Bynum full-time at an hourly rate of $12. This will enhance the city’s police coverage.

Pipes recommended that the council approve hiring three part-time police officers to help fill in the coverage gaps for the times the Pipes and Bynum are off duty. He also asked the council to approve the police policies and procedures manual he shared with them recently. No immediate action was taken on the recommendations.

He worked with the fire department to identify 15 lights in the city limits that are not working. After the poles were tagged, they contacted Alabama Power to have the defective lights repaired. 

Pipes also wanted to make the police contact number public so the community could contact the department. The number to call is 205-255-6699. If there is no policeman on duty, this line will be forwarded to the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

• Heard Mayor Pro tem Brenda Robinson report that the new city time clock will be delivered this week and a second one for the police department is on backorder. The second time clock is needed because the police department is in a different building.

• Heard Robinson report that there is an issue with the plumbing in city hall. The city needs to will call a plumber to come and make repairs.

• Heard a concern from citizen Mary Jackson about a culvert near her home that is clogged up. She’s requesting the fire department see if they can unclog the culvert or reach out to District 4 Walker County Commissioner Steven Aderholt to see if the county could do the repair.

• Heard a member of the community ask how the city is addressing the problem of homeless people in the city. Sanders said she’d had one situation where a homeless woman came to City Hall asking for help. Sanders put her in touch with the Walker County Coalition of the Homeless. The city plans to develop a list of existing resources to help with some of the social problems facing the city.