Build The Wall?
August 8, 2018
Southern Torch (3337 articles)
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Build The Wall?

By Marla Jones, Reporter • marla@southerntorch.com

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Full Video Below) Concerns were brought up by Councilmember Marshall Stiefel at last Monday’s meeting of the Rainsville City Council. Southern Torch reached out to Stiefel regarding his concerns on spending and transparency.

“Here we are ten months into the 2018 fiscal year and we still don’t have the outside audit for 2017,” he said. “Next month, we will start working on our 2019 budget and we still don’t know if we stayed in budget for 2017. You can’t spend without knowing what you have in the bank.” Stiefel reached out to Gant, Croft & Associates (who perform the outside audit) but was told they were out of the office and would return the call. As of print time, the call had not been returned.

“Without this information, how can we as city officials, make proper decisions regarding city expenditures?” he continued. “We owe the citizens transparency on the state of our city.”

At the meeting, Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt brought forth the need for renovations at City Hall.

He stated there would be “easier access, more storage, energy efficient, and better working conditions.” Jimmy Traylor Construction submitted a bid for the project at $10,420. All of the Council voted in favor except Stiefel.

“I am not against improvements or spending,” commented Stiefel. “To me, the spending is just out of control.”

Stiefel also addressed the recent building of a retainer wall at the Tom Bevill Enrichment Center.

Stiefel stated that, “nothing had been voted on” and that it violated Resolution 4-21-14 that stated that the Mayor and Council cannot spend more than $750 without Council approval. This erupted in a conversation between Councilmembers Stiefel and Taheri when the latter presented an $85 bill for the wall. Stiefel questioned whether or not a retainer wall could be built for such a low cost.

Stiefel rebutted that he had two home builders give estimates on the wall and they determined that the wall would have cost approximately $3,500 for materials alone.

Taheri argued that the wall was an in-house project; therefore, all labor was provided by City employees.

Stiefel continued by saying that, “it still violated the resolution, in-house or not, because of the cost of the materials alone.” Councilmember Brandon Freeman spoke up and said he broke the resolution on a weekly basis by stocking the concession stands at the Field of Dreams.

In other business, Caleb Lee gave an update regarding the replacement of a pump station on Highway 35. Lee provided three options with varying costs and upgrades. The Council chose and approved Lee’s second option which would see the City granted $200,000 for improvements. The City’s match would be $175,000 plus $14,000.

The Mayor also reported that the turn lane for RTI was completed and that the Council needed to accept the intersection. This action was Council approved.

Councilmember Ricky Byrum reported that the bridge on George Wallace Avenue had been inspected and needed steel replaced under the bridge for the additional cost of $28,000.

“If it costs money, it’s better than loss of life,” said Byrum. The Council approved the action.

Byrum also advised that the culverts, that were put in during the 1940s, were cracking and needed to be replaced on Parker Avenue. He said it would be around $6,500 to fix the headwalls and tile on Parker. This action passed as well.

DeKalb County Sheriff Republican nominee, Nick Welden, addressed the Council asking for their support in his upcoming election.

The Council also took the following actions:

• Approved the part-time hire of Steve Bowman at Parks and Recreation for nineteen hours at $8 per hour

• Accepted the resignation of Andrew Hairston as the City’s public defender (effective on September 12 and currently accepting applications)

• Accepted a $2,000 for the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce golf tournament from Sen. Steve Livingston and Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter

• Voted to join the opioid lawsuit being filed by counties across the state to help recover costs from the ongoing opioid crisis (Byrum stated that he wanted any profits collected from the lawsuit to be earmarked for the Rainsville Police Department)

• The Rainsville Police Department will host a Poker Run on Saturday, August 11 beginning at 9am with registration beginning at 9am and the ride will last until 1pm and resume back at the city park with Still Kickin’ as the special entertainment. All proceeds will benefit the Rainsville Police Department’s equipment costs.

The next meeting of the Rainsville City Council will be held on Monday, August 20 with workshop beginning at 4:15pm and the meeting starting at 5pm.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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