Council approves ordinance for $1.97 million USDA loan
June 13, 2016
Southern Torch (3661 articles)
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Council approves ordinance for $1.97 million USDA loan

Featured image: Rainsville City Council approved ordinance for $1.97 million Monday night


By Tyler Pruett

tyler@southerntorch.com

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — By means of a roll call vote on the second reading, the Rainsville City Council voted to adopt an ordinance to secure $1.97 million in financing from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Rainsville City Ordinance 4-18-16b was passed with five votes for and one against, with the dissenting vote being Mayor Nick Jones.

Jones has voiced his opposition in previous council meetings, with the city council seeming to agree to postpone the ordinance. The mayor has maintained that incurring the debt is unnecessary, and current construction can be paid for out of existing accounts and with short term loans.

Councilman Joey Graham brought the ordinance to vote on Monday. When Jones tried to bring call the council to a vote, Graham requested there be a roll call vote. Since the last reading of the ordinance, Graham had consulted with the newly appointed city attorney, Nikki Scott.

“I took the liberty of calling Nikki Scott, our new city attorney, who is uniquely qualified for for the position,” Graham said.

Graham pointed out that Scott is currently handling a similar for Geraldine and has a good working relationship with David Ringelstein, the attorney who is handling the USDA grant for the City of Rainsville.

“She asked Mr. Ringelstein and he said he wrote an ordinance and they (Geraldine) simply passed it,” Graham said.

Mayor Jones’ opposition vote comes after months of debate with the council over the necessity of the debt.

“The timing is bad on borrowing this money. It’s pointless to replace borrowed money with more borrowed money,” Jones said.

Earlier in the meeting, the city council approved Scott as the new city attorney. Scott replaces the former city attorney, Dara Patterson, who resigned to take a position with Northeast Alabama Community College. This resignation was announced at the same council meeting that the USDA loan ordinance was first announced.

Concerns was also raised about security at city hall by councilwoman Ledbetter. Security has been a topic of debate since earlier in the year, and Ledbetter brought to the floor the issue of the buzzers not working on the side doors.

Councilman Rodger Lingerfelt offered three possible solutions: either update the doors to include a push bar so they could be locked from the inside and adhere to fire safety standards, hire security for the building, or make the main entrance more handicap accessible by adding more parking spaces.

Public addresses to the council included Kay Guffey, who presented a plan for a Veteran’s Memorial. Jerry Clifton also updated the council on the upcoming Freedom Run, which will take place on June 18 in Rainsville. Clifton reports that the run has 700 entrants so far. The proceeds this year will benefit Savannah Willingham, who was injured in an auto accident earlier in the year. Charles Martin updated the council on upcoming events regarding Toys for Tots on the behalf of the United States Marine Corps.

Concerned citizen Sonjia Pittman addressed the council on the issue of closed door meetings and complying with the Alabama Sunshine Law. Pittman circulated copies of the law, but her remarks were cut short by Councilman Graham, who reminded her that each person to address the council had a limit of five minutes.

“Mrs. Pittman, thank you for your time, we do have other business to go on to,” said Graham.

“Five minutes is not enough on this (issue), but I’ll see you at the next council meeting,” Pittman replied.

The meeting was concluded by a preliminary discussion on trade negotiations, which was done in a closed door executive session, called by councilman Joey Graham.

“Open discussion would have detrimental impact on this body’s negotiating position,” Graham said.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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