VIDEO: Tempers flare at the Rainsville Council

VIDEO: Tempers flare at the Rainsville Council

PHOTO: Citizen Sonjia Pittman discusses a letter sent to her by the attorney of Councilman Bejan Taheri.

By Marla Jones, Reporter

RAINSVILLE, Ala.  — (Full Video at the Bottom) The Rainsville City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, November 6, 2017.

Rainsville resident Sonjia Pittman was on the agenda to address the council concerning the paving of her road off of Maple Avenue.  In previous addresses to the Council, Pittman had addressed the issue of Councilman Bejan Taheri having a potential conflict of interest because of his prior ownership of the land surrounding the road in question.  

A title search had revealed that Taheri and Alabama State House Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter were owners of the land surrounding the road in questions prior to the land being subdivided for homes to be constructed. As Mrs. Pittman approached the Council, she asked that the podium be made available for her use during her remarks. Taheri and Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt refused the request and informed her to proceed with her remarks.  

Pittman stated that since she had addressed the Council previously, she had received a letter from Taheri’s lawyer, Terry Gillis, stating that Taheri was not the developer of the property with Nathaniel Ledbetter. Pittman began to read the letter and Taheri interrupted her saying that the reading of the letter was not within her stated purpose of road paving in her request to address the Council.  

Councilman Marshall Stiefel appealed to Mayor Lingerfelt to allow Pittman to continue speaking citing Lingerfelt’s earlier ruling that Taheri would not be allowed to address Pittman concerning the paving issue. Ultimately, Lingerfelt informed Pittman that she would not be allowed to continue to read the letter.

Pittman stopped reading the letter but stated that she would continue to attend the Council meetings in her quest to get her road paved. After the meeting, Taheri made the letter available to Southern Torch and it is shown below in its entirety.

Letter from Bejan Taheri's legal counsel to Mrs. Sonjia Pittman.
Second page of letter sent to Mrs. Sonjia Pittman from Councilman Bejan Taheri.

In other business, the Council formally adopted an authorization resolution granting the Mayor and city attorney the authority to file a condemnation lawsuit against Roger and Teresa Berry and Billy and Talese Berry concerning their property surrounding the Chavies Bridge.

Lingerfelt had previously stated that the city’s offer of $10,000 for their property to be used for right-of-way alongside the newly proposed Chavies Bridge was refused by the Berry’s.

Items that the Council approved in its regular meeting:

  • The Council will take bids, with right of refusal,  on the turn lane project at RTI. Bids will be open on November 27, 2017 at 11am.
  • Approved the hire of Daniel Sizemore to appraise Tracts 3 & 4 for the Chavies Bridge Project.
  • Several Board appointments and reappointments were made.
  • Approved the purchase of a Surveillance Security System to be installed at the Rainsville Municipal Annex at a price of no more than $3,500.00. The cost of system will be paid out of Court money.
  • Approved a one-time pay raise for City Employees
  • Approved the purchase of (2) Apple computers for the library at a cost of $2,838.00
  • Councilman Derek Rosson also announced that the City of Rainsville will be taking bids for pest control.  It will be a closed bid to be opened on December 4, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
  • The Rainsville Christmas Parade will be on December 9 beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Santa Claus and activities for children, young and old, will be held before the parade at the Tom Bevill Center from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on November 20, 2017. The Workshop will begin at 4:15 pm and regular council meeting at 5:00 pm. 

Watch the Full Video: