By Tyler Pruett
RAINSVILLE, Ala.—The Rainsville City Council met for a regularly scheduled council meeting Monday night. Mayor Nick Jones called the meeting to order with Joey Graham, Melissa Ledbetter, and Rodger Lingerfelt from the council in attendance.
The first issue the council addressed was a motion to use city funds to match federal funding provided through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that is designed to help municipalities identify city properties or private properties within a city that are in need of demolition, and then provide the municipality with financial resources to safely dismantle or demolish the structures.
The grant provides federal funding to pay 80 percent of the demolition cost, requiring the city of Rainsville to match the federal funds at 20 percent of the project's cost. In this case the grant will provide Rainsville with roughly $300,000 (80%) in federal funding and the city will only have to pay for about $60,000 (20% match) of the total cost of the demolition project.
The council approved a resolution that identified 22 properties in Rainsville that are potential candidates for demolition and approved the use of city dollars for the 20 percent match of the federal funds. The resolution needed approval before July 1 for the city to receive the grant funding. The council approved the resolution with the stipulation that all properties be verified that they are within the city limits.
The council then tackled personnel issues, approving the hire of Adam Facteau to the sanitation department. Councilman Graham then made a motion to post a new external job opening in the police department for a patrol officer. The motion carried.
Councilman Lingerfelt brought up equipment needs from the city’s fire department and emergency services, getting a motion approved by the council to pay for wiring in one fire truck from the fire fund. Lingerfelt also verified that funds in the amount of $11,904.00 will be provided from the city towards the new fire truck, which will be arriving in the next few weeks. He then asked for approval to pay the annual renewal fee for the dispatch notification service which was approved.
Lingerfelt also pointed out that the next regularly scheduled council meeting falls on July 4. The council then decided to move the meeting to Tuesday, July 5 at the normal time of 5:30 p.m.
Councilwoman Ledbetter brought up maintenance and renovation issues at the Tom Bevill Center. The council approved motions to take bids on renovating both bathrooms and another motion to pay for roof repairs.
Ledbetter then received approval from the council to apply for several non-matching grants. The council approved grant applications for the parks and recreation department to build a new pavilion and education grants for the library, fire department, and police department. Ledbetter also brought motions to close city accounts with First Bank of the South and move them to First Southern Bank, which were approved.
Councilman Graham asked for and received approval on a resolution to ensure the city is in compliance with water pollution prevention standards for the Wastewater Treatment Project (WWTP). He then brought to the council’s attention a recent economic impact study conducted by the Agri-Business center.
The Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center is managed by a board of directors who recently completed a study to measure the economic impact, or money brought in to the city, of the complex. Using their “formula,” the board theorized that the arena had brought in $209,000 to the Rainsville area for the month of May.
The study theorizes that every person brought to the Agri-Business center for events is a visitor to the Rainsville area and spends $100 per day on expenses like lodging or food. Graham was happy to announce the influx of over $200,000 of theoretical money for the month of May to the local economy.
“I think this is a very conservative number,” Graham said, “I know when I go places I spend a lot more than $100 a day.”
At press time Southern Torch was unable to obtain a copy of the economic impact study or verify the accuracy, methodology or origin of the theoretical financial equations used in estimating the windfall of hypothetical cash that the study claims has been generated by the Agri-business center operation. Southern Torch will continue to investigate the financial impact study in the days to come and will report our analysis as soon as the information becomes available from the study.
In additional items brought up before adjournment, Mayor Jones brought forth motions to move a patrol officer to investigator and approve travel expenses for Chief Johnny Stewart to attend a conference. Both were approved.
The council then adjourned. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 5 with the workshop beginning at 5 p.m.