By Marla Jones, Managing Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Video at southerntorch.com) The Rainsville City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 20.
In the regular session of the meeting, Mayor Lingerfelt advised the council that they had “come up with a little more money” to pave another street within the city. This was not on the original agenda. If the contractor agreed to add this road to the contract it would be at an additional cost of $55,000. Church, Grimes, and Northside were originally contracted to be paved. According to Lingerfelt, there are three streets remaining in Rainsville that needed to be paved. Last year, Mockingbird Lane was cut to replace a collapsed culvert and never repaired.
Councilman Marshall Stiefel inquired about the possibility of paving Maple Avenue. The residents on that road have been trying for years to get the road to meet the City guidelines for paving. Councilman Bejan Taheri interjected that Maple Avenue was tabled in a previous meeting and could never be mentioned again. At the 6:10 mark of the live Southern Torch coverage, Taheri can be seen shaking his head and sticking his tongue out at the camera. After being called down by Mayor Lingerfelt, the council approved the paving of Mockingbird Lane. Lingerfelt stated that Maple Avenue was not a street, it was a driveway.
Southern Torch reached out to Councilman Bejan Taheri for comment regarding the meeting and Maple Avenue.
“The street name is Robin Lane NOT Maple Ave and the city engineer has not accepted the road because is not to City specification and City cant pave it because its consider as a private road,” stated Taheri.
Southern Torch investigated the claim and residents on that road receive their mail addressed to Maple Avenue. In checking, Robin Lane is the next street up from Maple Avenue and was paved by the developer, Larry Traylor. Robin Lane is listed as a city street.
“As a former resident of Maple Avenue, I beg to differ with Councilman Taheri. I received my mail on Maple Avenue, along with other residents on this street. The residents of Maple Avenue have put in personal money in years past to bring the street up to code. Due to administrative changes, the road was never paved and now with new regulations, the street is not up to code. I feel that we should have been grandfathered in since we fell by the wayside,” stated Rainsville resident, Regina Randolph.
“Taheri, along with House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter was one of the first purchasers of this property. I can not state if they were the developer of this land. However, Mrs. Sonjia Pittman, resident of Maple Avenue was reprimanded by Taheri numerous times, at various council meetings, pertaining to this situation. She even received a letter from Taheri’s attorney stating never to address Taheri as the developer again, she also was forbidden by Taheri from reading the letter out loud,” concluded Randolph.
Upon review of the coverage of the November 6, 2017, Rainsville Council meeting, Pittman stated that since she had addressed the Council previously, she had received a letter from Taheri’s attorney, Terry Gillis dated October 26, 2017. Ms. Pittman began to read the letter and Taheri interrupted her saying that reading was not in the scope of her request to address the Council. Ultimately, Lingerfelt advised Pittman that she would not be allowed to continue reading the letter. Taheri made a motion that Pittman could never address the council on Maple Avenue again. The motion passed with a 4-2 vote with Marshall Stiefel and Brandon Freeman voting against the motion.
When asked for a comment, Councilman Marshall Stiefel stated, “I would prefer a more professional meeting of the Council. Rainsville is better than this. I am glad that Mockingbird Lane will be paved. My hope is that all Rainsville streets will be paved in the future.”
The Mayor informed the Council that the City had been awarded Corona Relief Funds to pay all employees hazard pay for working through the coronavirus pandemic. Full-time employees will receive a one-time payment of $500 and part-time employees $250.
Two promotions within the Rainsville Police Department were approved by the Council. Matt Crum, former Revenue Officer for the city was promoted to Assistant Chief, making $18.13 per hour, effective July 22. Todd Bowen was promoted to Captain/Investigator effective July 22 at $18.09 per hour.
The Council heard from City Engineer, Sam Phillips who advised the council that the Highland Subdivision had completed the requirements for the city to accept three streets.
In other business:
- Purchased an Epson Wireless Projector to be paid for by Court System
- Approved Fire Chief’s Conference for Cheif Wright and Asst. Chief Summerford August 7-12
- Posted Revenue Officer Position for 7 days internally/7 days externally
- Authorized the Mayor to sign a construction loan with First Southern State Bank for Boozer Bridge
- Purchased a storage building for the fire department with funds paid from County, State Senator Clay Scofield and the city
- Approved work on the DeKalb County Bus Garage Parking lot so buses can be parked there instead of DeKalb County Schools Coliseum and Techincal School
The next meeting of the Rainsville City Council will be held on August 3 at 5 p.m.