Following a lengthy discussion, the Eutaw City Council reached an agreement on who has the power to hire and fire the police chief, fire chief and city clerk. A majority voted that the council would appoint the city clerk, that the mayor and council would appoint the police chief and that, because the Eutaw Fire Department was a volunteer organization, the members of the Department would appoint their own chief.
Once again, the council debated how much Atty. Mike Smith should be paid and if his services were needed at all meetings of the council.
Smith is paid a $1,500 per month retainer plus $185 per hour for other legal work.
Several members were of the opinion that the council did not need Smith at every meeting, while Mayor Raymond Steele insisted that his presence was necessary.
When Councilmember David Spencer suggested that the matter could be resolved with another meeting, Steele set a working meeting to be held on August 3 at 6 p.m.
Another bone of contention with the council was Mayor Steele’s decision to close City Hall for the 4th of July from Friday through Monday. Steele advised them that there was precedent for his decision, but several councilmembers said it was not fair to the public to close City Hall without public notice being given.
There was also discussion of a $297,000 USDA grant that the city had never received. “It is not me that’s holding this up,” said Steele. “I can’t make them move any faster.”
There is a grant available that could be used on Lock 7 at the Lagoon site and to replace two pumping stations. “We need to take advantage of this grant,” said Steele.
Councilmember Ralph Liverman presented the council with a brief financial report, which included:
*The city has collected 80% of its expected revenue for the year;
*Sales tax revenue is what is normal for this time in the year;
*The water fund will break even in August;
*If spending in the police department continues as it was in June, the department will be over its budget by approximately $42,000;
*A $100 per employee per month increase in group insurance caused a $9,000 increase in insurance costs.
“When you factor in overtime for the police department, we’re in a position where we have to watch what we spend,” he concluded.
In other business, the Council:
*Approved the bid from SW Water of $14,050 to do some necessary work on Well #2.
*Heard a presentation from Dana Jenkins with Waste Management. She said the city was still behind in its payments for garbage collection and asked when they could pay the remainder of the bill. Mayor Steele told her that the matter would have to be studied before any decision was reached.
Following public comment, some discussion was held regarding the Eutaw Airport. Liverman said that the airport had been an “economic disaster” for the town and suggested that it be turned over to an independent entity or be made a county/city project.
Steele was not in favor of these suggestions.
Weather for Eutaw, Ala. Monday Tuesday WednesdayPartly Cloudy90/68Clear90/70Chance of a Thunderstorm84/64
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