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Eutaw delays new council appointment

Tuesday’s meeting of the Eutaw City Council was more notable for action not taken on several issues.

The council did not choose a replacement for councilman B.L. Abrams Jr., who passed away recently. Council member Hattie B. Edwards was absent from Tuesday’s meeting due to the flu, and council members did not want to make the selection until she was present.

The council is still within the 60-day period to make the appointment.

In other action from Tuesday’s meeting, mayor Raymond Steele asked the council if they wanted to purchase the Vollrath property next to city hall.

Councilman David Spencer asked if the property had been appraised. Steele said no. The property owner would likely not accept an appraised price, the mayor said.

The council members will look at the property before making a decision.

No decision was made on approving money for the county 911 system. Approximately $75,000 had been requested, said councilman Cecil Durrett Jr. Once the system is enacted, most of the city dispatchers will become part of that system, The salaries for those dispatchers totals $74,000, he said. The entire amount cannot be committed from the start; possibly $40,000 could be committed at the beginning.

The Finance Committee wants an ordinance that no advertisement be placed in any newspaper on behalf of the city council unless it is approved by the council, Durrett said.

City Attorney Mike Smith gave the council three option on changing city ordinances. The changes involve allowing new mobile homes in a R1 residential zone, changing the selection of the city clerk, police chief and fire chief and the appointment of an auditor to review city accounting. The issue was tabled.

The issue of paying employees for comp time was addressed. Councilman Spencer wanted to put the issue to rest. He did not want the city to be liable for a lawsuit over compensation.

The question mainly affects nine supervisory positions, said councilman Joe C. Sanders. The city would likely win any lawsuit over compensation for extra hours worked, Smith said. "There’s a difference between hourly personnel and salaried personnel," the attorney said. He would review the situation with the nine specific positions, however, the compensation should have already been taken into account when their salaries were set.

The supervisors should understand they would – on occasion – be called on to work beyond 40 hours a week, Smith said.

The Finance Committee is considering salary adjustments for all city employees, Durrett said. In addition, the council must establish the definition of a part-time employee.

Councilman Spencer again addressed the issue of choosing members for the medical clinic board. He has asked the state Attorney General for a clarification on the law.

Council member Sanders expressed concern about truck traffic at the intersection of Main Street and Eutaw Avenue (a state highway). Trucks are cutting the curb, he said. "It’s a terrible spot. It’s getting worse and worse. We’re trying to figure out if it’s our responsibility or the state’s responsibility.

Something must be done to resolve the problem, Sanders said. "People are calling the house every week to complain about this."

A State Department of Transportation official did not make a recently scheduled meeting with the mayor on the problem at the intersection. Steele said he would call DOT again to set up a meeting.

Bob Lake, executive director of the West Alabama Regional Commission, addressed the council and said an application has been sent to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for funding of a new police vehicle.