City Council makes IDB appointments

Published 4:56 pm Monday, January 10, 2011

The Demopolis City Council voted Thursday night to install Stephen Morgan to the vacant seat on the Industrial Development Board effective immediately. The discussion regarding the seat had been tabled at a previous meeting, at which time Morgan and Paul Miller were nominated for consideration.

Thursday, the council voted to install Morgan immediately to the board and add Miller to the body March 1 when three other members of the board round out their current appointments. The decision is an unprecedented one for the city’s lawmaking body as it fills a seat that has not yet been vacated. It will also leave the city to decide between three current IDB members March 1 when only two seats will be available after Thursday’s decision.

The council then engaged in discussion regarding whether or not to purchase an infrared thermal camera for the Demopolis Fire Department. DFD Chief Ronnie Few previously informed the council of the dilapidated nature of the department’s current infrared camera.

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However, Thursday Few informed the council the camera was important to his department but was not its highest budgetary priority. That distinction goes to the department’s need to repair the vehicle of a battalion chief.

After a lengthy debate, Councilman Mitchell Congress proposed a budget amendment that would have taken approximately $7,000 from the general fund to purchase the camera while the fire department handled the stated vehicle repairs from its own budget. The motion failed on a 3-3 split vote with the trio of dissenters citing an unwillingness to set a precedent of undermining the city’s department heads.

The council also opted to move forward with a grant proposal to pave Lem Wilson Road. The council had previously determined to apply for a grant to fund work on Sunset Road then turn its attention to Lem Wilson Road at the next opportunity. Given the failure of the grant application for Sunset Road, the council decided to stand by its previous commitment and move forward with the process of obtaining funds for Lem Wilson Road.

The council also heard from Sharon Stipe of UWA, whose students will be preparing free income tax returns at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center each Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Jan. 20 for individuals whose income is less than $57,000.

The next Demopolis City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20 at 5:15 p.m.