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Council votes down Smarter Fuels study

The Demopolis City Council rejected a contract with an environmental consulting firm to study emissions from Smarter Fuels during Thursday’s meeting, citing expense.

The contract for PELA GeoEnvironmental to study the smell residents say comes from the recycling facility would have cost $2,000. But several council members expressed concerns about additional add-ons and other charges that could cause that number to rise.

“It’s just too open-ended for me,” said Councilman Melvin Yelverton.

Residents say the smell is a by-product of the plant’s processing catfish oils into a form of heating fuel.

Mayor Mike Grayson said the problem persists and that he understands several residents have hired their own legal counsel about the issue.

The mayor did say the company has done work in recent months and that he hasn’t received any complaints recently about the smell.

“I have received no calls from residents recently,” Grayson said.

In rejecting the contract, the council asked that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency be contacted for any consultation those agencies might offer.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

•Approved election officers for the upcoming municipal election, set for Aug. 28.

•Approved adding a time for council discussion back to the body’s agenda with the following guidelines: Each council member can address a single issue for up to three minutes and anything requiring a vote will be pushed to the next meeting.

•The council voted 4-2 against amending the meeting’s agenda to discuss filling the open school board spot. Grayson, Thomas Moore, Jack Cooley and Bill Meador Jr. voted against amending the agenda, while Mitchell Congress and Yelverton voted to include the discussion.