Council appoints Murdock to BOE

Published 6:37 pm Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Demopolis City Council appointed Conrad Murdock to the Demopolis City Schools board of education during Thursday’s meeting.

His nomination came from Councilman Mitchell Congress who had previously supported other candidates to fill the position.The appointment concerns who will replace Bobby Armstead, who has continued to serve on the board after his term expired June 1.

Congress said that he didn’t want this council’s legacy to be that “we ended in gridlock and could not make a simple appointment.”

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The current council has one more scheduled meeting on Oct. 18. Congress and Bill Meador will be the only incumbents on the new council and will be joined by newcomers Charles Jones Jr., D. Harris Nelson and Cleveland Cole.

“This has become a decisive issue for a long time. I wanted to see the council come together,” Congress said. “I think Conrad is an excellent choice.”

Congress said he called previous nominees before the meeting to let them know his intentions, as well as Mayor Mike Grayson and outgoing councilman Jack Cooley.

During that call, Grayson said he told Congress to think hard about the nomination before making it.

Grayson, Cooley and Meador all supported Murdock in the most recent vote, which was held on Sept. 6. Congress and Thomas Moore walked out of that meeting to prevent the vote from being official.

Moore and Melvin Yelverton were absent from Thursday night’s meeting.

Grayson said he is optimistic that the council will be able to find more common ground going forward.

“I’m optimistic that this may be a sign of the things to come,” Grayson said.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

•Discussed a new process for addressing overgrown and vacant lots. The new process will be that a Demopolis police officer will first speak to the owner or occupant about the property.

If nothing is done to address the situation, pictures of the property will be brought before the council to declare it overgrown. If nothing is still done after that, the city or a contractor can cut the overgrowth, that cost would have to be paid by the property owner or a tax lien would be placed against the land.

“We are not talking about a change of any ordinances,” said Grayson, adding that the city is working to get a “fair, consistent and systematic approach” to dealing with overgrown lots. “It’s designed to gets results in an expeditious manner.”

•Approved a request from businessman Dexter Turner, whose towing business was being hurt my a recently adopted ordinance concerning wreckers. A change required all towers used in the city’s rotation to have vehicles no more than 20 years old. Turner told the council that his truck met all other requirements except it was a 1983 model.

“My vehicle is up to code otherwise,” Turner said.

The council decided to remove the 20-year age cap on wreckers as long as all other requirements are met.

•Brian Brooker from the Demopolis Historic Preservation Commission addressed the council with concerns about a approved water tank that will be built near Bluff Hall.
“We are just really concerned about what impact that will have on our historic character,” Brooker said. “We don’t feel like that was done with a lot of public input or knowledge.”