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City council eyes projects, protecting bees from spraying

The Demopolis City Council continued its discussion on two ongoing projects during a meeting last week.
After receiving information from two engineering firms related to an advertised request for qualifications, the council voted unanimously to move forward by asking both of those firms for requests for proposal to ease traffic concerns on Roman Alley. Officials have said the dead-end street is too narrow for some emergency response vehicles and drivers have a hard time turning around to get off the street. The council is considering whether it would be feasible to connect Roman Alley to Fields Street.
The two firms that replied to the request for qualifications was Civil Southeast of Prattville and Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood of Montgomery. Those two will now have an opportunity to respond to a request for proposal on the project.
The council is also looking at problems involving a ditch on Decatur Street. The council is considering utilizing large containers, welded together, that would be used to keep water flowing and stopping the erosion that is damaging a homeowner’s property and leading to severe mosquito problems.
Councilman Charles Jones said he has gotten prices for the project and that it would be about $19,350; however, it was stated additional containers would like be needed. Jones said he and Public Works Superintendent Mike Baker would work on obtaining more specific information and report back to the council. No action was taken.
Other items discussed by the council included:
• the dangers that recent mosquito spraying is having on those who raise bees within the city. According to Grayson, the city has received several requests to look into the matter.
“Turns out, Demopolis has a good number of beekeepers within the spraying jurisdiction and some of those have asked us to suspend spraying in their neighborhoods,” Grayson said.
Public Works Superintendent Mike Baker said the requests raise issues with other homeowners.
“In order to protect the bees we would have to not spray in an area of four blocks. While there may be one beekeeper in that area, there may be 25 other residents,” Baker said.
Councilmember Harris Nelson suggested looking to other municipalities for possible solutions.
“We need the bees, but don’t need the mosquitoes. We’re probably not the only city that has dealt with this; perhaps we could find out how other cities have handled this problem,” Nelson said.
Mayor Grayson said he would make contact with other cities and report back to the council.
• approving a measure to donate easement property along Hwy. 43 South to the Alabama Department of Transportation for a bridge replacement project.
The easement would take some property located in front of the Demopolis Sportsplex. After discussion, the council voted to donate the property with the stipulation that the Sportsplex sign is replaced at its current quality.
• hearing a request from Emma Palmer about moving a water meter on her property.
• approving Harris Hurst as a new member to the Water Works and Sewer Board. Hurst will be filling the vacancy left when Chuck Smith resigned as a board member. Smith also served as chairman of that board. Jay Reynolds is the current board chairman.
• approving to let for bids a surplus property Dodge Durango. The city had advertised for bids earlier, but the two bids that were submitted were $300 each.
• approving the Demopolis Police Department to submit applications for three grants. Police Chief Tommie Reese said the grants would total $12,000 and be used for technology and equipment.
• a test home being built in the city. Councilman Jones, who is involved in the project, said the home is a test site for a new type of construction. While current residents have seen the steel frame, Jones said when completed the steel will not be visible. “We will be comparing the energy efficiency; hopefully, it goes well and there will be more,” he said. Jones said he would work on placing a sign on the construction site for the public to view.
The council voted to enter an executive session to discuss “financial matters.”
The next city council meeting is planned for Thursday, July 21, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall. The public is invited to attend.