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Council taps Hurst to serve on school board

The Demopolis City Council made several board appointments during a meeting Thursday, including naming Harris Hurst to the Demopolis City School Board.

Hurst, an employee at WestRock, was appointed to fill an upcoming vacancy upon the departure of long-serving board member Jim Stafford. Stafford’s term expires in April.

A motion to name Hurst to the board was made by District 3 Councilman Harris Nelson and was approved by unanimous vote with no other nominations presented.

In another board appointment, Justina Allgood, an employee with Southern Company’s  Greene County plant, was appointed to the Demopolis Water Works and Sewer Board. Allgood’s nomination was approved unanimously. Allgood holds a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The council also approved the re-appointment of three members to the Marengo County Economic Development Authority. Those members are Hugh Overmyer, Jim Parr, and Bill Mackey.

In other business, the council approved for District 1 Councilman Charles Jones to work with the engineers to determine whether the city would be allowed to place a pipe as a means of repairing a ditch on Decatur Street. Jones was given the go-ahead to spend up to $8,000 in engineering fees based on the information received on the mitigation costs that might be involved.

Other items discussed included:

• heard a request from members of the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce Board regarding the city helping to pay benefits for the next chamber director. Currently, that position receives no health benefits.

Chamber Board Member Ben Sherrod said offering a benefits package would help to attract a higher qualified candidate and possibly a directory who would serve a longer tenure.

“We are asking (the city) to help provide benefits so we can attract a new pool of candidates,” Sherrod said. “We’ve had good people in the past, but they leave because we do not offer benefits. We want to make the job more appealing.”

It was discussed that the director position could be added to the city’s payroll, thus making the person in the position a city employee.

There was no action taken as the item was continued to the next meeting.

• approving to spend approximately $776,000 for work related to the east and west bridges on Jackson Street. A portion of those funds will be paid in 2018 for repairs to the west bridge while the remaining will be paid in 2019 for the replacing of the east bridge. Mayor John Laney said a new bridge would be constructed just north of the current east bridge.

• approving to spend $52,256 for the city’s obligation on repairing a railroad spur at the Airport Industrial Park.

• approving travel for the mayor to attend an Alabama Works program and the League of Municipalities meeting in Montgomery.

• hearing from resident Harold Park who asked that the city hold off on any work to the Confederate Memorial monument for a period of six months. He said he would like to make a presentation to the council at a later date. He also voiced concerns that a meeting of a committee tasked with offering possibilities regarding the monument’s future after it was damaged in 2016. He said the meetings of that committee did not meet the requirements of the state’s Open Meetings Act and that there may have been conflicts of interests regarding those who served on that committee.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall. The public is invited to attend.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, February 3 issue of the Demopolis Times.)