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Demopolis council approves $300,000 loan to hospital

The Demopolis City Council approved loaning Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital $300,000 for 90 days during a council meeting recess on May 3. Councilor Charles Jones said the loan will be for general operational expenses and will be paid back in full upon the 90-day mark.

Mayor John Laney also made a note that discussions will take place with the city’s attorney to ensure no conflict of interest regarding the loan as one councilor has a personal connection to the hospital. The discussion will clarify whether the vote will count or not, however because the mayor and other councilors voted ‘yes,’ the loan will be approved regardless.

They also approved the purchase of a 25-acre piece of land on Fulton Street for no more than $12,500. Per an Alabama Department of Environmental Management law, trees must be burned on the lot from which they are cut or transported to a landfill to decompose. The city plans to use the land to store wood for decomposition rather than taking it to a landfill.

During the May 2 meeting, the city council also tabled discussions of the property annexation at the municipal airport not including the property known as Two Rivers Lumber until further notice following a discussion regarding a resolution to annex it which would allow property taxes to be collected on the land. The property is also being taken of the market.

“The city is not going to market that property if we don’t have a direction that we would tell business clients,” Laney said.

Other items discussed by the council include:

• Laney proclaimed May 16-25 at EMS Week.

• Building Inspector Julius Rembert updated the city council on dilapidated properties. He also announced that on the May 26 the city will host a “Be a Good Neighbor” event at the Demopolis City Civic Center at 4 p.m. “This event will promote the code enforcement website and educate citizens on the responsibly of being a good neighbor by cleaning up and maintaining their properties,” he said.

• Meador listed some stipulations to the proposed golf cart city ordinance, including the requirement of liability insurance and applicable permits and licenses of the driver. The ordinance will be up for public comment at the next meeting.

• Councilor Charles Jones updated the council on work towards the drainage issue on Jefferson Street. He said the culvert is damaged and he is currently looking into the prices for possible options of repairs. He also said he was in contact with Demopolis Water Works about covering the costs for the final deci-sion on the water tower near the Demopolis City Landing and Civic Center, which is still under consideration.

• re-appointing Judy Day and Donald Jones to the Cemetery Board and Carolyn Moore to the Demopolis City Board of Education.

• The city council also passed four resolutions including declaring surplus property, declaring public nuisances regarding dilapidated property, a budget adjustment of $15,000 transferred from Public Works to the Cemetery Board, and a budget adjustment for the DPD for overtime adjustments.

• donating $1,000 for the Liberty Learning Foundation, which presents the 10-week citizenship program Super Citizens at Westside Elementary School this year.

• Fire Chief Keith Murray and Battalion Chief Michael Pope announced the department’s plans for a “Fill the Boot” fundraiser to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation on the weekend of May 24.

• Public Works Department Project Manager Mike Baker updated the council on the work on the two bridges on Jackson Street. The work on the west bridge is proceeding as planned and work on the east bridge will begin soon.

He also informed the council that engineers from the Alabama Department of Transportation assessed the sidewalk project, and they requested additional sidewalks be included. He said the council would receive a full report within a week.

• During public comments, David McCants asked for updates on the newly lowered speed limit on Bell Grayson Street, which Police Chief Rex Flowers said the signs were currently being made.

Harold Park also told the council that he still sees 18-wheelers traveling on Walnut Avenue to Hwy. 80 despite signage. Baker said ALDOT would not allow flashing signs at the sign’s current location, and he is working on moving the signs back in order to gets flashing lights to make them more visible.

Park also requested a lower speed limit on Walnut Avenue, which he said he has done multiple times before, and Laney told him to get a petition from the residents on Walnut Street for the city council to take into consideration.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 8 issue of the Demopolis Times.)