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Demopolis eyes additional paving through CDBG grant

The Demopolis City Council will apply for a Community Development Block Grant with the goal of adding additional funding for street paving.

The council has already approved paving approximately 11 miles of roads spread across all five of the city districts. If approved to receive the CDBG grant, that total could increase to 16 miles.

Projects Manager Mike Baker said the grant would be approximately $450,000 with a city match of about $230,000 for a total of $680,000.

Baker also addressed with the council barrier options aimed at protecting about 1,500 to 1,700 feet of river wall, which has been deteriorating. The barrier would be placed across public access areas north of the civic center as well as some city right-of-ways adjacent to residential areas to the south of the facility.

The council opted to place three-wire galvanized steel fencing across a stretch of about 200 feet as a test. Baker said he could get that for $500.

“We won’t disturb that area very much with this type of fence and it will discourage anyone from going over, through or under it,” Baker said.

Other items discussed by the council included:

• approving a public assembly for Protest is Progress for a Black Lives Matter gathering on June 19, 6 p.m., beginning at the city landing with a march to travel along Main Avenue.

• Mayor John Laney read a proclamation recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth, a date long celebrated by African Americans in recognition of the final slaves being freed in the U.S.

• hearing a report from Building Inspector Julius Rembert regarding ongoing dilapidated properties.

• approving the 2020-21 Capital Budget with several adjustments. The capital budget is not official until the final budget is approved later this year.

• approving an adjustment of $97,871.58 for retirement benefits. City Clerk Sam Gross said the amount was miscalculated in the 2019-20 budget.

• approving supplemental pay for city employees associated with the pandemic. In all, the city will provide an additional $95,175 to its employees from CARES Act funding. The additional pay will not affect the city budget.

• Resident Harold Park addressed the council regarding truck traffic and speeders on Walnut Avenue. He presented a sign to the council regarding “no truck traffic” that he said is recognized by truck drivers around the world and felt it could help with truck traffic in Demopolis.

Police Chief Rex Flowers said that since January his department has written 22 tickets to those traveling off the truck route, which added is three times more than the three prior years combined.

The next city council meeting will be held July 2, noon, at Rooster Hall. A work session will begin at 11 a.m. The time of the meeting was changed to allow employees to be off that night as city hall will be closed the following day for Independence Day.