Council hears Chilly Fest, bypass progress

Published 9:46 pm Sunday, September 10, 2023

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The Sept. 5 Linden City Council meeting was brief and featured a light agenda which included progress updates along with police department pay rates and patrol cars. 

Mayor Gwendolyn Rogers reported that planning for the 2023 Chilly Fest celebration is going well. Rogers has been working with the Chill Fest Committee several times and each meeting has been productive. The committee is currently in the middle of fundraising and has mailed out sponsorship letters.

“Everything is going nicely. We are looking for volunteers to help, and we are looking for donations,” said Rogers. “We are very optimistic about where Chilly Fest is headed this year. We want to be just as successful as it was last year.”

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Rogers reported that she participated in a press conference in Thomasville on Tuesday concerning the West Alabama Corridor project. Rogers said she showed her support for the project that will create a bypass for Linden, which is already under construction.

Rogers said she has scheduled a meeting with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for next week.

“We’re going to look at the plans that they have and make sure what they have on paper is going to be helpful for us,” said Rogers. “We don’t want to get written out of anything or left behind. We want to be a part of it.”

In other business, councilmember Kelly Anthony recommended giving Police Chief Richard Varner a two-dollar per hour salary increase. Anthony said the two-dollar increase would cost the city of Linden about $4,200 annually. 

“As a leadership role here in the city, we should try to bring that position up to align with its peers such as the Public Works Director and the Utilities Superintendent,” said Anthony. “With that raise, there is still around a $17,000 gap between the two of them. But I think this will get us on the right course to align salary-wise.”

The raise was approved and went into effect immediately.

Chief Varner also spoke to the Council about several of the department’s patrol cruisers being out of service. Varner said he has looked into a lease-to-own program where the city would obtain cars at lower rates than they would if they purchased new vehicles. Varner said he was letting the Council know what he was doing and that he will have more information at the Sept. 19 meeting.

Karen Widener, a member of the Revival Worship Center in Demopolis, was the only citizen delegate on the agenda and she addressed the Council about obtaining a permit for a revival service at the Gazebo Oct. 23-27. The Council unanimously approved the event.

The Linden City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.