Demopolis council tables statue discussion to April

A full crowd was on hand to debate the fate of the Confederate monument, however the contingent in attendance left with their opinions to themselves as the council agreed to table further discussion on the issue until the first April meeting during this month’s first gathering of the Demopolis City Council on Feb. 2.

“We gave the committee until the first of April to come up with a recommendation,” said Mayor John Laney. “There’s nothing to talk about and no point in having it on the agenda. If the committee comes back sooner, then we’ll bring it up sooner.”

The issue stems from an accident last summer when a Demopolis Police Department vehicle hit the statue late during a summer night.

Because the accident involved a DPD officer, the presence of Police Chief Tommie Reese was called into question when Phillip Spence appeared in front of the council.

During Spence’s appearance, he questioned the construction of the committee itself asking how it was constructed and why members of the council had votes on it.

Mayor Laney said that while former mayor Mike Grayson has a vote, Laney took himself off the committee and Councilman Charles Jones will be asked not to vote and serve as a mediator.

Spence also asked for Chief Reese to not have a vote since it was a DPD officer who caused the accident, which Laney said he would take under advisement.

Also on hand was Pat Godwin, a representative of the Alabama chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), whom Spence introduced. The UDC originally raised the money for the statue.

The council voted to amend the contract for the Jackson Street bridge replacement to add $9,818 for Wisener, LLC of Guntersville. The company will handle the property acquisition for the project in order to meet all requirements for the grant request.

The following appointments were made to city boards:
• Airport: Darren Anderson, Terry Wendell and Gary Holemon
• MCEDA: reappointment of Aliquippa Allen
• IDB: Charles Singleton, Dr. William Hill and reappointment of Shawn Hall
• Cemetery: Edith Scott reappointment
• Hospital Building Authority: Tom Culpepper reappointment.

Finally, the council approved a public assembly request from Tiana Rivas to hold a barbecue cook-off at George Franks Field on March 18 as a benefit for cancer patient Tina Pope.