Demopolis Council amends parking law

The Demopolis City Council voted in favor of an amended downtown parking ordinance that provides greater detail as to the specific vehicles allowed to remain parked in that area.
Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese asked the council during a previous meeting to consider the amendment to provide more clarity in dealing with “utility vehicles, flatbeds, trailers, vans, and suburban utility vehicles.” The area is defined as west of Cedar Street, south of Gaines, east of Commissioners, and north of Jefferson.
With the amendment, those who may need to park those type vehicles downtown will need to acquire a permit from the police department. The permits will be free.
There was some concern by members of the council about adding additional bureaucracy to the existing ordinance. However, when
Mayor Mike Grayson asked City Attorney William Poole if the current ordinance could be defended in court, Poole stated, “It would be very difficult. (The current ordinance as written) doesn’t have the teeth to go after those who might not be in compliance.”
That statement was the catalyst for approval of the amendment.
“We don’t need more bureaucracy,” said Councilman Charles Jones. “But, based on what we are hearing from our attorney and police chief we need to look at this.”
Jones made a motion to pass the amendment that went on to be approved by unanimous vote.
Previously, the ordinance stated that it was the police chief’s decision whether a vehicle should be removed from downtown parking areas.
“The current law gives us authority, but it is not specific. This (amendment) will spell it out in more detail by including the type of vehicles and the length of time a vehicle can remained parked,” Reese said.
Other items discussed by the council included:
• Public Works Superintendent Mike Baker reported that Herbert Street has been reopened to traffic, but said due to equipment problems experienced by the contractor, that they would return next week to complete the job.
• Poole reported on dilapidated properties, stating that a burned home on Pettus Street is being cleaned and that the expense of $4,500 will be filed as a lien on the property. He also said a home on Center Street has been added to the list.
• Librarian Morgan Allen was given the council’s approval to seek grant funds to update computers in the library.
• Appointed Durwood White to the cemetery board. The appointment leaves one remaining open seat on that board.
• Re-appointed Dr. Ronnie Chu and Major Walker to the city’s park and recreation board.
• Approved a declaration of surplus property for the police department, including four vehicles seized as the result of illegal drug arrests.