Conecuh County News & Views LLC - City Council 6 July 2017
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City Council 6 July 2017
Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.  Roll call showed all members present.
Previous minutes were approved as read.
Mayor’s report and comments:
     Mayor Wolff noted there are some issues at the park.  The bathrooms are in terrible shape.  The Mayor ask Council person Skinner to review the problems and let him know if he needed assistance from the sewer department.
     It was noted that software problems are plaguing the city.  There is a special account set up for new software.  A cost effectiveness study on purchasing new software will be conducted.
     Mayor Wolff also thanked Council person Davis for her Independence Day speech.
Old Business:
1.     An ordinance dealing with Mayor’s Budget FYE 9/30/2017 was offered for its first reading by Interim City Clerk Mike Hinson.  Mr. Hinson offered a “proposed” budget to finish out the remainder of FY 2017 that shows the city at $2,000,000.00 in debt at the end of that period.
  This budget was prepared primarily because the USDA grant for the library requires the city send a budget every year to keep the USDA from asking for the grant money back.  Mr. Hinson encouraged the council to approve this “proposed” budget.
   When asked how the USDA had been satisfied in the past years, he noted he had just kept using the same budget, updating the date of the budget, and sending it in but this latest letter (news media was not furnished a copy) contained a threat that they were on the verge of asking for a return of this grant money unless they received an updated budget.
   This brought about a heated discussion amongst the council members with the primary unanswered question being raised by Council person Fountain as to why the council was just now being informed of this problem. 
   After a long period of “back and forth” the city attorney asked to see a copy of the letter from the USDA.  Interim City Clerk Hinson asked the council to suspend the business portion of the meeting while he retired to his office to retrieve the letter.  After a break of 5 minutes Mayor Wolff directed business resume without the Interim City Clerk being on hand. 
*********To be continued below*********
2.     Compliance Officer Bobby McNeil brought forth a resolution declaring a building located at 406 Magnolia an “Unsafe Structure”.  This has been an ongoing problem but now Mr. McNeil has sent all the proper paperwork to the owner.
  Another resolution dealing with a “Declaration of Weeds and Debris” is attached to the same address.  Mr. McNeil noted the house was salvageable even though the windows are mission.
  After discussion it was determined the city would clean up the area and send a bill to the owner.
3.     The last remaining item under old business was introduced by Council person Upton and dealt with painting murals on the walls of city buildings.  This issue had been brought forth at a council meeting in the past.  Attorney Hartley had recommended at that time the city not undertake painting these murals considering the buildings were private vice city property and it would require money being spent to upgrade private property.
********Return of Interim City Clerk Hinson with USDA letter*********
     Mr. Hinson introduced the USDA letter containing the strong wording that the USDA may demand a return of the grant funds used for the library.
     Council person Fountain immediately noted the letter was dated 4 April and demanded to know why this was just now coming to the council’s attention.  She chastised Mr. Hinson for shoddy work, noting that he has been working for the city in excess of 2 years and was initially hired to get the city’s finances together and prepare a budget, none of which has been accomplished.
     Council person Caylor expressed the fact he was upset with a “thrown together” budget that showed the city $2,000,000.00 in the hole.  He noted that if the best that could be put together for a budget was this travesty, at least show the city as being solvent.
     Mayor Wolff called for action on the budget ordinance.  Council person Upton made a motion to approve this “budget”.  After a long pause, Council person Skinner seconded the motion.  When a vote was called for the results were; Mayor Wolff, Council person Upton and Council person Skinner voted yes to adopt it.  Council persons Caylor, Davis and Fountain voted no resulting in a stalemate.
New Business:
1.     Council person Davis brought forth a recommendation that the city adopt a classroom at the new Southside Magnet School at a cost of $5,500.00.  This adoption will entitle the city to put a plaque on the door.  Mayor Wolff offered his support to this proposal noting that all the council members names be put on the plaque.  A motion to approve was made by Council person Upton and seconded by Council person Davis.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.
2.      A resolution for a one time lump sum retirement payment was introduced.  It was noted the retirees are not under any automatic pay increase.  Another lengthy discussion ensued with Council person Upton noting there had been no pay increase for those receiving social security.  After discussion a vote was taken with 4 voting no and 1 abstaining.  Council person Caylor had to abstain because he is on the state retirement system and as such was ineligible to vote.   
3.      Mayor Wolff noted that several of the city’s buildings were in a sad state of cleanliness.  He noted that the city’s had these building cleaned in the past but the money went to a non-local company.  He requested that the contract for this cleaning be rebid.  Motion carried by unanimous vote.
4.      Mayor Wolff desired a discussion of the employee sick leave policy.  It was noted that 600 hours was the most an employee could hold with anything coming after that being lost if not taken within a certain time period. 
  This has been equating to a problem with employees taking their sick days off which is perfectly legal but puts the city in a bind considering they will need to bring someone in to cover the position and shift of the person on sick leave.  This results in overtime payment to the employee filling in.
  Mayor Wolff suggested the possibility of requiring a doctor’s excuse for the person to be able to draw their sick leave pay.
  Council person Upton offered a suggestion that the city pay the person their sick leave pay and allow them to work that day too.  This would eliminate the need for overtime pay which has created a problem as of late.
  Mayor Wolff directed that all department heads be contacted and report at the next meeting as to how they intend to stop overtime payments for the remainder of the fiscal year and turn in budget request for next year.  Also, the mayor wants the issue of city vehicles being taken home by city workers addressed and curtailed for use emergency uses only.
   Council person Fountain addressed concerns of residents in the Park Street area.  She stated she’d received the typical complaints of speeding etc., but, Park Street is a one way street and people are ignoring that and creating a hazard to traffic.
Accounts Payable:
      Approved by unanimous vote.
     6:53 PM

     Next meeting will be Thursday, 25 July 2017

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