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Monday, November 24, 2008

City Council Meeting: Nov. 24, 2008

At the prior work session: 1. Water Dept. Manager Dan McCrory described an ongoing chronic low water pressure problem at the Rock Creek Subdivision and sometimes at Thomas Hospital ("twice last Summer"); and that a new water tank on the Auburn Univ. property, a new 16" pipe from Fairhope Ave. up Hwy 13 (to Rock Creek's back door) and a new "booster station" all costing apprx. $6.5 million-- will eventually be needed to entirely remedy the problem. After discussion, it was decided to initially procede with the new line and booster station ($2.25 million) to relieve the immediate problem -- and dispatch the Mayor to Washington to seek federal help with funding (new Obama Admin's just proposed "infrastructure stimulus plan"). A new tank ($4 million) will eventually be necessary as well--depending on growth rate--and take about 14 months to construct. 2. Attorneys for the privately owned Baldwin County Sewer Service proposed to purchase Fairhope's sewer system and dismantle the current city facility (just north of city hall), allowing other public uses for that property. A lengthy discussion ensued about the pros/cons of public vs private sewer service; public systems usually operate at a loss (Fairhope's) & require higher public debt, private company customer fees are higher , etc. McCrory estimated Fairhope will need a new sewerage plant when the current one reaches 80% capacity (currently at about 48% capacity) and preliminary plans are already in the works (will cost about $12 million). At the Council Meeting: Events Coordinator Sherry Sullivan reminded the Council about the upcoming XMAS parade (Dec. 5th) and that their invitations to ride on floats were already sent out. Mrs Quinn (sadly) revealed, "I never get one." Council President Quinn explained the minutes of Special Board and Commission meetings were now on the Council agenda to improve "transparency" for the general public/media. Public Works Director Jennifer Fidler was appointed by the Mayor to the P & Z Commission so she can better monitor landscaping requirements (tree ordinances, etc) at future proposed building sites. A traffic signal will be installed on HWY 98 @ Parker Rd. prior to the Publix opening (installation paid by Publix, then maintenance taken over by the city). There was a discussion about some related legal issues. An Ordinance allowing the Council final oversight over all employees was tabled after some confusion over the proper "wording." Mr. Kingrea said ultimately it "would give employees an extra level of protection" instead of having just one person determine their fates. Mrs. Quinn reported the commercial media was requesting the exchange of letters concerning the wetland damage/violations at Quail Creek last Summer. The Mayor said he "hadn't seen them" and suggested they try the City Clerk. Finance Committee Chairman Lonnie Mixon repeated the need for all City Depts. to "save money" in tough economic times. The necessity of paying for advertising the city golf course in both local phone directories (Yellow Books) was discussed. Mixon thought one was enough but Ford countered "we've always done both"; both were ultimately approved. A citizen requested the Council investigate what he called "un-permitted work done" involving drainage, building height, vegetation damage, etc.-- at the new Publix grocery store site. Single Tax Corp. President Larry Thomas expressed a desire to work with and continue the STC's "good relationship" with the Council. He also said they "weren't going to take lying down" the significant downtown property re-appraisals recently reported (by the Mayor) to be in the works by ALDOR (Al. Dept. of Revenue)-- and asked the Council for possible future help in that matter as well.

7 comments:

wareagle said...

ask Obama for help? Fat Chance!! Nobody here voted for 'em!! not the way the game works.

brokeutilitycustomer said...

would have been nice if we were told about the water "crisis" before the last election. guess it was classified "top secret" then by someone!!

granpaw said...

look on the brighter side, we may not have enough water to drink or fight fires but at least we'll have a shiny big, new gym to play ball in soon!

blue moon said...

Putting J. Fidler on the P & Z is like giving the Mayor 2 votes there: she (may) vote however he orders her too. He's the boss!

Possibly good for certain big local landowners/developers with European Villas too- when they want something re-zoned -- maybe. (Nice place to stay for traveling city employees!)

Need to give folks a chance to do right though. Trust but verify.

mannurse said...

i hope they dont cut back police to hire those new gym employees. we need more traffic police to slow people down out there. i see all the carnage at the hospital that isnt report by the media. its awful!

Anonymous said...

Jennie Fidler's kinda like Sarah Palin, maybe not highly qualified to be Public Works Director but a sight for sore eyes!

rolltide said...

wouldn't be so bad to get rid of the smelly sewerage plant downtown--emptys into the bay--and use that property for a new city hall or something. were gonna have higher city rates(or debt) to build a new plant somwhere, anyway.

maybe the private company can lock in low rates for us current residents, then we dont care what they charge newcomers.