Approves hiring two police officers, TUC Construction contract for paving, Beavers defends council membership

Blountsville Town Council

In a special meeting Monday evening, the Blountsville Town Council voted to hire two additional police officers and send them at town expense to the police academy for training. The council directed town attorney Brett King to prepare a three-year contract covering terms of their employment.

Also passed was a resolution authorizing the town to enter into a contract with TUC Construction in connection with a Community Development Block Grant for paving streets in low-to-medium income areas of College Street and its nearby environs.

In other actions, the council:

• discussed We-Tote-Em Quick Stop’s request to sell wine off premises, concluding the discussion by setting a public hearing on the matter for July 1.

• approved a $250 appropriation for advertising in connection with J.B. Pennington High School’s football program.

• approved a request by the municipal court judge to attend a training seminar Sept. 26-29.

• discussed a request from Republic Services for an accurate count of garbage cans for each household in the town’s service area, but took no action on the matter.

• discussed the lease agreement with Blount County Board of Education for the baseball field; King said the matter was not concluded yet, but was nearing conclusion after several months of discussion.

• discussed fees of $1,200 annually charged by Cadence Bank for checks written on the town’s account. Mayor Michael Glass reported that Home- Town Bank would charge no fee for the service. No action was taken.

• discussed the lease agreement for the physician’s office in the townowned office building on Main Street. Glass said the agreement specifies a five-year term at $550 per month plus utilities for the doctor’s office part of the building. The other side of the building is under discussion for lease by Amedisys. Glass said the town will contract with Amedisys for the remainder of the space when they reach a decision as to whether to lease it.

• set a work session to precede the business meeting on July 1 to discuss the 2019/2020 fiscal year budget.

• town holiday hours (closed all day July 4 and July 5; normal hours resume Monday, July 8.)

Following the handling of all items on the meeting agenda, Glass called for the council to go into executive session to discuss the general character and reputation of an individual. Attorney King added discussion of pending litigation to the executive session agenda, and announced that the council expected to take further action following its return.

After the council returned, Glass said he had no further announcements and opened the floor to comments from council members. Dennis Beavers spoke first, reporting on conditions at the park he said required attention. The latch on the main gate is broken and needs to be replaced, and a sixfoot corner section of the fencing has been damaged as well and needs to be reinforced or replaced. He mentioned two other routine maintenance items that need to be done at the park.

Beavers then changed the subject and requested a copy of a resolution passed at the Blountsville Town Council’s May 20 business meeting, which he was unable to attend. He said the resolution was a request to the Alabama attorney general for an opinion on whether it is proper for an official to serve in an official capacity in two different government agencies or entities. Beavers said the action by the council in the business meeting is not reflected in the minutes of that meeting and that he was not notified in any fashion that the action – which potentially affects him – had been taken.

He added that he had specifically discussed his status with three agencies in a position to rule on the propriety of his situation: the Alabama Ethics Commission, the Alabama League of Municipalities, and the federal (U.S. Department of Agriculture) ethics office. He said all three had cleared his holding jobs in two different government agencies, since one is an out-of-state, federally-appointed office and thus not in conflict with his elective membership on a town council in Alabama. (Beavers serves as state executive director of the Tennessee Farm Service Agency, an entity of the federal government under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in addition to serving as a member of the Blountsville Town Council.)

He said further that the Code of Alabama chapter 36-2-1 addressing the matter is based on cases involving individuals holding two jobs within the Alabama state government and thus is not applicable to his situation.

“When the attorney general opinion is issued, I believe he will favor my position for all of those reasons,” Beavers said.

Following Beavers’ discussion, Ken Mullins moved that the town hire two additional police officers, as reported above. The council passed the motion unanimously, then voted to adjourn.

All members of the council were present at the June 27 special meeting. The next regular meeting is Monday, July 1, at 6 p.m.