Dogs pose problem


The Cleveland Town Council heard a complaint about a potentially dangerous dog at its regular monthly meeting last week.

Nicole and Greg Carter addressed the council and described a couple of incidents involving four loose dogs at the town’s walking track. One of the dogs, a pit bull mix, chased Mrs. Carter, causing her to run to the top of the nearest bleacher. Although Carter was not injured, she fears for her safety and the public’s, as well.

Police Chief Tim Jones told the council that the dogs’ owner has already been warned and ticketed once for violating Cleveland’s lease ordinance, which says if a dog is not confined in a fenced area, it must be on a leash and under control. Jones said his department will be vigilant in monitoring the situation and take appropriate action.

Councilmen Doug Hill and Tommy Swindle reported the town park board was considering changing its fundraising at Labor Day from selling whole Boston butts to individual plates. The two, who are also members of the board, said no decision has been reached.

Mayor Jerry Jones said the choice has to be made soon because it affects the specifications of a proposed new building. One of the building’s planned uses was to house multiple smokers for the fundraiser, but if those are not needed, specifications and costs will change. The mayor pointed out a new building could not be completed by Labor Day if the council waited until next month to act on funding. In order to move ahead once the board reaches a decision, the council unanimously voted funding for the project as long as it does not exceed $20,000.

The mayor said the town would get estimates once the specifications are determined. He explained that under Alabama law bids do not have to be obtained for capital projects under $50,000, but to be good stewards of the public’s money, they would get more than one estimate.

In other park-related matters, utilities superintendent Steve Pass explained the park’s covered bridge needs repair and is “becoming dangerous.” The council passed a motion to contract Jerry Tidwell Construction to do the work as long as it does not exceed $4,500. The council also agreed to reimburse the Park Board $650 for two dead trees cut down in the last few weeks because they posed a danger. It was noted others may need to be felled in the near future.

The mayor announced the loan from Hometown Bank was close to being finalized, and once it is, advertisements for bids can go out. He hopes to do that by the end of the month. Cleveland will use the town’s portion of the Moving Blount County Forward sales tax to repay the loan.

The council voted to continue to participate in Alabama’s “Back to School” Sales Tax Holiday and changed the dates of the tax exemption to July 21-23 to coincide with the state’s new dates. The move means certain school supplies, computers and clothing purchased within Cleveland’s municipal limits will be free of state and local sales taxes (Blount County is also participating.)

The Ambulance Advisory Board will eventually issue a new contract for an ambulance service and when it does, the council voted to enter into an agreement with the service allowing it to use the building set aside for an ambulance.

Mayor Jones informed everyone the new playground equipment had been installed and he complimented Pass and his crew for a job well done.