Lowe distributes city audit, announces grant receipt

Oneonta city manager Ed Lowe distributed copies of the city’s 2014 audit to council members at their final May meeting. He advised councilors to review the document in preparation for its acceptance/ approval at the first June session. Council members moved that meeting from its regular second Tuesday of the month to June 2 because of conflicts with out-of-town commitments.

In addition to that distribution, Lowe reported on his recent trip to the national RECon meeting in Las Vegas. That conference, the first at which Oneonta has had representation, labels itself “the global convention for the shopping center industry” and proclaims it “provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world.” Lowe advised that he had visited 28 different businesses he anticipated might consider Oneonta as a new location site. (See additional article for greater details.)

Lowe reported official notice of the city’s selection for a $285,931 grant for continued airport work. He further revealed the city’s success in being named one of six new ACE (Alabama Communities of Excellence) members for 2015. That designation requires the city to pursue additional strategic and long-range planning aided by citizen and community input.

Councilman Tim McNair asked Lowe to enlighten those attending of another city honor. Lowe explained that the city had won designation by NICHE as the secondbest city in the state to rear a family. Hoover topped that list with Auburn ranked third. (See another accompanying article.)

Lowe also updated the council on the former church the city is renovating. He boasted that the city has, to this point, been able to use its own personnel for the project. He said several people have stopped by to view the progress and have spoken of memories they have from prior uses of the building.

At Lowe’s request, public safety director Brandon Horton reviewed action on substandard properties within the city. Horton noted that earlier in the year, the city had identified 10 properties that fell within that designation. He said six have either been brought to standard or have had owners in conversation with his office.

Horton and McNair, a former zoning board member, explained that the city has no desire to harm these property owners. They emphasized, however, that neglect of the properties harms the entire community

Councilman Mark Gargus won approval to purchase a $12,925 zero-turn mower for the park and recreation department. He reported the previously surplused tractor sold for $9,300 through the national govdeals website.

Representing the beautification board, Sharon Breaseale recognized Larry and Vernell Phillips as residential winners for the month. She also recognized Cosa- Bella Boutique as the commercial winner. Prior to adjournment, councilors recessed into executive session. Mayor Ross Norris indicated the session would continue discussion over pending litigation.

Councilman Danny Robinson arrived in time to vote on the recess motion. Councilors Hal Blackwood and Tonya Rogers joined Norris, McNair, Gargus, and Robinson for the May 26 meeting. The second regular June meeting remains scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm in city hall.