Mayor clarifies senior citizen center status

Blountsville Town Council

To a standing-room-only crowd at Monday night’s town council meeting, Blountsville Mayor Michael Glass assured those present that the town has no plans to move the senior citizen center from its present location to a building the town has purchased downtown.

Last year, the town bought the former Restoration Assembly of God Church on main street and is refurbishing it to lease as a doctor’s office. During the council’s discussion and actions leading to purchase of the property, mention was made of relocating the senior center to the new location where it would share space in the building now being refurbished for the doctor’s office. That is no longer the plan.

A group of Blountsville citizens, including seniors, submitted a petition to the council at the meeting Monday objecting to the plan. It cited inadequate parking and health concerns related to proximity of seniors to possible contagious patients who would be visiting the contiguous doctors office.

Glass responded saying that at one point the council had discussed moving the senior center to the new location, but that is no longer the case since current plans are to lease the entire building for use as the doctor’s office.

“If the seniors don’t want to move, they don’t have to move,” Glass said. “In fact, they can’t move to that building now because it’s all being leased to the doctor. We never, never told the seniors they have to move. I love my seniors.”

Don Griffin, who spoke for Citizens for Open and Honest Government, a Blountsville citizens’ group whose members helped collect petition signatures, pointed out that the council’s discussions and any actions referencing the senior center’s move to the new location need to be formally rescinded by the council.

Discussion of the matter concluded with mention of replacing the flooring at the existing senior citizen center. A grant was received to cover cost of reflooring. Glass indicated that plans are in progress for that work to move forward.

In other actions, the council voted to:

• consent to and adopt (two separate actions) a flood damage prevention ordinance.

• declare certain fire department equipment and supplies as surplus.

• request bids for the contract for residential garbage pickup in the town; existing contract with Republic Systems expires May 31 this year.

• approve a court clerk training seminar set for March 7 in Huntsville, at a cost of $225.

The council discussed:

• a lease agreement with the Blount County Board of Education for use of a baseball field for recreational purposes, delaying action until discussions are complete.

• status of 2007 F-250 truck confiscated by the police department, without taking further action.

• need to purchase five laptop computers for the police department at an unspecified price; approved in discussion without action by the council.

At the beginning of the meeting, Capt. Ron Adkins of the Blount County Sheriff’s Department made a brief statement as a followup to a Feb. 5 letter from the sheriff’s department to county municipalities. The letter notified them of an increase in the daily fee charged municipalities to detain persons from their jurisdiction in the county jail. Adkins explained that the increase from $10 per day per inmate to $15 per day was made to cover increasing costs of feeding and housing. He said that cost is now approximately $17 per inmate per day. He answered brief questions from the council. No objections were registered.