In their first meeting of the month, the Oneonta City Council made several appointments.
The council appointed Jimmy Wester from alternate to full-time zoning board of adjustments member and Jessica Cannon to the Oneonta Library Board.
The council hired Chance Payne as a full-time firefighter/ medic with the Oneonta Fire Department. Payne had served as a volunteer for the department.
Ed Lowe, city manager, reported that the city is moving to a different insurance carrier, MetLife. Both he and human resources director Dalton Farmer explained that paid firefighters and volunteers will be covered by a basic cancer insurance plan mandated by the state beginning Jan. 1. Short-term disability and sick leave will also be covered for all employees. “This will give our employees an added level of comfort,” Lowe added.
Several council members and Lowe discussed updates on parks and recreation projects and suggested a public hearing on Feb. 25 to update and discuss the amphitheater, splash pad, and railroad park projects.
Councilman Richard Phillips asked if the council had approved $200,000 for the splash pad to be in place for the upcoming season. Councilwoman Tonya Rogers said she remembered voting to close the present pool, but did not believe a vote was taken regarding the proposed splash pad. Lowe said there are a couple of options regarding the splash pad and amphitheater and he suggested a work session following the Jan. 14 council meeting.
Lowe also announced that interest has been shown by prospective buyers for the city’s A Street property and the McPherson property and a decision needs to be made soon regarding the sale of those two sites.
Rogers reported that she has been attending a six-county workforce development meeting on a monthly basis and suggested that Wallace State needs to be promoted more for what is offered in Blount County. “We have no career center here, but if we see more growth we might see a change. Right now there is not a demand for a center.”
She said she also wanted residents to know that the reason for “snowflake” lights not being placed on downtown power poles this year was due to Alabama Power guidelines. She stressed that the city is following Alabama Power regulations. “We cannot put lights on their poles. We did the right thing and we did what we had to do,” she said.
An Alabama Power brochure was handed out; according to their regulations, only a banner or flag is allowed — one per pole — and must meet detailed size and position requirements and pass Alabama Power approval.
The council held a joint work session with the Blount County Commission immediately following the council meeting. (See story at left.)