Oneonta holds one, schedules three public hearings

The Oneonta City Council held a public hearing before its regular session last week and, in that session, scheduled three others. In the concluded one, the council voted, again, to issue a liquor license to Two Amigos.

That action resulted from a previously failed attempt by Two Amigos Cantina, when the state alcohol beverage control board had reportedly questioned the restaurant’s incorporation papers. Once reorganized, the limited liability corporation reapplied, according to city manager – economic developer Ed Lowe. The city’s second approval moved toward final permission for the business to begin liquor sales.

Two of the upcoming scheduled public hearings deal with “preliminary subdivision review” and rezoning of property at two different locations. The April 10, 5:10 p.m., hearing will consider property located on 20th Street NE, while an immediately following 5:20 p.m. meeting will examine the same for property on Sixth Street North, moving east from Sixth Avenue East.

These two hearings are to follow a 5:00 p.m. one to consider amending the city’s alcohol license ordinance, redefining microbreweries and setting up legal parameters to operate such within the city.

In employee matters, city councilors voted to hire Noel Christian Hall as a full-time police officer. Hall has worked with the Birmingham Police Department and recently declined appointment as police chief in Snead. They also hired Joseph Pate as a part-time firefighter.

Adding to those positions, members accepted councilman Nathaniel Butler’s recommendation to hire Jamaika Adkins, Asia Byers, and Brody Williams as temporary seasonal concession workers with the city’s park and recreation department. The council accepted Jerry Hughes’s letter of resignation as a part-time police officer.

Matt Taylor, representing Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, CPA and Advisors, presented the city’s annual audit report. He stated the city had received an “unmodified” opinion, which is the “best” it can have.

He drew attention to the city’s pension liability, a requirement added several years ago by federal regulations, and noted that figure stood at $2.5 million. He explained that pension is managed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, which anticipates a long term projected return of 7.75 percent annually. He noted how significantly the liability could change with a relatively minor decrease in that return.

Asked by councilor Tonya Rogers of fund agreement showing the city covering a $4.6 million bond for the city school board, Taylor explained that the board basically reimburses the city those expenses. Rogers, in her commentary period, praised the city beautification board for planters placed on the southwest side of the Second Avenue East and Third Street North corner. She also reported the city fire department continues to take applications for part-time firefighters.

Councilman Hal Blackwood missed the March 27 meeting attended by Mayor Ross Norris, councilors Richard Phillips, Danny Robinson, Butler, and Rogers. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall chambers.