Potential budget, project highlights

Oneonta City Council

The 2021 budget was the central focus of the Oneonta City Council meeting on Sept. 8. Once new business was approved, the council broke into a work session in which talks of the new budget took place.

Allie Allcorn, city administrator, presented the city’s budget worksheet and reviewed notable line items and explained how funds were allocated from local taxes and services. City manager Ed Lowe also updated the council on the status of current projects. He said the city is making strides on various quality-of-life developments, which include the downtown amphitheater, Champion Trail, Rail Road Market, rural broadband, youth athletic fields, and partnership with Oneonta City Schools.

In regards to the “Quality of Life Triangle,” Lowe reported that the utility board will be replacing a high pressure waterline. If all goes as planned, the city will be able to move forward with the project by fall.

The boundary and topography survey for the amphitheater is complete. The next step is development of construction plans and bid documents. Champion Trail has a preliminary concept and an initial assessment for utilities has been conducted. Next for Champion Park is developing a master plan, conducting an environmental study, and determining funding options. The conceptual preliminary idea for the Railroad Market is what Lowe considers, “a worthwhile, but not easy project.” As of now, the next steps for its evolution include construction design and bid documents.

Internet service is a paramount improvement Lowe is working diligently to deliver. Lowe is currently having conversations with Alabama Power, OTELCO, and other providers; conducting a feasibility study; and addressing concerns such as funding options and time of availability.

There is currently a preliminary concept for the youth athletic fields. If everything is done on the proper timeline, Lowe is hopeful they will be available by spring. To conclude, Lowe updated the council on new and ongoing infrastructure projects which include repairing and repaving the road going up Shuff Mountain, First Avenue sewer rehab, Dry Creek drainage, and Robbins Field.

During its regular business meeting, the council approved:

• a resolution in support of project number STPAA HSIP-0075(538) on behalf of the Alabama Department of Transportation; a resolution on behalf of Oneonta Fire Department for a new defibrillator; and a resolution to approve poll workers for the Oneonta municipal election run-off.

• hiring part-time, temporary concession stand employees for parks and recreation.

• hiring Logan Dyer as a part-time firefighter.

• resignations of Brent Bender, part-time police officer, and Thomas Herd, Jr., full-time police officer.

• advertising for a full-time police officer.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. A second work session to discuss the 2021 budget was held last night and The Blount Countian will provide a summary of the new budget upon approval, which is expected to be at its next regular council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.