Snead discusses industrial park and economic development

Snead town councilors offered an extended silence upon reaching the agenda question of payment on a $1,638 invoice from the Economic Development Board of Blount County. The matter, tabled previously, suffered that same fate at the latest council meeting.

Town clerk Rae Ware offered comment to break the initial silence noting, “The only business that has come to town is Choice Trailer (a trailer axle manufacturer). It (the board) seems to be concentrating more on Oneonta and Blountsville. It’s up to y’all but I don’t see we’re getting our money’s worth from them.”

Councilman Greg Ogles opined, “Someone has to be interested, first.”

Mayor La’Shone Price added, “Along with that, our industrial park needs work.”

Ware re-entered the discussion conjecturing that the town will not likely see much growth before the completed four-laning of U.S. 278 in the town limits. She then added her concern that the accepted use of tax abatements as an industrial recruitment works against small towns. She cited the likely need for an expanded sewer system in order to recruit a major business but noted the expense such would entail for the town. She labeled the abatement a “slap in the face” to local businesses that have made it without such.

Following those comments, Ogles returned conversation to the industrial park. After noting some of the deficiencies of the park site, councilors proposed an action plan. That calls for verifying survey boundaries, contracting for onsite logging, and cleaning the site for further study and use.

Price, Councilman Tim Kent, and utilities supervisor Jeff Whited discussed ongoing culvert issues and complaints. The three identified two with reported problems and a third site that had washed out as a result of recent heavy rains.

Kent won approval to declare the washout site as “emergency,” which permits expedited procedures. Ware, however, noted that one of the three locations lies outside the town limits. Whited indicated he felt cleaning ditches at one site may have solved that problem.

The question of approving a resolution favoring creation of a county-wide ambulance advisory committee arose again. Learning from town attorney Brett King that he had received a preliminary version of the contract but had not yet read it, councilors reverted to their previous decision to delay consideration until they have seen a contract.

King explained to Price that he had not read the draft contract due to efforts to secure signatures for conveyance of Lee Ridge Drive and right-of-way to the town. King noted he had some 20 signatures and lacked another half-dozen or so. The town and county have indicated they will not proceed with plans to rework that road until they have agreement from all the contiguous landowners.

Price advised he had distributed copies of the latest ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) report on the town’s waste water treatment plant to council members. That report, which Price later provided the press, had minor recommendations with generally positive evaluations. Price noted to the press that the town hopes to pursue a grant to completely upgrade the plant in the future.

Most department reports reflected usual activities. Fire Chief Lee Netherton did express his department’s appreciation to the police for their quick response, which provided invaluable assistance before his department arrived, on a medical emergency call.

At Price’s presentation, the council approved use of a town park pavilion for a summer revival. Reportedly, Albertville’s Cross Carriers Independent Church had requested that in order to hold meetings, July 21-25.

Councilors Phillip McHan, Dale Snead, and Ann Sullins joined Price, Kent, and Ogles for the July 10 meeting.

The Snead Town Council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.