SNEAD fills police vacancy; looks toward meter grant

In one of its shorter meetings, the Snead Town Council hired Josh Howell to fill a vacant position on the town’s police department. According to police Chief Alan Hicks, Howell comes to Snead from the Alabama A&M campus police force and he wanted to work closer to his Altoona home.

Councilman Tim Kent moved for Howell’s hire with a starting pay of $13 an hour. Mayor Curtis Painter announced his favorable vote based on Hicks’s recommendation. With Painter’s statement, town clerk Rae Ware confirmed with Kent his wish to reword his motion to stipulate the action was upon the chief’s recommendation.

Hicks had presented Howell’s application for what appeared to be the first opportunity for council review at the meeting. In a separate item of business, Hicks won permission to replace a transmission in one of his department’s vehicles.

Utilities head Jeff Whited reported he had spent the 2016 budgeted funds for radio-read water meters. With that announcement, he added he had learned the state has programs through ADECA and ADEM for possible grants to cover costs or financing to purchase and install the radio reads. Councilman Greg Ogles asked Whited to explore that option for future purchases. The council had planned to spread the replacement of its 1800 or so meters over several years; this possibility would permit a more immediate alternative.

Kent, who is a deputy with the Blount County Sheriff’s Department, praised Whited for his department’s recovery of a loaded handgun tossed by a fleeing suspect in a car chase. Whited credited employee Eddie Ellison for the find.

Painter reported he had received assurances from state highway officials that they will have the rough pavement repaired at the town’s new Walmart location. Councilmen Phillip McHan and Ogles had previously expressed concern over the situation and fear it could be a possible wreck hazard.

In final action, councilors accepted the county contract proposal for usual debris removal in emergency weather situations.

Councilors Charles Sanders and Dale Snead joined Painter, Kent, Ogles, and McHan for the approximately 15- minute session on Nov. 23. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.