What water?

A brisk change of topics for Cleveland Town Council

No mention was made at the Aug. 18 Cleveland Town Council meeting of the possible sale of water and sewer operations.

The three active council members and Mayor Larry Longshore had agreed Aug. 12 to pursue negotiations with Blount County Water Authority, action prompted by the council’s opinion that the municipality couldn’t financially afford to operate the systems.

Talk was resumed Aug. 18 over reducing the speed limit on Park Road and possibly adding speed bumps. Town attorney Stan Glasscox recommended having a traffic and engineering survey conducted before changing any speed limits. He suggested Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) or Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) might offer the service pro bono.

Regarding reducing the speed limit, Glasscox said, “If it needs to be done, it needs to be done right.”

On information provided by councilman David Grigsby, the council agreed to buy two new hand-held radios for approximately $800, which includes programming.

Grigsby then asked how many names were on the petition presented last week, asking the state to authorize a special election to fill the council seats held by Doug Hill and Glenn Puckett, who’ve been absent from meetings for several months.

Glasscox informed the council that only the attorney general and district attorney have the authority to declare the seats vacant, at which time the town could vote for replacements. Agreeing the town needs a full council, Mayor Longshore and remaining council members present authorized Glasscox to draft an explanation and begin the process.

Jerry Wayne Thomas presented to the council a letter in formal format apparently repeating his question from the past several meetings. “Is Larry Longshore the real mayor of Cleveland?” Then orally, Thomas asked, “Why can’t I speak about anything?”

“Has it been seven days?” councilman Mike Evans responded, referring to the new protocol for speaking at the meetings. Presently, a written request must be received seven days prior to the meeting before being added to the agenda. Once approved there is a 60-second limit of speaking time. There had been only six days following the Aug. 12 special meeting.

The letter Thomas presented was the same given to council on Aug. 12 and was to “have an answer next week.” Six days later he was again promised by attorney Glasscox, “I’ll put it in my stack of stuff,” he said. “I’ll give your request the due weight it deserves.”

“Y’all don’t seem to understand,” Thomas continued. “This is not a game.”

From the back of a the room came a voice: “I’m not on the agenda either, but I want to know what happened to the subpoena you wanted to serve those two?” the man said, referring to councilmen Hill and Puckett and their continued absence. Without answering, Evans leaned back, threw up his hands, saying, “I make a motion this meeting is adjourned!”

With a second from council member Kandy Little, it was done, leaving no doubt: again this story is “to be continued.”