Mayor Hattie Edwards
At Tuesday’s regular City Council meeting, Mayor Hattie Edwards distributed copies of letters from USDA Rural Development transmitting closing instructions for the $2,219,000 loan and $788,000 grant package for improvement of the City of Eutaw water system.
“We have been working on this $3 million package for more than three years. We have met all of the conditions and the project which will replace the old water tower in Eutaw, replace and extend water mains, install electronic water meters, repair 52 non-working fire hydrants and other improvements, is now ready to be bid,” said Mayor Edwards.
The letters which came from Ronald Davis, State Director of USDA Rural Development and Theresa Long, Area Director in Tuscaloosa set August 18, 2016 as the date to open bids.
City Attorney Ken Aycock indicated he has been taking with the various parties including a bank that will provide interim construction financing for the project while under construction to make sure all requirements are in place. The engineer for the project is Burns Whittaker of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, who designed the project.
City Engineer, Torris Babbs commented that the work would begin with replacement of the water tower as phase 1. The City of Eutaw has an existing grant from the State of Alabama – ADECA-CDBG funds to repair the water tower. A portion of this grant remains, after it was determined that the old water tank, built in 1921 was un-repairable, which will be used toward this total project.
Babbs also reported that work on the resurfacing of Prairie Avenue, between the Courthouse Square and Highway 43, is proceeding on schedule and that bids for this project will be opened on July 25 at City Hall. “There will be several projects going on in Eutaw starting in August and going through the fall of the year and longer,” said Babbs.
Babbs also pointed out that he had observed several building projects, like roof replacements, room additions and others, that persons had not secured building permits from the City, before doing the construction work. All construction work in the city, residential as well as commercial, requires a building permit according to Babbs, the Mayor and City Council. Councilwoman Shelia Smith suggested that the City put out more notification, in the newspapers and other places, of these requirements.
In the absence of the City Clerk, Deadre Thomas, who is out on medical leave, the City Council approved employment of Ms. Johnnie Knott, retired Circuit Clerk of Greene County, to be interim city clerk and absentee election manager for the upcoming city elections on August 23. The council also approved a list of city election officials to serve for the municipal elections.
The qualifying period for the city elections closes next week on July 19 and absentee ballots will be available soon thereafter.
In other business, the City Council:
• approved travel for Derick Coleman, Police Chief to a training meeting on August 1-5, 2016;
• paid bills and claims for the period May and June 2016;
• reviewed a request from Hodges Smith, to rearrange some property boundaries on four acres of land purchased for construction of the Greene County Fire Fighters Association offices and training facility on Prairie Avenue at J Street;
• approved providing security and assistance in collaboration with the Greene County Commission for the Black Belt Folk Roots Festival;
• heard from a number of citizens in the audience praising the work of city employees, especially police and first responders, for their dedicated work and service.