At its regular meeting on March 8, 2022, the Eutaw City Council approved motions, resolutions and ordinances to assist its relationships with
various partners to enhance the city and services to its residents.
The Council heard a report from Billy Minges on the Eutaw Airport Authority. The Eutaw airport was closed in 2018 based on an inspection report by the ALDOT Aeronautics Bureau that found it was not suitable for operations.
The Airport Authority received a quote from a company in 2020 for engineering, paving and painting of $665,923 to restore the runway and allow the airport to be licensed as operational. In 2021, the Eutaw Airport Authority received a $499,000 grant to resurface the airport, if it could raise the 20% matching funds requirement.
Minges indicated that the Airport Authority had received $96,600 from the City of Eutaw, from funds on hand for the airport and $40,000 from the Greene County IDA in funding support. He asked the Council to approve $6,600 in additional funds toward the match to repair the runway. The Council voted 3 to 2 to approve this expenditure from its Capital Improvement Fund.
In his report, Minges said he was hoping the Airport Authority could develop ten aircraft hangers at the airport, for people to house their planes.
The rental from these hangers would help to cover the ongoing operating costs of the airport. With an operating airport, the FAA would be obligated to 95% of additional repair costs to maintain the airport.
Mayor Johnson said, ”When businesses come to locate in a city, they ask if there is a hospital, airport, schools and other facilities. This is why we are supporting our Airport Authority to help us get an operational airport again.”
The Council heard a presentation by Eric Lafoy of DRAX Company, a wood pellet manufacturer with plants in Aliceville and Demopolis. He was looking for a central facility for training workers for his expanding plants. He requested use of space at the Robert H. Young Community Center (old Carver School) as a central training facility. He indicated that he was willing to employ and train Greene County residents. The Council approved his proposal.
The Council heard a request from the Greene-Sumter Farmers Cooperative, to purchase two acres from the City of Eutaw at 137 Furse Avenue, where the market is located. The Co-op has been leasing the site but needs to own it, to secure foundation funding for improvements. The Council approved a resolution declaring the site surplus and agreed to sell it to the cooperative for a $1.00 to provide an enhanced farmers market for Greene County farmers and a source of nutritious vegetables and fruits for area residents.
The Council also approved a resolution declaring two acres and a house at 116 Park Street as surplus for sale to Larry Sanford, a long-time city employee, who has been living in the house for a number of years.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• Approved travel and per diem for the Mayor and staff to attended training sessions.
• Approved bidding for engineering services.
• Approved advertising for bidding on the repair and painting of the Armory Water Tank.
• Approved Skid-car Training for all police officers in Demopolis.
• Approved a roadside cleaning contract for Total Lawncare Co.
• Approved payment of all bills.
In her report, Mayor Johnson stated that all permits had been secured from businesses around the old Courthouse Square, which would allow the Streetscape grant to proceed to the next phase.
The Water Department reported that with the installation of their new telemetry system, they were able to cancel a $60,000 well monitoring contract. The Water Department has developed a new full page billing statement to replace the former post cards. Customers will receive two bills for the month of February – one on a post card and one in a letter format. The customer needs to pay only one bill, since they are for the same period. In the future, the city water bill will come in the letter format.
In the Public Comment period, Barry and Sandra Walker, representing Christ Temple Church, said their organization had invested money in buying unused buildings in the city, such as the old Hook Theater, several buildings on Boligee Street, three buildings on the Courthouse Square and others for remodeling. They expressed concerns that the city was taking a “negative position” toward their efforts and harassing them rather than helping them in the business licensing and other procedures. “We are investing in the city and creating businesses and we feel we are not getting the support the city should be giving to our revitalization efforts,” said Walker.