During the past week, the Eutaw City Council held two meetings, a Special Called Meeting on Thursday July 22 and its regular meeting on the fourth Tuesday, July 27 at 5:00 PM.
The special meeting was called to consider matching support for two grants to assist the city in improving the airport and rehabilitating the National Guard Armory Building.
The Council approved $125,000 match for a $600,000 state and Federal grant to repair and light the runways at the Eutaw Airport which has not been operation for a number of years. This grant will enable the Eutaw Airport Authority, a board operating under the auspices of the City of Eutaw to repair and improve the airport facilities and make them operational again.
Danny Cooper, representing the Airport Authority said, “This grant will help us restore a $5million dollar and facility, enable small planes to fly in and out of Eutaw and help to restore the airport as a self-supporting facility from fees for parking and fueling planes.” The Council approved a resolution for the matching fund allocation to come from the existing funds in the airport account, supplemented with equal support from the Special Street Fund (bingo) and the Capital Improvement Fund.
At the Special Meeting, the Eutaw City Council approved use of the National Guard Armory building as a matching for a USDA RISE (Rural Innovation for a Strong Economy) grant for up to $2 million in funding to rehabilitate the National Guard Armory Building for use as a job training center and business development incubator. The Greene County Industrial Development Authority, together with Rural Business and Training Center, a regional group based in Demopolis, are developing this grant, which must be submitted by August 2nd.
At the regular meeting on Tuesday, most of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of a water leak insurance, provided by SERVLINE, a company affiliated with the National Rural Water Association. Corey Martin, Water Department Operator, presented the program to the Eutaw City Council.
For a Monthly charge of $1.75 per month on each water bill, the company would provide a one-time annual insurance payment, up to $500, to cover repair and payment of expanded water bills incurred because of the leak on the customer side of the meter.
Martin explained that due to old pipes and connections, many Eutaw customers have experienced water leaks which boost their water bills to high amounts, that they often cannot pay without a payment plan. This insurance would cover these cases and help people to pay high water bills caused by leaks and plumbing failures.
Martin further explained that the company would send a notice to all city water customers, informing them of the $1.75 a month ($21/yearly) insurance charge and offering them the chance to ‘opt-out’ of this service and not be charged for the insurance. Council members tabled this resolution because they felt the water customers needed to be more informed and consulted about the increase in water costs to cover this new insurance policy.
The Council set a working meeting with City Engineer Babb for Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 2:00 PM at City Hall to discuss changes to city ordinances to be incompliance with the 2015 International Building Code, standards for small cities. Babb said he would also report on progress with GPS mapping of all city utilities, which is needed to plan future growth of the city.
In other actions, The Eutaw City Council:
• Approved travel for City Attorney, Zane Willingham and City Judge Joshua Swords to attend League of Municipalities Law Conference in October.
• Approved rental of a room for Breia’s Nails at the Robert H. Young Community Center.
• Approved monthly contract for $500/moth for Total Care Service to cut grass and maintain city right of ways in the area around Interstate Exit 40,
where Love’s Truckstop is located.
• Approved a proposal by the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce to place signage on buildings in the downtown Eutaw area.
• Approved use of storage space at a shed near the National Guard Armory for the Black Belt Folk Roots Festival to house some of its materials and files.
• Agreed to pay the bills present for the month of July.
• Agreed to give city employees, the state holiday on July 30 – Confederate Memorial Day- but renaming it John Lewis Memorial Holiday, as the Greene County Commission has done.
• Police Chief Tommy Johnson announced that two of his officers, Kendrick Howell and Robert Jeter, had completed training as investigators. He also introduced Jonquesha Daniels, a cadet who is attending the Police Academy,
with the intention of joining the Eutaw Police Force upon graduation.