Eutaw City Council meeting devoted to disagreement over Class Day after-party

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

The Eutaw City Council held a Special Meeting at Noon on Thursday, September 21, 2023. Much of the meeting, including a 38-minute executive session, was devoted to a discussion of the actions of Mayor Latasha Johnson and the Eutaw Police Department in closing down an after-party held by the Dangerous Divas Social and Savings Club, after Class Day on Saturday September 16th, at the Robert H. Young Community Center, formerly known as Carver School.

The meeting was packed with members of the Dangerous Divas and their supporters, many of whom had attended Class Day and the beginnings of the afterparty.

The Dangerous Divas, a social and savings club with a membership of 13 local young women, had secured a contract for the use of the field behind Carver School for outdoor activities during the day, like bar-be-ques, and the use of the gymnasium for the after-party that night. The contract does not allow for the sale and serving of alcoholic beverages unless a special permit is secured from the state ABC Board.

Kelvia Hunter, President of the Dangerous Divas, in a telephone interview said, “We were never told about needing a special permit to serve alcohol. If we knew this, we would have gotten the proper permits.” Hunter did say that alcohol was served at the party, that there was a ten-dollar admission fee to the after-party, which entitled the attendee to free drinks. She also indicated that there were off-duty police security at the door, who were instructed to deny admission to anyone under the 21-year drinking age in Alabama.

Hunter asserted, “The Mayor knew we were serving alcohol, because we have had six prior events at the same place, under the same rules, without an ABC permit. We also put out on social media our admission charge and that drinks were included. The mayor knew what was happening, but she still stopped our after-party without giving us any explanation.”

Mayor Johnson said, “I ended the party because liquor was being served. I saw children and others under the age of 21 attending the party. They invited the high school graduating classes of 2022 and 2023, who are all below the drinking age. We also had four ambulance runs for people who got sick at the field program and a police report of an altercation between young men, who had guns. This situation was just too dangerous, and our police force was undermanned for the large crowd. We just had to stop the party before it got out of hand and endangered the people there and others in our city.”

Mayor Johnson said, “The City dropped the ball, we should have more clearly explained the rental contract and rules for the sale and serving of alcohol. We accept some of the responsibility for the problems at this event, but we feel the Dangerous Divas must also take responsibility for their mistakes connected to this event. We must learn from this for future events to be hosted at the city owned community center.”

At the City Council meeting, when the issue came up, a resolution was adopted to return the $1,150 contract fee to the Dangerous Divas, due to the misunderstandings concerning the event. Ms. Kelvia Hunter said, “ Our organization lost much more than the contract fee and we want to be reimbursed for all of our losses.”

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved participation in the 2024 Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, February 23-25, 2024.
• Received financial reports from Financial Consultant, Ralph Liverman, concerning USDA water system accounts at Citizens Trust Bank.
• Tabled action on lending the city’s street sweep to Aliceville for a day to clean the streets prior to an event.
• Approved travel for staff to attend the APCO Conference at Perdido Beach on November 15-18, 2023.
• Moved several items dealing with City vehicles, credit cards, rental agreements for use of the Robert H. Young Community Center and other matters to a Council Work Session to be held in October.
• Approved payment of bills for September.

Eutaw City Council holds routine meeting

At its regular meeting on August 22, 2023, the Eutaw City Council handled routine business for the city.

The Council heard a presentation from Tom Bowman of Business Computer Systems of Tuscaloosa for complete office IT support, including phones and security cameras, which are linked to the computer systems. The Council agreed to a contract for these services, to be negotiated with the Mayor, to include all technology related equipment at City Hall.

At the recommendation of Ralph Liverman, Financial Advisor, the Council voted to set up a separate bank account, in Merchants and Farmers Bank for road and bridge repair funds coming from the 2019 Rebuild Alabama Act and to develop a ‘Transportation Plan’ as required by the State of Alabama for the expenditure of these funds.

Liverman said he expected that $33,000 would be received in the next fiscal year (2023-24) from the Rebuild Alabama Act. The Transportation Plan calls for giving priority to repair of the Lower Gainesville Road and repairs needed on Woodfield Avenue. The priority for this plan does not change other priorities for the use of state gas tax monies, FEMA funds and others for already scheduled road, bridg and drainage repair plans previously adopted by the City Council.

The Council approved an agreement for payment of $8,445.25 in back water and sewer charges for King Village, Greene County Housing Authority. These funds will be repaid at the rate of $703.77 per month for 12 months, beginning October 1, 2023. Based on the agreement, no interest or late charges were levied to make repayment easier for GCHA.

The Council approved advertising for bids, for a company to conduct an environmental assessment of Brownfield sites, within the city limits, that could be ameliorated and improved.

In other business, the Council approved the following:

• Travel and per diem for the Mayor and Council members to attend the Alabama Association of Regional Councils (AARC) Annual Conference at
Perdido Beach on October 8-11, 2023.
• Payment of a claim of $2,323.70 for repairs to a truck, owned by Rev. Michael Barton, after a collision with a vechile driven by a city employee.
• Received financial reports on city bank accounts for the period October 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023 in Merchants and Farmers; and water accounts in Citizens Trust Bank, for the same period.
• Agreed to pay all bills incurred to the meeting date.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Johnson asked Kevin Gorskey to make a presentation on behalf of Phi-Air-Medical, a company that provides helicopter transportation of sick and injured people to area hospitals from the heliport at the Greene County Hospital. Gorskey explained that his company offers coverage for helicopter medical services for $65.00 a year membership to families in Greene County. If you join his service, you get helicopter rides to medical service and the company collects, whatever your insurance agrees to pay, instead of a potentially very high bill.

Mayor Johnson said that she would look into this service as a potential fringe benefit for city employees and to encourage other area businesses to consider the service as well.

Eutaw City Council approves agreement for new water operator

At its regular meeting on April 10, 2023, the Eutaw City Council approved an agreement with J&K Water Consultants of Northport, Alabama to serve as water operator for the city. A certified water operator is required by Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and is critically needed as the city moves forward with multi-million-dollar grants to repair and improve the unified Eutaw and Boligee Water System.

Corey Martin, previous certified water operator and IT (computer) specialist with the city resigned and moved on to a position in another city.

Johnathon Nixon, who is a certified water operator, working in Northport will visit the city weekly to monitor wells and tanks, take water samples, assist in repairing water leaks and making monthly reports to ADEM and the city. According to Mayor Johnson, Nixon has roots in Greene County and previously worker for the city, under prior administrations.

J&K Water Consultants will work with existing city staff to maintain the system on a daily basis and be available for leaks and special problems beyond the monthly water sampling and reporting. J&K will be paid $1,500 a
month for their services.

Ralph Liverman presented the Council with a set of documents on the city’s finances that were not reviewed at the meeting. Among the documents was a report for the first six months of the 2022-23 fiscal year, October 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023.This report covered 19 bank accounts that the city has including the General Fund, Water and Sewer Funds, Capital Improvement, Gas Tax Funds, Municipal Court and COVID Relief.

In a prior council work session, Liverman said that revenues for the first half of the year were meeting budgetary projections. Expenses were running slightly ahead of budget because of clean-up efforts after the November 28, 2022, and January 12, 2023, tornados. The City expects reimbursement from FEMA for most of the clean-up and debris management costs from the January storm, which received a Federal disaster declaration from FEMA, that was not available for the earlier storm.

Liverman also provided the City Council with a copy of a check for $32,880, which was the first disbursement from the State of Alabama for the first phase of the ADEM sponsored water and sewer improvement project. The funds were deposited in a special account as required by ADEM. The City Council agreed to set up two new bank accounts one for the Water Project and one for the Sewer Project at its December meeting. The report shows that the city is in compliance with ADEM requirements on handling funds.

The City Council tabled action on changing and approving the signatories for bank accounts in Merchants and Farmers Bank. The Council also tabled action on a request from Rev. Siegfried Williams, Pastor of Freedom Rock Church in Eutaw, who wanted to purchase some property from the city, since Rev. Williams was not in attendance at the meeting. The City Council did approve payment of bills and claims.

In her Mayor’s Report, Latasha Johnson thanked all of her staff members for their devoted work on behalf of the city. She mentioned that Samuel Braggs, a long-time city employee had passed.

Police Chief Tommy Johnson announced that a First Responders Parade will be held on May 25th. Carrie Logan with the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce announced a clean-up day on Saturday, April 22, when volunteers will collect and bag-up trash in the city.

Eutaw City Council holds routine meeting

Gloria Mobley shows soiled sheet she washed in City of Eutaw water, after a water line repair, without notice to flush out lines.

On Tuesday, March 25, 2023, the Eutaw City Council held its regular second meeting of the month. The Council handled routine business approving contracts related to street repairs, storm debris collection, and repairs to the City Park, off the Lock 7 Road.
The Mayor, four city council persons, the clerk, assistant clerk, and other city employees were present. Council member LaJeffrey Carpenter of District 2 was absent.
At the beginning of the meeting the Mayor, Council, and Legal Counsel held a forty-four-minute Executive Session (from 5:07 to 5:51 PM) to discuss the good name and character of city employees and legal matters.
When the Council returned to the public session, they received financial reports on the first five months of the fiscal year, from October 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023, a report on a franchise payment for 2023 by Alabama Power Company and a utility revenue collections report, prepared by Ralph Liverman, financial adviser.

The Council approved a payment of $10,100 to Jasper Means Construction Company for his work on Roberts Street. The Council also approved a contract with J&L Environmental and Tree Services for additional storm debris clean-up.

The Council also approved a contract with EOS Utility Systems from Mississippi to operate and monitor the city’s wastewater system. The company will work with city employees on maintaining the lagoon and wastewater pumping stations daily, while EOS will make weekly monitoring visits and sign off on reports to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).
The weekend of July 21-23, 2023, was approved as a “Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday”, for purchase of school clothes and supplies, exempt from sales taxes.

In other business:

• The Council approved letting of bids for repair of the City Park, at Lock 7 Road, from storm damage.

• Approved travel for city employees for training and per diem expenses for the Chief of Police to attend a Jefferson County Police and Sheriff’s Captain Development Program in Birmingham on March 29-31, 2023.
• Approved Mayor Johnson’s suggestion of three names to the State of Alabama for appointment to the County Board of Equalization. The three names submitted were James D. Powell, Tommy Armour, and Mary R. McInnis.

• Approved payment of bills and claims.

In the public comments section of the meeting, Gloria Mobley of West End, reported that she had washed her clothes the prior week, after the city restored water service, after repairing a leak. She said she did not realize there was a brown sediment in the water that ruined some of her clothes, towels, and sheets. Mobley asked for assistance from the City to purchase replacements for the items soiled in the wash, with city water.

The Mayor and Corey Martin, Water Operator, stated that there was nothing that the city could do for Ms. Mobley. Corey Martin insisted that he had sent out a “code-red” notice in that area of the city advising residents of the water problem. Mobley said that she never received the code-red call.

At the end of the meeting, Mobley showed a bag of clothes that she had washed three times, which were still soiled and looking beige not white.
Mobley was not satisfied with the response that she should have heeded the code-red and flushed out her lines before washing her clothes.

A knowledgeable observer of city business suggested that the City Council should have granted Mobley two- or three-months water service credit in exchange for the damage to her clothes and personal items

Eutaw City Council approves roof
for National Guard Armory

At its first regular meeting for 2023, on January 10th, the Eutaw City Council approved a $45,000 contract with PM Roofing to replace the roof on the former National Guard Armory facility on Mesopotamia Street.
Mayor Latasha Johnson said, “We must fix this roof as a first step to saving this important building for use as a meeting and event facility for the City of Eutaw. It is currently raining in the building because the roof leaks. We need to save this building for the people of Eutaw.” On a roll call vote, the contract was approved unanimously 6-0 by the City Council.
The Eutaw City Council also approved a renewal of their agreement with Mason and Gardner CPA’s for payroll and other accounting services for the current year. The Council also approved a resolution declaring two police vehicles, a 2019 Silverado Chevrolet truck and a 2013 Chevrolet Caprice, as surplus, so they can be sold.
The Council also received a copy of a letter to the Greene County Water and Sewer Authority setting out a charge for water from the city water system. “We have provided water to the county at no charge, but in the future, we will have to charge for water, based on the volume they use. This is all part of our program to revitalize and improve the Eutaw-Boligee Water System,” said Corey Martin, Eutaw Water System Operator.
The Council also received and approved a resolution consenting to the purchase of Sky Cable, a local television provider, by Charter Communications. Charter also assumed the franchise rights of the cable company. Knowledgeable observers feel this move is related to Charter’s announced plans to provide broadband services in Greene County.The Council approved a series of travel and per diem requests for the council members and staff to attend various training sessions in the coming months including the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual Convention on May 10-13, 2023, in Birmingham.
William Smith, new Assistant Chief of the Eutaw Police Department was introduced to the Council and the public.
The City Council approved payment of bills and claims for the month of December. Ralph Liverman, City financial adviser gave the Council a partial financial report and said more details would be available at the next meeting. He also informed the Council that the annual payment of $102,218 had been made to USDA Rural Development for the loan for water system improvements.
Mayor Johnson announced several upcoming meetings to review the plans for the Eutaw-Boligee Water and Sewer System. There will be a Special City Council meeting to review and approve the plans on January 17, 2023; there will also be two public meetings on February 7 at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM at Eutaw City Hall for the public to review and comment on the plans. These meeting are advertised in more detail in other parts of this newspaper.
A letter from Chris Jones, Executive Director of the Greene County Emergency Medical Services, was read praising the city for its work to clean up the streets and neighborhoods after the recent tornado. Jones said the city helped make the streets passable for emergency vehicles, like those of the ambulance service.

Eutaw City Council funds debris
clean-up from storm

The Eutaw City Council met on December 9 and December 13, 2022, to discuss dealing with housing for families displaced by the EF-1 tornado that hit Sagewood Apartments and other parts of Eutaw on Tuesday night, December 6, 2022.
The Council also considered debris clean-up in the areas where the tornado hit, including Ezekiel Baptist Church, Sagewood, Mesopotamia Avenue around the Robert Brown Middle School and the neighborhoods behind Kirkwood. Twenty homes were damaged by wind and falling trees in the area north of Mesopotamia Avenue, behind Kirkwood.
Mayor Latasha Johnson and the Eutaw City Council discussed debris removal with several local contractors at the December 9 Special Council meeting. The mayor arranged to meet with the contractors and city street department staff, the next day, to work out an affordable plan for debris removal and disposal.
At the December 15th regular meeting a major issue for discussion was the use of city vehicles and the policy that city police could drive their cars home, even if they live outside of Greene County, to be able to respond to emergency situations in a timely manner.
Chief Tommy Johnson said he supported allowing the city vehicles to be driven home by officers, instead of leaving them parked at City Hall, because this was a more efficient and effective way of combatting crime and responding to emergencies. The Chief said he had developed an inspection checklist to review the cars each week to make sure they were in operating order.
Council members LaJeffrey Carpenter and Valerie Watkins wanted this item on the agenda to be sure the City Council understood the budgetary and insurance cost implications of the vehicle policies.
Ms. Watkins said she met with the chief and was satisfied with his explanation of the vehicle policy. The Council voted to reaffirm the policy concerning use of the police cars and other city vehicles.
The Council referred an invoice with Babbs Engineering Consultants, former City Engineer, to City Attorney Zane Willingham to resolve. The Council approved a pricelist for pumps, motors, and other replacement parts and repair costs, for the water and sewer systems from Shephard Services, LLC of Tuscaloosa. The price list would give the city assurance in advance of costs to repair and replace major pieces of equipment in the coming year.
Ralph Liverman, city financial adviser, gave a financial report on the city revenues and expenses for the months of October and November and said the expenses were in line with budgetary projections and that revenues received were slightly larger than expected. The Council approved opening new bank accounts for the ADEM grants provided to the city for the water and sewage system upgrade and consolidation with Boligee.
Mayor Johnson reported to the City Council that she had re-appointed Teresa Beeker to the Greene County Industrial Development Authority and Jackie Allen to the Eutaw Housing Authority Board. She also appointed Sharon Trammel to the Greene County Emergency Medical Services Board, which supervises the ambulance services.
In other business, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved purchase of a 2015 silver Chevrolet Tahoe truck for the Police Department
• Approved travel and per diem for Corey Martin to attend a plumber training program.
• Approved City Judge Joshua Swords membership in the Alabama Municipal Judges Association; and City Attorney Zane Willingham for the Alabama Municipal Attorney Association.
• Approved $19,200 contract with P. M. Roofing to complete roofing on the cafeteria of the Robert H. Young Community Center.
• Approved Holiday schedule for employees.
• Approved payment of bills and claims.

Eutaw City Council reviews finances;
makes board appointments

The Eutaw City Council met on Monday, November 7, 2022 for its regular first meeting of the month. The meeting was held on Monday because the second Tuesday was an election day.

The Council held an announced public hearing  at the start of the meeting to approve a resolution to vacate a city owned easement for an alley on the old Family Dollar property on Greensboro Avenue. City Attorney, Zane Willingham, explained that there is a possibility that the property will be used for a Jack’s Restaurant franchise and that the alley needed to be officially removed, so as not to be a barrier to attracting the business to the city.

Ralph Liverman, Financial Adviser, reported that the city’s financial records for the past fiscal year, ending September 30, 2022 had been completed and were ready to be transmitted to the auditors. He also reported that for the month of October 2022, the records showed that sales taxes and other revenues, exceed the 8.25% monthly projection and that most expenses were in line with the proposed budget.

Financial reports on the month of October for the General Fund, USDA Loan Payment and Reserve Accounts and the Utility Revenue Collections and transfers, were presented to the Council for their information. The annual payment to USDA on the current water system loan is due at the end of the calendar year. The reports show funds available for the payment and the accumulation of proper reserves for major repairs to the system.

The Council appointed Carrie Logan on the Eutaw Historic Preservation Board, to replace Diana Liverman, who resigned. The Council appointed Jim Logan to replace Rev. James Carter, who passed away, on the Eutaw Airport Board. The Council tabled the replacement of Rodney Wesley to the Greene County EMS Board, representing the city. He has resigned the position.

The Council heard a report from Corey Martin, City Water and Sewer Operator. Martin said the city was developing a plan to deal with a large pile of debris at the City Landfill. The city can no long burn materials it collects and must develop a plan for disposal of the materials in other landfills.

Martin reported that the city had replaced valves on tanks and made numerous repairs to leaks in the water lines which reduced water loss on a monthly basis from 70% in July to 34.3% in October. The city water and sewer lines have been mapped which will help in making repairs and determining the classification and need for additional fire hydrants.

The Council approved payment of all bills and claims and agreed to pay a scheduled employee bonus from American Rescue Plan Act funds with the next payroll on December 2, 2022, instead of waiting until the end of the year.

Eutaw City Council considers financial matters

The Eutaw City Council held its regular meeting on September 27, 2022 and considered a number of financial issues. The Council members received several financial reports, as informational materials.

The City is approaching the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year on September 30, 2022 and had reports through the end of August. The Council set a date of October 4th for a work session on the budget for next fiscal year. This session was postponed to a later date.

City Fiscal Advisor, Ralph Liverman, is working on a budget for the fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2022, and plans to review its contents and decisions on which infrastructure projects the city can undertake, based on available funds.
The Council approved the 2023 Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday for February 24-26, 2023, where people will be able to buy supplies, like batteries, radios, and other items without paying sales tax on that weekend next year.

The Council approved an agreement with Regions Commercial Credit division for credit cards for staff and council members. Mayor Latasha Johnson will control this account and can place money on the cards of City employees traveling to training meetings and to purchase supplies needed by the city. Some Council members voiced concerns about the problems associated with unauthorized use of credit cards. Mayor Johnson said she would closely supervise the use of these cards but that this system would give flexibility and emergency help to staff and Council members involved in city business.

The Council approved a request from Corey Martin, City Water Operator to secure bids in advance for mechanical services, such as pump repairs, motor rebuilding and other parts and services need by the water and sewer system. “Having a list of suppliers and service providers, at an agreed upon price in advance, would allow our city to better manage resources for repairs when they are needed, instead of facing these decisions on an emergency basis,” said Martin.

Mayor Latasha Johnson reported that the City of Eutaw and the Town of Boligee had both signed the agreement to consolidate their water and sewer systems. The Cassady Engineering firm of Northport, Alabama is working on comprehensive plans for the improvement of the water and sewer systems of Eutaw and Boligee for submission to ADEM for funding under the American Recovery Act, Infrastructure Act, and the Inflation Recovery Act. The preliminary plans and cost estimates are due by the end of October and will spell out a multi-million-dollar plan for phasing in the full repair and improvement of the Eutaw/Boligee water and sewer systems.

The Greene County Water and Sewer Authority has been approved for improvements to its water and sewer system. The funds will provide for a new water well on the northern end of the county and improvements to the sewage lagoon near Greenetrack.

In other business, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved travel and per diem for Corey Martin to attend training in utility management and technology in late October.
• Approve use of the R. H. Young Community Center for the funeral and repast for the Austin family on October 1, 2022, for a charge of $50 per hour.
•Tabled consideration of an agreement for operation and maintenance of traffic control signals and lighting in the city; and a Memorandum of Agreement with City and Greene County EMA.
• Payment of bills and claims.

Eutaw City Council receives update
on finances and water system

Mayor Lastasha Johnson presents awards to longtime employees of the City of Eutaw at February 8, 2022 council’s meeting. Shown L to R: Larry Sanford, (47 years service); Bennie Abrams (49), Dougles Smith (25), Linda Spencer (28), Mayor Johnson, Wilma Wedgeworth (38), Joe Powell (16) and Marcus Burton (13)

At its regular meetings on Feb. 8 and 22, the Eutaw City Council received detailed financial reports on its status relative to the budget and reports on the progress of the water system as well as making other decisions to advance the city.

Ralph Liverman, Financial Consultant to the city, reported that “for the first four months of the current fiscal year, October 1,2021 through January 31, 2022, based on its General Fund Budget, the City of Eutaw collected  $ 1,036,724 in revenues, which was 46% of its budget, and spent $766,394,
which was 34% of its budget.”

Liverman clarified that this meant that for four months, about a third of the year, the City had generated more than its projected budgeted revenues and was right on schedule with its expenditures.

Liverman presented a detailed report of the status of 24 bank accounts that the City is required to maintain to separate revenue sources, provide accurate expenditure reports and to maintain reserves for the maintenance and repair of equipment and the repayment of loans.

The City has a detailed budget and new accounting system which allows the Mayor, Council and staff to review and forecast revenues and expenses. In the past the Mayor, Council and the public did not have access to accurate and timely financial information upon which to make financial decisions concerning purchase of equipment, facilities and staffing. The new system gives the city an opportunity to make decisions in a more rational and financially sound manner.

Corey Martin reported on the water system. The system has 1,480 customers and has made significant upgrades over the past year to improve services. Collections for the current fiscal year are running above the budgetary projections. The water system used $400,000 in COVID funding to institute a digital telemetry system to monitor its wells and pipes, as well as make other improvements to the system, which will produce better results in the future.

At its February 8th meeting the Eutaw City Council approved $50,000 for purchase of a new modular office for the street, water and sewer staff, to replace the current run-down facilities. The Council approved $12,900 for a study by BAM to map the city lagoon and sludge depth to use to seek funding for improving sewage disposal. $16,592 was allocated from the Tank Repair Fund to improve Water Well No. 5 in Branch Heights. Funding was also approved for the Tango-Tango radio system for the Police Department.

At the February 22nd meeting, funds were approved for the DocuWare Cloud investment for the city to improve recordkeeping. The schedule for the completion of the GIS mapping of all city utilities was extended to May 24 to allow all data points to be appropriately mapped. City Engineer Babb stated the mapping involved establishing, digitizing and compiling 75,000 to 100,00 data points into maps that show the exact location of all city utility services.

A hearing for overgrown properties at 330 and 332 First Avenue was scheduled. If the landowners do not properly maintain their space, the city will do the work and add the cost to the ad valorem tax bill for the properties.

Doug Fulghum from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service gave a report on improvements to traffic, walking and biking trails and playground repairs at Carver Circle that his agency will be working on during the coming months, with grant funds they have secured and mad available for these purposes.

The Council adopted ordinances to approve non-exclusive franchise agreements with Charter Communications (Spectrum Southeast LLC) and Telepak Networks (C-Spire) for expansion of fiber broadband services within the city. These agreements will generate a 5% franchise fee to the city when implemented.

The Council approved an ordinance and referred it to the Planning and Zoning Boards, amending chapters of the City Code, which would bar businesses that received more than 50% of their revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages on the City Square, surrounding the old Courthouse. This would effectively ban nightclubs, sports bars and other business that sell alcoholic beverages from operating in the center of town.

The Council approved travel, per diem and registration for the Mayor, Council And clerks to attend the Alabama League of Municipalities 2022 Annual Convention in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on May 11-14, 2022.


Eutaw City Council receives reports on finances, sales tax collection and Water Department

At its regular meeting on November 23, 2021, the Eutaw City Council received reports in its budget, bank accounts, sales tax collections and the Water Department.

Two Council members were absent – LaJeffrey Carpenter and Tracy Hunter – but a quorum was present which allowed the meeting to proceed.

Based on recommendations from their Financial Adviser, Ralph Liverman, the Council reviewed and approved several bank resolutions to close several certificates of deposit and place checking accounts into money market accounts, which will earn interest on surplus funds on deposit in these bank accounts.

Liverman also presented a detailed report on the opening balances in all city banking and operational accounts as of the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2021.

The most interesting report that Liverman furnished was a record of sales tax and motor fuel revenues received by the City of Eutaw over the past three fiscal years, which shows the impact of the Love’s Travel Center in significantly increasing the tax revenues paid to the City of Eutaw.

A chart summarizing this information is included in this news report. The chart shows revenues for the three fiscal years, FY2018-2019, which was the year before Love’s opened for business, FY 2019-2020, which includes the first eleven months of Love’s operation and FY 2020-2021, which includes a full year of the truck stop and travel center operations.

The chart shows an increase of sales taxes from $530,962 before Love’s, to $772,756 for last year, which was a full year of operation for the travel center. This is an increase of $ 241,794 or 31%

The fuel tax increase, which is based on 3 cents per gallon, increased from $54,798 to $472,377, which is an astounding increase of
$ 417,574 or 762%.

Overall sales tax and motor fuel revenues increased from $692,730 to $1,515,045, which was an increase of $822,315 or 119%. On a monthly basis this represents $126,253 in tax revenues added to the city budget.

Note that the total sales tax rate in Greene County is 10% of which 3% goes to the municipality, in this case the City of Eutaw; 3% to the County Commission, and 4% to the State of Alabama. So, the county government and State of Alabama are receiving similar increases in revenues, to those received by the City of Eutaw.

It should also be noted that much of the increase in tax revenues which is attributed to the Love’s Travel Center were from people traveling through Greene County on Interstate 20/59, not from residents of the city or the county.

The Eutaw Water Department reported continuing progress in collections and reducing water losses. The City collected over $75,000 in water revenues for November 2021, which was about double what had been collected in previous years. There are 1,461 customers, with 12 new customers of which 9 were customers found, who previously had not been billed. There are still 534 accounts with $63,469 past due and receivable, some of which are under payment agreements.

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• Did not approve, November 24, the day before Thanksgiving for a full day paid vacation for employees. They left this benefit at a half day.

• Approved changes in the right-of-way for utilities and access to Raintree Apartments LLC and a similar adjustment for Rollingwoods Apartments.

• Heard reports from the City Engineer and Chief of Police.

• Agreed to pay bills for November 2021.