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.

Eutaw City Council approves application for $500,000 to repair roof at old Carver School

The Eutaw City Council met for a partially virtual meeting on August 24, 2021, that was also broadcast to the public on Facebook-Live due to the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in Greene County. The Eutaw City Council received reports from a number of city departments and paid regular bills for the month. The Council approved a resolution for Mayor Latasha Johnson to apply for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the State ADECA office, to repair the roof on the Robert H. Young Community Center, formerly the Carver Elementary School. The city acquired the school from the Board of Education several years ago and uses it to house non-profit and small business entities. There are no matching fund requirements for this grant. The grant is due before the next regular meeting of the Council. Corey Martin for the Water Department reported that the department had collected $1,039,398.32 in water, sewer and garbage payments since the October 1, 2020 start of the fiscal year. For the last full fiscal year, the Water Department collected $585,592.17, a difference of $453,806.15. The Department has 1,394 customers and added 8 customers this month in the city and 9 customers on Boligee routes. The Water Department has been working to find and fix meters, find and repair leaks and generally to improve the system to increase revenues and reduce water leakage. This includes collection of past due receivables and closing accounts for non-payment or unwillingness to agree to payment plans to settle past-due accounts. Torris Babb, City Engineer reported on his work to evaluate streets that need major repaving work to be funded by state and local funds. He urged the Council to approve a contract for a company to clean out the sludge in the city lagoon to allow its pumps and pipes to work more efficiently. Babb also reported on FEMA financed drainage repairs, a new building code ordinance, GPS mapping of city utilities and other work. Babb also said he secured permission from ALDOT to close a bridge at the end of Springfield Avenue until it could be redone. Linda Spencer, Magistrate and Court Clerk reported that she was working on plans and procedures to hold City Court virtually beginning next month in September. Ralph Liverman, fiscal consultant presented the city with a financial report for the period October 1,2020 through July 31, 2021. The report listed numerous bank accounts that the city has and transactions made during the fiscal year. Liverman also reported he was working on a budget for the coming 2021-2022 fiscal year and wanted to review this in detail with the finance committee. At this time, subject to changes, Liverman projects a budget with $4,057,856 in revenues and $3,616,191 in expenditures with a surplus of $441,665. Liverman said, “This budget would allow for payment of all long-term loan payments like the water system, lighting at the Interstate Exit, and matching fund requirements for various grants. It also would allow us to consider a leasing arrangement for four new police cars, a knuckle-boom truck, a street sweeper and several pick-up trucks needed to improve the ability of the city’s staff to serve residents.” Mayor Johnson reported that negotiations were on-going with IRS to remove a tax lien on the city for employee taxes during the period 2015 to 2020. “We settled with IRS on some years – 2016 and 2017 – and we are awaiting the final charges for 2018 and 2019, to settle this debt,” she said. The Mayor also reported that she had spoken with Waste Management about delays in collecting city garbage. The company says it has staff shortages resulting in delays in garbage collection. The mayor asked City Attorney Zane Willingham to communicate with Waste Management in writing about their service and contractual violations. In other business, the City Council:

• Approved payment of $1,200 each, to three employees, who were sick with COVID-19, from remaining CARES funds.

• Approved travel for city staff to a training for Municipal Clerks and Administrators in Orange Beach in November; and for a BBI Software conference in Meridian, Mississippi on September 2, 2021.

• Approved a contract of $12,720 with Supreme Electrical LLC to replace light fixtures with LED fixtures throughout City Hall, from the Capital Improvement Fund.

City of Eutaw receives $309,083 payment from American Rescue Plan for coronavirus needs and infrastructure improvements

Police Chief Tommy Johnson and Mayor Latasha Johnson award Certificate of Appreciation to 7-year-old Draylon Davis at the June 8, 2021 City Council meeting for his courage, bravery and presence of mind to call for help for his mother, Marquita Davis, who was having a medical emergency. “His calm response in contacting help probably saved his mother’s life,” said the Chief.

 

During last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Latasha Johnson announced that the city had received a payment of $309,083.08 from the American Rescue Plan Act federal funds for states and cities to cover coronavirus expenses and invest in infrastructure improvements to improve the city for the future. This is the first half of the funding the City expects to get from the ARPA funds. The Council approved a $2,500 one-time loyalty payment to all city employees who continued to work and provide essential services during the pandemic. “These funds will go to our 40 employees who willingly gave their support and services during a difficult time. They enabled us to keep City Hall open and continue to provide basic services like water, sewer, streets and garbage collection,” said Mayor Johnson. The Council also approved a salary increase to $1,500 a month for City Judge Joshua J. Swords. A $500 increase was approved for City Attorney Zane Willingham. The Mayor said the rest of the funds will be allocated to improvements in the City’s infrastructure, like street repairs, a telemetry system for the Water Department and other projects which will help the long-term development of the City. Mayor Johnson also reported that with the help of the City’s financial adviser, Ralph Liverman and its CPA, the City reached an agreement with IRS to pay $19,715 in tax liabilities for 2015. Records and payments for tax years 2019 and 2020 were accepted. The City was required to file IRS 941 Quarterly Tax Reports for 2018 and the IRS would calculate the taxes due. Mayor Johnson said, “Once we submit all the requested information, the IRS will be able to determine our tax liability for that year. We feel it will be less that the $230,000 previously discussed since some of the taxes for this period have already been paid. Once we reach an agreement on 2018 then IRS will lift the lien against the City of Eutaw.” In other business, at the June 8 and 22 meetings, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved the Water Department Identity Theft Prevention and Response Plan, since the city is accepting credit card payments on line, this will help protect people’s confidential information.

• Approved contract leasing the city’s farmer’s market space for ten years to the Greene and Sumter Farmer’s Market Cooperative for a nominal amount.

• Approved a contract between the City of Eutaw and the West Alabama Food Bank for the distribution of food to people in need.

• Set a meeting date of June 29 at 4:00 PM for a meeting of the City Council with the City Zoning Board to discuss the location of “modular homes” in the City, based on the ordinances and making more spaces available for mobile homes.

• Ended the City’s mandatory mask mandate for the prevention of the coronavirus but left the decision of wearing masks up to the individual’s discretion.

• Approved rental agreements for Brielle’s Boutique and HUGS A LOT Daycare for spaces at the Robert H. Young Community Center (old Carver Middle School); also approved business licenses for Christ Temple Church for a coffee shop, furniture store and theater; also, a business license for Paula Calligan’s Adjusted Crowns Hair Salon at 322 Brown Avenue.

• Agreed to change signatures on the Citizens Trust Bank bank accounts; and pay bills for the month of June. Mayor Johnson complimented the Chief of Police, Tommy Johnson, on the Police and First Responders Parade held in Eutaw last Thursday, June 17th. Chief Johnson announced that he will be holding a Coffee and Donuts Public Meeting on the second Thursday of each month at City Hall, beginning on July 8, 2021 at 10:00 AM. The public meeting will be a chance for people to raise comments, complaints and suggestions with the Chief of Police and his staff.

Eutaw City Council approves budget but tables most other items until IRS lien can be resolved

The Eutaw City Council met twice in March on the ninth and twenty-third to consider a similar agenda. The Council approved the latest version of a budget, prepared by Financial Consultant, Ralph Liverman, paid essential bills but did not approve other new purchases and initiatives pending a resolution of an outstanding problem with IRS. The Council approved the fifth version of a budget submitted by its special financial adviser, Ralph Liverman. The budget, which includes $3.5 million in projected revenues and $3.2 million in projected expenses was prepared using the best data available from past and current operations. The budget is divided into seven funds based on revenue streams. The budget includes: General Fund Administration, General Fund Police, General Fund Street and Sanitation, General Fund Debt Service, Water and Sewer Fund, 7-Cent Gas Tax Fund, 4-Cent Gas Tax Fund, Special Street Fund, and Capital Improvements Fund. “We have an approved budget for the city, which is a plan that can be amended and changed as we learn more about our finances and critical needs. We also have an accountant doing an audit for us for the past three years – 2018, 2019 and 2020, which helps us to know where we stand and allows us to apply for new grants,” said Mayor Latasha Johnson. The Council requested an update on the situation with IRS from Kathy Bir, the City Clerk. Ms. Bir did not have a report at first but went to get copies of correspondence from her office. She said that she had been overwhelmed with other work priorities like payroll and also had been sick. Mayor Johnson said, “We have been very lenient on this but we have been asking for this information on IRS for five months.”The problem with IRS has two parts. IRS filed a lien against the City for unpaid Employee taxes during the past administration of Mayor Raymond Steele. There also is a second problem with a report filed by Ms. Bir, which was incorrect because the wrong figures were placed on the wrong lines of a quarterly earnings report filed with IRS. This report and problem have been corrected by Ms. Bir but no confirmation of the correction has been received from IRS by the City. The City owes IRS for these problems that are accumulating interest and penalties as long as they are unresolved. The Council expressed concern that they cannot move forward with other new purchases, such as needed police cars and a GIS mapping of city utilities, until the issues with IRS are clarified and a payment plan developed for the outstanding amount owed to IRS. Mayor Johnson said, that with the help of Ralph Liverman, she had written a letter to IRS to get a clear statement of the amount owed and the reasons for the debt. “We have not received an answer to our letter yet, so we will need to keep following up because we need results and not excuses to resolve this problem,” said Mayor Johnson. The Council agreed to pay outstanding bills for routine business but tabled action on most new expenses. In the March 9th meeting, the Council approved payment of $8,950 to Layne Christensen Company and $24,000 for payment to Sheppard Services LLC for repairs and replacement of well pumps for the water system. In response to requests from City Engineer Babbs, the Council approved joining the 811 Alabama Location Center, to get advanced notice of new construction affecting underground utility lines. The cost of this membership is $520 per year. The Council tabled Babbs request for a GIS Mapping System ($40,000) of the streets and utility lines needed for future grant requests for maintenance and repair, until the IRS claims can be resolved. The Council also tabled requests for new police vehicles, a SCADA and Telemetry system for the City water system, purchase of tractors and street improvement equipment and approval of the Utility Operations Policy and Procedures Manual until the IRS issues are resolved. The Council did approve $5,000 for upgrading the computers, networking and telephone system at City Hall, which will provide answering services and other improvements to the system. It approved arrangements for on-line payment of utility bills using debit, credit cards and other forms of non-cash payment. The Council approved entering into an agreement with Community Services of West Alabama for the payment of utility bills to help low-income residents. The Council also approved a contract with Jordan Vending Services for the placement of vending machines for water and Gatorade at the Robert H. Young Community Center (old Carver Elementary School). They also approved a timeclock for employees that will be coordinated with the ADT payroll service to provide more accurate records of hours worked by the city’s staff. The Mayor asked Terry Tyson to report on his audit of the city water meters. Terry has visited 753 water meters, about half of the meters. He has found problems with meters installed incorrectly, meter id numbers not correctly matched to the billing system, and some meters not included in the billing system. He plans to visit all of the meters and correct the problems as part of his agreement with the City. The Mayor and City Council noted that storm shelters are needed for Branch Heights, National Guard Armory and Carver School and Community Center. The Mayor said that she was working out the details on locating and constructing these shelters.

Eutaw City Council appoints boards, reviews water system and handles contracts

Greene County EMS staff demonstrate the Life-Pak/Defibrillator equipment to save lives, purchased by the City of Eutaw with CARES funds

The Eutaw City Council held its regular meeting on February 9, 2021. Mayor LaTasha Johnson and all Council members were present.
The Council reviewed technical assistance proposals from Water Management Services and EOS. The Council by a vote of 3 to 2 accepted the proposal from Terry Tyson, who works with EOS, to audit, review and repair the water meters. He will also help to make sure that the digital meters are communicating properly with the city’s billing computer software to help resolve some of the billing problems.
The Council also approved the Mayor’s recommendation to employ Corey Martin as the on-site water operator for the city, which will help to get the system functioning more efficiently.
The Council also approved March 3 as the final date for residents to negotiate a billing arrangement on paying their past due water bills before action is taken to cut off water. Residents can get an adjustment in their bills, down to 20% of the balance owed, to be paid over five months along with current billThe Council appointed the following members to the City Industrial Board: Mollie Rowe, Tommy Lee Armour, Theresa Carpenter, James Dee Powell, Hattie Edwards, Chris Beeker, Anita Lewis, Ralph Liverman, and Danny Cooper. The Council also appointed the Airport Board consisting of Joe Lee Powell, Danny Cooper, John Darden, Colin McRaye, James Carter, Reginald Cheatem and Billy Mingles.
The Council discussed rental fees for rooms at the Robert Young Community Center (old Carver Elementary School) and decided to charge $375 per room, per month, starting March 1st.
The Council made no differentiation between business and non-profit users, which may come back up for discussion.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• Approved contract with Waste Management Services for collection of garbage.
• Approved purchase for $12,000 of a new radio communications system for the Police Department, from Collins Communications.
• Agreed to purchase three new rotators for the city’s sewage lagoons; one large one for the City lagoon and two smaller ones for the lagoons at the rest areas on the two sides of Interstate 20/59. The cost of the rotators was $12,000 for the larger one and $6,000 each for the smaller ones.
• Heard a report from Mr. Babb, City Engineer on steps to get maps of the city water and sewage system to develop a maintenance and repair plan.
• Discussed getting speed bumps for Roebuck Street.
• Urged Parks and Recreation Committee to meet to make recommendations for improvements.
• Referred insurance claims to the company for review and payment.
• Viewed a demonstration of the Life-Pak equipment purchased by the City for the Greene County EMS with CARES funds.