Eutaw City Council appoints board and committee members, reviews water system issues, E-911 and pays bills

Shown L to R: Eutaw Police Officer Tyler Johnson, Asst, Chief Kendrick Howell, Chief Tommy Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem LaJeffery Carpenter, Officers Robert Geter and William Smith displaying their new uniform. Chief Johnson stated he has an open door policy. Look professional and act professional. We are here to help our citizens.

At its regular meeting on January 26,2021, the Eutaw City Council
dealt with several outstanding issues including naming people to city committees and boards, reviewing continuing problems with the water system, support for E-911, reviewing an agreement for joint work with the County Commission and Industrial Board, setting lease rates for space at the Carver School Community Center and paying bills.
The Mayor and City Council appointed members of the following boards and committees:
• Eutaw Zoning Board: John Zippert, Broderick Fulghum, Cynthia Cooper, Corey Cockrell, and Shirley Eubanks
• Eutaw Housing Authority Board: James Powell, Jonathan Lewis, Jacqueline Allen, and Isaac N. Atkins
• Eutaw Medical Clinic Board: Judy Jarvis, John Zippert and Joyce Cotton
• Eutaw Historical Commission: Evelyn Davis, Gilda Jowers, Diane Liverman, Carol P. Zippert, Sharon Trammell, Johnnie Mae Knott, Sandra Walker, Judy Jarvis
• Eutaw Cemetery Board: Nicolas Wilson, Joseph Fritz, Suzette Powell, Sharon Trammell, and Connie Tyree
The Council took up the issue of setting a rental payment for use of rooms at the Carver School Community Center. The CRFD, a non-profit agency has had a space for a year and Liberty Tax, a business. is requesting a space. Councilwoman Tracey Hunter raised the concern that the monthly charge includes utilities. Mayor Johnson said it was a community center not a business, so the city was not likely to recover all costs for the facility, but needed to charge a fair rate for non-profits and others. Hunter then moved to table the issue until more research and information was available.
The Engineers of the South (EOS), the consulting firm that is currently contracted to monitor the operations and quality of the Eutaw Water System was present and stated their interest in supporting efforts to improve the system. The spokesperson for EOS said that they would provide a proposal to increase time on monitoring the system, help in auditing and correcting faulty meters and replacing meters that could not be repaired. EOS is also answering an ADEM complaint about the water system, which was sent to the past Mayor but never answered.
The City also has a proposal from Kathie Horne of Water Management Associates for improving and repairing problems with the water system. Her agreement is for three years and charges $6 per meter, per month. Mayor Johnson said the city has 1,400 water meters, which means that Horne’s contract is for $8,400 a month or more. Johnson said she wasn’t sure if the city could afford this contract and welcomed other proposals, like one from EOS. The Mayor said this would be discussed in more detail at a Council Work Session on Tuesday, February 2nd.
The next agenda item was a pledge by the City since 2004, to provide $30,000 a year for the operation of the E-911 emergency assistance and dispatching services, which has never been paid. Johnny Isaac, Chair of the E-911 Board was present and said, “In 2004, I was the Sheriff and Reginald Spencer was Eutaw Chief of Police, we agreed to transfer dispatching services to E-911. This is saving the city between $200,000 and $300,000 a year. We hope you can support us with $30,000 that was pledged but never paid. The monies we get from the phone bill tax of $1.86 per customer is not sufficient to operate E-911”
Mayor Johnson said the City should pay $30,000 a year to support E-911, from bingo funds. The Council agreed and supported this expense.
The Council reviewed an agreement between the City, County Commission and Industrial Development Authority for development of the Interstate 59/20 Exit 40, especially the location of a motel and other projects to improve the county. The Council tabled this issue for further discussion at the upcoming work session.
The Council received a listing of outstanding bills for the months of November, December and January, which they approved for payment.

In Eutaw Municipal elections: Runoff for Mayor between Raymond Steele and Latasha Johnson

By: John Zippert
Co-Publisher

Raymond Steele
Latasha Johnson

In yesterday’s City of Eutaw Municipal elections, 1,219 voters cast ballots. There were five candidates in the Mayor’s race. Incumbent Mayor Raymond Steele led with 403 (33%) votes, Councilwoman Latasha Johnson came in second with 359 (30%) votes; Joe Lee Powell received 257 (21%); Sandra Walker 183 (15%) and Queena Bennett Whitehead 17 (1%).
There will be a runoff election on October 6, 2020 between Raymond Steele and Latasha Johnson for Mayor.
In Forkland, Incumbent Mayor Charlie McAlpine was reelected with a vote of 216 to 60 for Rev. Michael Barton.
In the Eutaw City Council races, there will be a runoff in District I, where Valerie Watkins received 115 (44%) votes to 107 (41%) for Chondra Mayes and Ke’Undra Quintez Cox received 38 (14.6%). The runoff also scheduled for October 6 will be between Watkins and Mayes.
In District 2, LaJeffrey Carpenter received 160 (69%) votes to 70 (30%) for Bryant Snyder, Jr. and was reelected to the Eutaw City Council. In District 3, Tracy Hunter, who was unopposed was elected to that seat.
In District 4, Larry Coleman received 110 (51%) votes in defeating incumbent Councilwoman Sheila Smith with 105 (49%) and will take the seat.
In District 5, Jacqueline Stewart with 120 (52%) votes defeated Rodney Wesley with 109 (48%) capturing this seat.
When the Mayor and Council are seated and sworn-in, for a four-year term, on November 10, 2020 there will be four new council members with only LaJeffrey Carpenter returning.
In Forkland, in the only contested city council race, for District 3; Alonzo Thomas with 48 votes won with Preston Davis receiving 25 and Willie Sashington getting 9 votes.
The Mayor’s position and city council races were not contested in the Towns of Boligee and Union, so the same officials have been reelected for another term.
1,219 (49.7%) of voters out of 2,450 registered in the city turned out to vote in the first primary on August 25, 2020. “We will need to work hard to raise the turnout for the Municipal Runoff on October 6 and the important November 3rd General Election for U. S. President, Senators, Congress and other offices,” said Carol Zippert, Greene County Chair for the Alabama New South Alliance.