Eutaw City Council approves change in garbage collection contract

7th grader Joveon Carpenter received award from Mayor Johnson and Council members
L to R: Jacqueline Stewart, Phillips Cherry, Mayor Latasha Johnson, Marcus Burton, Paul Jones, LaJeffery Carpenter, Larrie Coleman and Valeria Watkins at presentation of certificates to Water Department trainee

At its most recent regular meeting on November 9, 2021, the Eutaw City Council approved the assignment of the Waste Management contract for garbage collection to Arrow Disposal Service as of December 1, 2021.

Mike Mitchell representing Waste Management appeared before the Council and said, “We are unable to pick-up the garbage on a regular schedule in the City of Eutaw, due to labor shortages, and we are requesting assignment of this contract, to give the people better service.”

The city’s current contract with Waste Management runs through 2023. Arrow Disposal Service is picking up trash in Hale County and will be
able to fulfill the schedule in the City of Eutaw. Waste Management is allowing the new company to use its garbage bins. Mayor Johnson said the new company would follow the same routes and schedule as the old company for the same cost to the city.

Rick Harbin, a CPA from Tuscaloosa gave an interim report to the City Council on his work to audit Eutaw’s finances. He said the last city audit was in 2012 and the last statement was for 2014. Harbin has reviewed the records and prepared a statement as of September 30, 2017 to have a starting point for his audit work. Using the 2017 starting numbers, he is working on an audit or fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and the current year 2020-21.

Harbin said he hoped to be able to give the city an “unqualified opinion” on its finances based on the records he has been reviewing. He mentioned that he had a found a large water loss in the city’s water department, which needs to be analyzed and corrected since this is the propriety function of the city where it is pumping and selling water to the residents.

The City Council approved a contract of $ 6,230 with the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with a reimbursable grant they are receiving from the Tombigbee RC&D for signage and beautification. The Chamber will repay the city from grant proceeds.

The City Council agreed to a proposal from the Alabama Children’s Policy Council to place a Little Free Outdoor Library at the City Park and Tennis Courts on Mesopotamia Avenue.

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved a resolution concerning zoning for the Rollingwood Apartments, Morrow Realty Company.

• Approved expenditure of $7,000 for National Water Services for a flow test and maintenance of city water wells. This expense is already included in the budget.

• Approved Next Level Leaders use of the R. H. Young Community Center Gym on November 13 for $50.00.

• Approved use of police officers to use city vehicles for part-time patrol at West-Rock manufacturing facilities.

•Approved Supreme Electrical Service for additional work on city facilities.

• Agreed to pay bills.

In her Mayor’s report, Latasha Johnson, called up Javeon Carpenter, a 7th grader at Robert Brown Middle School, and presented him a certificate and award for helping to stop a fight between students at his school. Police Chief Tommy Johnson recommended him for this award.

The Mayor also gave certificates to three Water Department employees – Marcus Burton, Phillip Cherry and Paul Jones – who are studying to receive certification as water operators.

Eutaw Mayor and City Council tangle over bills and budget

At their regular Eutaw City Council meeting on September 25, 2018, Mayor Raymond Steele and City Council members once again questioned each other over outstanding bills and the need for a budget for the operations of the city. When asked by City Council members how he was determining which outstanding bills to pay, the Mayor said, “We use our best judgment and pay the most pressing bills which the Council has approved for payment. We have had no increase in our tax base in twenty or more years so we do not have enough tax and business revenue coming in to pay all of our bills.” Councilwoman Sheila Smith pressed the Mayor on the Waste Management garbage bills, “People in the city pay $15 a month on their water bills for garbage collection, yet we are three months behind ($48,000) in our payments to Waste Management for these services. Who is deciding how to use the monies paid for garbage collection to pay for other things?” inquired Smith. Councilman Latasha Johnson asked, “Why don’t we have a budget. The City of Eutaw needs a budget. The Council is in charge of the City’s finances but without information and a budget, we really don’t know how we are operating.” Mayor Steele responded, “The City has not had a budget since 2012 because of the problem with our revenue streams. “Our equipment is old and in need of constant replacement and repairs. I have been talking to the Sheriff about more bingo funds. I hope the Loves Travel Center will bring in new gas and sales tax revenues. We are doing our best to handle this difficult situation.” Councilwoman Johnson suggested that, “We should do a budget anyway to see where we are and agree on some priorities for spending our city funds.” Mayor Steele presented a contract for $448,500 from Central Asphalt Company of Tuscaloosa to repave the streets in Branch Heights with 1 and ½ inches of asphalt. “This is not a permanent solution to the problems of Branch Heights roads and streets but it will help, he said.” The Mayor asked that the Council, City Attorney and Engineer study the proposal so it can be adopted at the next meeting. Steele said the funds for the contract would come from gas tax funds, which can only be used for road improvements.

The Council approved naming four more persons to the Eutaw Airport Authority Board: Reginald Cheatem, Derrick Coleman, Collin McCray and Joe Lee Powell. The Council previously named Danny Cooper and Billy Mingus to the Board. The Eutaw Airport Authority Board will work to maintain and improve the City’s airport for use in transportation and economic development. Mayor Steele asked the Council for permission to seek cost estimates to repave West End Avenue, which was approved. The Council also approved the use of Eutaw Civic Center, formerly the National Guard Armory, for a Ducks Unlimited annual event on November 9. Darlene Robinson said that she was going to place pink ribbons around the Courthouse Square for “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and presented a plaque to the City. John Darden asked the Council if they had a strategic plan for flooding in view of the disaster of Hurricane in the Carolinas. He also raised the problems of failing culverts and lighting on Springfield Avenue, where he lives. Police Chief Coleman introduced retired Sheriff’s deputy Tommy Johnson Sr. who has been retained as a part-time city police officer. Several people in the audience thanked the police for their life saving and crime fighting efforts.