LYNN - The Lynn Town Council voted to purchase the property where the former M&M Restoration building is located for $175,000 at its monthly meeting on Monday, March 28.
The council has recently been considering how to give the town more equipment and vehicle storage; an option it previously explored was to build an addition at Fire Station No. 1. However, purchasing the M&M property at 22584 Hwy. 5 North won out because it will give the town more value for its money.
Before voting, the council discussed the 10.7-acre property and its possibilities and received input from Randall Foster of People’s Trust Bank of Hamilton on what to consider when financing the purchase.
“To me, this is pretty much a no-brainer,” Mayor Earl Gilbert said. “You can get a lot more building for the buck than what you can get if you add to (the fire station).”
Gilbert pointed out that not only would the property give the town a dry place to store equipment and plenty of parking, it would also provide a building that could be turned into a community center, noting that residents have been wanting a place to hold baby and wedding showers. He said that he and most members of the council have wanted to provide such a place for as long as they’ve been in office but haven’t been able to find the land for it up until now.
Gilbert also pointed out that the property even has enough land to build a walking track if the council wanted to do so.
“It’s a lot of money,” Gilbert said of the price, “but I think it’s well worth it in comparison to building new at the fire station.” He noted too that the town doesn’t have many options when it comes to purchasing land within Lynn.
Gilbert suggested that the council finance the purchase of the building and later pay for any additional work on the property out of pocket.
Randall advised the council to compare the term of the loan, the interest rate and the closing cost offered by all financial institutions who bid to finance the purchase of the property, including his own.
Council member Tommy Chambless asked how long it would take to close on the property. Randall replied that it would depend on whether the financial institution that wins the bid to finance the property does an in-house or certified appraisal on the property, noting additionally that an appraisal from a company from, for example, Cullman or Huntsville would probably take even longer than one from a company based in Winston County.
Marcia Manasco, town clerk, said she could contact a number of institutions to get bids from them.
Council member Brian Heck said that the council could discuss the different rates at the next work session and then be ready to vote on financing at the next meeting.
He made a motion to inquire about rates and terms and also to purchase the former M&M property. Chambless seconded the motion and all present voted in favor. Council member Chris Little was not present.
Following up on a similar matter, Manasco reported that the purchase of the former BankFirst building property should be completed by mid-April.
In other business, the town voted to donate $525.31 to the Lynn High School archery team to fund its attendance at a competition. The motion to do so was made by Daniel Dodd and seconded by Tommy Chambless; all present were in favor.
Other topics discussed included a problem with the company that supplies uniforms for the water supervisor and the two employees of the street department and what to do about it.
The employees return their uniforms to the company to be laundered after they are worn. The same number of clean uniforms are supposed to be delivered the next week, but frequently, the employees get back fewer uniforms than they turned in.
The council discussed alternatives to using the uniform service, with Manasco suggesting buying clothing for employees and Gilbert favoring giving them a monthly clothing allowance of $110. In both scenarios, the employees would be responsible for laundering their own clothing, which some already do anyway.
Manasco said the town is paying the company $85.65 a week, which comes to $342 a month or $4,453 a year. Having found similar pants to what the company provides for sale online for $25, Manasco estimated that the town could buy all three employees ten pairs of pants plus ten shirts each year for a total of only $1,500 per year.
“I’d rather give them an allowance,” Gilbert said at one point.
Before either option can be implemented, the town would need to deal with the fact that it still had two years remaining on a five-year contract that it signed with the company in 2019.
“I would challenge the validity of that contract,” said council member Allen Barnett, “because they’re not keeping up their end.”
Gilbert pointed out that until recently the town has not officially filed its complaints with the main office but only informed the driver who delivers the clothing of the problems, noting that he expected the company to resist letting the town out of the contract since it has no official complaints on file.
Gilbert said he had a meeting scheduled with the representative of the company on Thursday, March 31, during which he would find out the cost, if any, of withdrawing from the contract. Chambless moved to table the matter until the next meeting, Barnett seconded the motion and all present voted in favor.
Manasco informed the council that she had contacted Charles Kilgore from a Winfield electrical company who had said his company would come to Lynn City Park, where some of the ball field lights have burned out and need to be replaced.
The town is also planning other improvements to the ball park. Referring to a quote from Alabama Power, Gilbert said he thought it would cost $283 a month to install LED lights in the concession stand and restroom areas and over the parking lot.
Manasco asked if there would be an additional fee for the new poles that would need to be installed, and Gilbert replied that there would not.
He reported that Alabama Power would also give the town a quote on what it would cost to change the town’s street lights to LED lights. He said that topic would be on the agenda at the next work session.
The council also discussed the matter of the placement of already purchased concrete barriers in the parking lot at the ball park. Manasco said later that the town has about 50 barriers ready to be positioned.
“We can go ahead and put (the barriers) down,” Gilbert said, “or wait till after the season.” Waiting would allow the town to chip-seal the lot before placing the barriers, he explained, pointing out that if the town puts the barriers in place now and then decides to chip-seal, the barriers would have to be removed and then replaced afterwards.
On the possibility of chip-sealing, he said, “I don’t know if we’re prepared to do that or not. That’s a conversation for another day.”
Gilbert also talked about efforts to get quotes from two fence companies for the installation of new fencing at the ball park, and Manasco said she would try to contact the companies and have some information for the council by its next work session.
The next meeting of the Lynn Town Council will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 18.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.