Haleyville Council plans for airport’s future

HALEYVILLE - Upgrades and improvements are in the pipeline for the Haleyville Airport, but are all subject to approval from other entities.
The Haleyville City Council passed two measures during their June 19, meeting that would ultimately bring improvements to the Haleyville. Airport - Posey Field.  The first of these items was a resolution awarding the low bid for wildlife fencing to Columbus Fence Company, LLC., in the amount of $58,937, pending grant approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.  Three companies submitted bids for the project, the other two being Triple J. Construction, LLC and Robinson & Sons Construction Services, Inc.      Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri noted the large spread in bid amounts for the project - from Columbus Fence’s low bid to Robinson & Sons’ bid of $140,610.  He and council member Royce Benefield both asked acting city engineer Calvin Cassady why the bid amounts were so varied.
“You have one fence builder and the other two are general contractors,”  Cassady said.    Cassady noted that the project is all fencing - a 12-foot high fence with a three-foot fence buried at the base, all with the goal to keep wildlife from coming onto the runway and keeping the airport compliant with federal requirements.
At this point, Benefield asked Sunseri if the council could go into executive session for five minutes or less.  Benefield never stated publicly what his reasoning for wanting to go into executive session was.  City Attorney Jeff Mobley certified that the executive session reasoning was justifiable under the Alabama Open Meetings Act, but did not go into specifics.  
The council left the courtroom, but returned one minute later.  After voting to reconvene the meeting,    council members Richard Bittinger and Blue Russell and Sunseri voted to take the item up for immediate consideration.  Council members Jonathan Bennett and Drew Thrasher were absent from the meeting.  After a pause, Benefield noted that he was going to abstain from the vote.  Mobley told him that he could not abstain from bringing an item up for immediate consideration, that he had to vote yes or no.  Benefield then voted yes to bring it up for immediate consideration.  
Next, the council voted to approve the low bid to Columbus Fence Co., LLC.  Bittinger, Sunseri and Russell all voted yes, while Benefield abstained, so the motion carried.  Benefield never publicly stated his reasoning for abstaining from the vote.
The next airport-related item on the agenda was met with unanimous approval by the council.  Resolution No. 2019-18 stated that the city is authorized to make an application in the amount of $95,022 for airport improvement funding assistance from the Alabama Department of Transportation.  As part of the $95,022 cost, $36,085 will be spent on grant engineering design and inspection, which will be awarded to The Cassady Company, Inc., upon approval by the Alabama DOT.  The city will have a local matching share of funds in the amount of $4,751 required for the agreement, which was approved and placed in the airport’s budget.
In other business, the council voted to extend  its contract with the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C. for five years, ending October 16, 2024.  The phone is a central point in the museum’s 9-1-1 exhibit and will remain in place there, but can be brought back to Haleyville whenever it is needed.
The council voted to make Friday, July 5, a holiday for city employees for 2019 only, following the lead of the state, which has also declared the date a holiday this year.  That means Haleyville City Hall will be closed July 4-5 and there will be no garbage pickup on these dates.
General operations bills and purchase orders in the amount of $429,574.84 were also approved by the council.
The next meeting of the Haleyville City Council will be Monday, July 1, at 5:30 p.m. at Haleyville City Hall.


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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