Haleyville Council applies for Rebuild Alabama Grant

HALEYVILLE - The Haleyville City Council had one of the longest agendas it has had in some time for its Nov. 18, meeting, with several important items approved.
The council approved applying for state grant funds through the Rebuild Alabama Act annual grant program to resurface Brookhaven I and II subdivisions.  Mayor Ken Sunseri noted that the city is requesting  $242,253 in the grant funding, with the city to pay the engineering fees.  There is no match required for the fund.  
Council member Drew Thrasher asked Sunseri if there would be any way to correct drainage issues in the area while doing the project with the money to be received, if the grant is awarded.
"The culverts in the area need to be replaced to stop some of the flooding issues,"  Thrasher noted.
"I don't think right now we will have the time to do this.  This has to be submitted by Nov. 30,"  Sunseri replied.  He asked Thrasher what city engineer Calvin Cassady had said about the water issues, with Thrasher saying that Cassady noted he would have to get with everybody else, adding that the water line goes under the street in the subdivision.
"I think this is something we will have to handle ourselves,"  Sunseri told Thrasher.  With that, all council members voted in favor of applying for the grant.
The next item on the agenda purchasing a field groomer for the park and recreation department in the amount of $28,310.67.  Council member Royce Benefield questioned why the cheapest bid submitted was not accepted.  Council member Jonathan Bennett replied that the model chosen is like the field groomer that the city already has and is still working.
"When they have tournaments, they need to be able to groom two fields at one time.  This will give them access to another one.  They are pretty handy,"  Bennett said.
Benefield noted that the cheapest one was approximately $15,000 and wondered what the difference was between the two.  Thrasher noted that the one they were considering purchasing has the attachments in different ways.  Bennett also noted that the city was not considering purchasing the most expensive machine.  With that, the item was approved.
Sunseri added that the machine will be paid for over 48 months at $623.27 per month.  It has a protection plan for 48 months.  Benefield asked if the payments would be made out of the park and rec account.  Sunseri told him that the money made in concession sales by the park and rec department goes into the city's general fund, so the money will come from the general fund.
After some discussion, the council tabled considering purchasing a new fire truck until more information could be received.  Next, the council approved making a host of computer software and wireless upgrades in the amount of $14,883, with Jen-Eric to perform the work.  The upgrades are necessary due to updates to the city's version of Windows software being discontinued by Microsoft in an effort by the company to move users to its newest version of the Windows software.
"We have a problem because in January, they are going to quit serving the Windows we have now,"  Sunseri said.  "We will purchase nine computers and have 10 upgrades.  The new ones will be placed here.  The others will be taken to the park and rec department."
Sunseri said that a new wireless controller and the labor to install it will be $1,558.40.  This will create wireless capabilities for the safe center, which is below city hall.
In personnel items, the council accepted the resignation of Starla Watts as court clerk effective Nov. 29.  Watts is taking a position with Huntsville as a magistrate.  Sunseri noted that the city hall staff has been cross trained, and recommended appointing Caroline Thompson, who currently serves as accounts payable clerk, into the court clerk slot.  
"She's qualified.  She's a magistrate.  She's trained and certified,"  Sunseri said.  The council approved Thompson being moved to the slot.  Her salary will be  adjusted accordingly.
Next, Sunseri said a pay adjustment was needed for Thompson's current position.
"I believe we listed it as a receptionist.  That function is a lot more.  It's actually accounts payable clerk.  The current salary is $10.15/hr.  I need somebody with accounting experience and bring it under the same salary base that Caroline will have in her new job,"  Sunseri said.  The accounts payable clerk's beginning salary will be $10.50/hr., with a raise to $12.21/hr. after one year and top pay at $13.21/hr.  Benefield asked how the hire would be made, by taking applications or hiring someone he interviews.  Sunseri  said there would be an application period, followed by acting city clerk interviewing applicants.  Sunseri told Benefield that it would be at least the first of the year before the hired person would most likely begin work.
The council also approved advertising for two part-time dispatchers for the city, after being informed by Sunseri that one of the city's full-time dispatchers had broken her leg.
General operations bills and purchase orders in the amount of $335,009.66 was approved by the council.
Thrasher asked if there was any grant money available, possibly through ADECA, for recreation trails.  Sunseri told him that the grants available are 50 percent matches, and with all the city has going currently, the fiscal budget couldn't handle it.
"It is a possiblilty.  We may look at it later on,"  Sunseri said.
The next meeting of the Haleyville City Council will be Monday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom of Haleyville City Hall.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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