ARLEY - Responsibility comes with town council seats, since each one represents the people and taxpayers of the town. An empty seat came open in the Arley council with the passing of Jerry Goodwin, a long-serving advocate of Arley, on Jan. 2. At the monthly town meeting on Monday, Feb. 1, Brian Fincher was voted to fill the vacant seat. The oath of office was administered by Tammi Farley, the town clerk, and Fincher took over his duties immediately.
Goodwin took over the council seat after Fincher’s father, Kerry Fincher, retired.
“It is an honor for me to have the seat once occupied by those two men,” Brian said. “Jerry has served Arley for as long as I can remember. I have never run across a single person that didn't like and respect him. I realize that I have very big shoes to fill and am humbled by this appointment.”
The Arley council now is consisted of Brian, Devon Guthrie, Roger Fincher, Robert Williams and Bobby Smith. Chris Tyree is the mayor.
For the month of January, the police department traveled 2,480 miles on the job, had $406 in expenses and had 14 cases. Chief Jerry Cummings presented a written directive to add to the standard operating procedure for approval. The directive subject was use of force and choke holds. Having this on file opens the department up for eligibility on certain federal grants in the future.
“If you don’t have a policy, you don’t get federal grants,” Cummings mentioned. “To get in compliance, we put in the choke policy in our SOP. By doing this, we are eligible for federal grants for at least up to three more years. I knew this was coming but didn’t know when, so we got on board and put it in our policy.”
Additionally, the council voted to move Adam Howton from the water department to the police department to take the place of Levi Brown, who is moving to the position of game warden with the state. Williams made a motion for the move with Guthrie on a second. The motion comes with a $5,000 price tag to send Howton to police academy training. The council also approved to post a position to fill in the water department.
“The $5,000 will take care of his food, board, clothes and everything while he’s at (the academy) for 14 weeks,” Cummings said.
For the month of January, the fire department had 17 medical calls with two fire calls. For the new fire truck, the only thing it needs is a tank, which is on backorder. Fire Chief James Rickett asked to declare Tanker 2 as surplus when the newer tanker becomes available for use, which was granted.
“We have two departments who are asking about it,” Rickett explained to the council. The old tanker will be sold to another fire department as soon as the new one is available. The council agreed with a motion and second.
A major expense has occurred in the water treatment plant, with the purchase of a new motor in the amount of $10,300, which was set in place on Feb. 1, though it was not ready for operation until it was hooked up electrically.
James Dickey at the water treatment plant was moved to a grade one employee, having passed his tests with enough schooling, the mayor mentioned.
The collections in the court department have been examined by Dana Kulbeth, the new assistant court clerk.
“There were some (collections) that were actually paid in full that were never processed,” Farley said. “The auditor recommended to printed out a report of any adjustments made so the (council) is aware.”
Kulbeth also found several on the list who are now deceased. The list of adjustments was made available, and Roger Fincher made a motion to accept the adjustments with Smith seconding.
Kulbeth became the assistant court clerk in November, when the previous company, ETA Data Direct, decided to no longer handle the fees, fines and restitution.
Retirement conversion from tier two employees to tier one was discussed and passed.
The Town of Arley expanded Monday night with the annexation of 89.53 acres from two properties on Hosanna Highway, which is off Helicon Road. Eighty acres, located at 551 Hosanna Highway and belonging to Justin Harbison and Brittany Ferguson, was annexed in ordinance number 2021-01. An additional parcel, owned by Harbison, containing 9.53 acres and located at 557 Hosanna Highway, was annexed under ordinance number 2021-02. All council members voted to do so after Guthrie’s motion.
A debris removal program was presented to the council, where damages sustained by wind, either hurricane or tornado, will be cleaned up with no expenses to the town at the time. The program however will cost $1,500 annually. The program is asking for at least 100 participants in towns throughout Alabama, and if there is less than 100, the program will cease and the money will be returned. The money submitted by towns would be put into a fund to help with debris removal if the town experienced wind damage. However, it would only cover areas within the town limits.
The matter was tabled until more information was obtained for the council.
Tyree was contacted recently by Lance Hyche of the Frazier Lanier Company, Inc., an investment banking firm of Montgomery, who could save the town approximately $120,000 if their bond was refinanced through this company. Hyche will be asked to speak at an upcoming meeting before any decision is made.
The next town meeting will be Monday, March 1, at 6 p.m. at the Arley Town Hall.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.