Town appoints new utilities board members (updated)

Published 9:56 pm Monday, June 9, 2014

The Maplesville Town Council approved two new members for the town’s utilities board Monday.

Chad Brewer and Bill Pearce were each appointed to serve a six-year term on the board.

In May, the council tabled a decision regarding whom to approve for the open positions after hearing from Maplesville Utilities Board member Bernard Laister, who recommended two current board members, Michael Morrow and Johnny Higginbotham, for reappointment.

The council decided more time was needed to review all candidates interested in the positions.

The utilities board has five members, each of whom serve six-year terms that are staggered to allow the board to consistently have at least one or two veteran members who are familiar with how the board operates.

Upon members’ completion of their terms, the council may either approve to reappoint the two current members to another six-year term or to appoint new members. The board appoints its own chairman.

The council discussed the matter again Monday before voting on the appointments.

Councilwoman Sheila Hall asked why the board’s open positions are not posted prior to when the council has to appoint or reappoint members.

Hall and other council members said they thought openings on the board should be posted for several months to let people know they are available.

Mayor W.C. Hayes said he would talk to town attorney Hollis Jackson about how the council could update the policy regarding the appointment of utilities board members.

Council members Hal Harrison, Hilda Atchison, Richard Davis and Patty Crocker voted in favor of Brewer and Pearce being appointed to the utilities board.

Hall abstained from the vote after expressing disapproval for the current process of appointing board members.

The council also approved for the Maplesville Volunteer Fire Department to use the Atchison house for training purposes before its demolition.

The town owns the house, which is located next to the fire department.

“Before it gets torn down, we would like to do some training in it,” Fire Chief Michael Drewry said.

The fire department recently obtained a $228,000 grant for a 2,000-gallon tanker, Drewry said.

The town must provide a $12,000 match plus grant writer fees.

“We’re proud of y’all,” Hayes said to Drewry about his department. “You don’t get a grant unless you deserve it. I’d like to say thank you to y’all, and anyone who was involved in the grant.”

Drewry asked the council for permission for 10–12 fire department members to undergo EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator Course) training for $35 per person, as well as physicals from Dr. Lucille Collins in Maplesville for $85 per person.

Drewry said the town might be able to obtain a separate grant to cover training expenses if training and physicals are completed within 30 days.

Hayes said he would check on whether the town could get a lower rate for members’ physicals.

The council approved for fire department members to go through training and physicals and to pay fees not covered by grant funding.

In other business, Drewry said the Insurance Services Office visited the department for an inspection and evaluation of the department’s equipment and coverage.

The department will receive a new ISO rating, which is used to determine homeowner’s insurance premiums, in the next four–six months.

“The visit actually went well,” Drewry said. “The rating shouldn’t go up. It might go down a point.”

Drewry said the department could receive a rating of 6 inside the city limits and 9 outside, based on a 1–9 scale, with 1 being the best in terms of coverage.

The next ISO visit will be in five years.

Assistant EMS Chief Christine Epperson said she and Drewry would offer a free CPR class for town employees in the next couple of months, after which they plan to offer a separate CPR class to the public.

For the police department, Hayes said he was in the process of obtaining a borrowed bulletproof vest from the Clanton Police Department for Maplesville officers to test so they can decide whether to order the same vests.

In February, the council authorized Chief Todd Ingram to start gathering information on new vests for the department.

Assistant Chief Scott Conner reported to the council that his patrol car collided with a deer while on duty on U.S. 82 East, and Town Clerk Dawn Smitherman is researching quotes on repairing the damage.

For the street and garbage department, Street Superintendent Kenny Barrett gave the animal control monthly report, which included five calls, three of which were dogs Barrett picked up and took to the Chilton County Humane Society. Of the three dogs, two were strays and one was owner surrender.

Another call was about an armadillo digging under rabbit cages, and another one was about a potential snake sighting.

Barrett said he has been subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness in a case he assisted county law enforcement with regarding a pit bull ring.

Along with serving as street superintendent and head of the garbage department, Barrett is the town’s animal control officer and assistant fire chief.

Crocker said Barrett should receive additional pay for his town duties increasing in multiple departments.

“I think he should get extra compensation,” Crocker said. “If it can be fit in the budget, it’s just my opinion that he get another raise.”

The council did not take action on the matter Monday and agreed to discuss it at a future meeting.

In other business, the council:

•Approved minutes from a regular meeting May 12 and a special meeting June 2.

•Approved the monthly financial report and to pay monthly bills, including town hall roof repairs totaling $2,180.

•Approved Court Clerk Cindy Brown’s warrant report for May. The town started the month with 832 outstanding warrants, ended with 822 outstanding warrants, issued nine warrants, recalled nine warrants and served 10 warrants.

The town collected $150 from the Safe Streets Act, bringing the total for the year to $625.

Brown said town hall has averaged 250 computer users per month lately, perhaps partially due to adding two computers and an increase in people enrolling for healthcare coverage online.

“Just be aware that traffic in town hall is picking up,” Brown said. “An average of 100 more a month, I think, is significant for as small as we are.”

•Approved demolition of the Brown Brothers building (nearby power lines will not be harmed) and Atchison house (after fire department uses it for training).

•Approved to give Chilton County Transit $500 for 2015. This is a yearly budgeted item for the town.

•Approved a three-month, 25-cent raise for Town Clerk Dawn Smitherman.