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Clanton Council to fill vacant seat

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Clanton City Council will officially announce a vacancy for District 3 at its voting session on Feb. 8.

Former Councilman Sammy Wilson died on Jan. 28 due to COVID-19 complications.

The Council has 60 days to approve someone to the position, or it will go to Gov. Kay Ivey to select an appointee.

Each of the Council members have the opportunity to submit a name of someone living in the district to fill the vacancy.

Nominations are expected to be discussed at the last meeting this month.

The process was discussed during a work session on Feb. 4.

During the Feb. 4 meeting, Mayor Jeff Mims gave an update on discussions with Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center about buying or leasing a city-owned house. Mims said a survey had been completed on the property, and he was planning on having an appraisal done before the Council discussed possible financial arrangements.

Allowing alcohol sales on Sundays is expected to be discussed in detail in the near future.

“I would like to see us get this passed,” Mims said. “The main reason is for recruiting businesses in town.”

If approved, this would allow sale for consumption on the premises at restaurants, in addition to sales in retail establishments, such as grocery stores.

Mims said some cities that already have this in place allow the sales to begin at noon.

“Because the city is already wet, it would just take a resolution to allow the alcohol sales on Sunday,” City Clerk Jonathan Seale said.

How to handle COVID -19 related sick pay was also discussed. Seale said the city had been giving employees 10 days, while it was required by the federal government. This was eligible for reimbursement under the CARES Act funding and did not count against an employee’s usual allotment of sick pay. However, the city missed the deadline to apply for reimbursement, so the funds were paid by the city.

The federal government is now leaving it up to local governments to choose what to do, now that CARES Act funding for reimbursement is no longer available.

Council members Billy Singleton and Mary Mell Smith expressed financial concerns at continuing to pay for 10 days, particularly for those who may have been exposed but did not get tested.

Councilman Wade Watley asked if employees would be required to provide proof that they had been tested.

Requiring a positive test to receive the 10 days was discussed, with the possibility of giving two days for those who had been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 but have not been tested.

Having employees use their regular sick time was discussed. However, Smith said some employees have already used all of the paid sick days available to them.

The potential for employees to abuse the system was also discussed.

Seale said he would bring a resolution to the Council at a later date. The Council asked that records of time off related to COVID-19 be kept.