Clanton Council discusses importance of grants

Published 9:32 am Friday, May 20, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Securing grants for the city was a reoccurring topic during the Clanton City Council work session on May 19.

Mayor Jeff Mims said the city needs to consider hiring a new grant writer, Cara Stallman. Stallman is the grant writer for the Chilton County Commission.  Mims said she would also assist the city for $24,000 a year.

The current grant writer, who has been unable to really get started because his wife’s health issues, was being paid 10% of the grant amount. However, Mims said the grant writer never secured a grant for the city, so he was never paid.

The mayor said grants are what makes it possible for the city to do large projects.

Chief of Staff Bob Woods said he, Council member Billy Singleton and Debbie Street, executive assistant to the mayor, have also been trying to secure grants for the city. The city recently secured $20,000 for the Senior Center to purchase a deep freeze unit for its Meals on Wheels program.

The city will be receiving some more funding related to COVID-19 legislation. Mims said this could be used as the required matching funds portion of other grants that the city wants to apply for.

“We have applied for nearly $50 million in grant money for the water and sewer plant, the pump station down there,” Mims said. “A lot of these sewer lines and stuff is going to have to be relined, so hopefully we get it.”

Fire Chief David Driver said Stallman had helped the fire department on a grant previously.

Some concerns were discussed because Stallman is with the same company the city had worked with briefly previously but had difficulty getting responses.

A vote on a new grant writer is expected to be made at the May 23 voting session.

Grants were also discussed as a way to upgrade public access defibrillators in the city. Jon Seale of Cardiac Solutions did a presentation on defibrillators for the city, emphasizing that use of the device during a cardiac arrest within three minutes increases the chances of survival by 70% He said a site assessment had determined 19 locations that would be good to have them. A proposal presented to the city council also included having defibrillators in 31 of the police department patrol cars. However, someone trained in how to use the device would need to be onsite to ensure the device was used correctly. Seale said this training would be provided, if the city moved forward with securing the devices. Multiple payment options are available.

The possibility of applying for grants to purchase the equipment, which has an eight-year life span, was discussed.

Seale mentioned that American Rescue Plan Act funds could be used for this. However, Mims said these funds were already committed to upgrade water infrastructure for the city.

Seale also mentioned that the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs had grants available that could be used for this, but there are not many.

Seale said he could give the city some more information on this.

There have been defibrillators in the city previously. However, this equipment is now outdated. If the city upgrades, it can possibly get some money back for the old ones.

This will likely not be decided at the next voting session.

Votes to be considered at the May 23 meeting will include a rezoning request for property next to Cornerstone Fitness from single family to business and updates to the city’s pay classification plan will also considered. Mims said the property owner has requested the council consider suspending the rules to allow the vote to take place in the same meeting as the first reading.

Also during the work session, Mims presented a spec drawing of a 24-foot peach decal he would like to be considered for intersection closest to city hall.

The decal would cost $8,300.