Apartment complex files suit against city
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA — Creekside Apartments has filed a lawsuit against the city after it was twice denied a certificate of exception from the city’s mandatory garbage disposal service, City Clerk Patricia Carden announced at a City Council work session Monday.

Owner Hiliary Henderson previously addressed the council about the issue, saying he could save $12,000 a year using his own disposal service.

“The cost I pay now is approximately $1,200 to $1,300 a month,” he said. “For the exact same service, if I were to take care of it myself through Veolia (Environmental Services) or whoever else, it would be approximately $250.”

The city’s ordinance requires every residence to participate in the service “unless proof can be provided that they have secured a disposal permit through the Health Department as provided by law.” Henderson said he had taken the necessary steps for a Certificate of Exception from the Alabama Department of Public Health and only needed the city’s OK to obtain it.

The council denied Henderson’s request at its July 5 and July 16 meetings. Then council president Mayor Jim Heigl said the city has an exclusive contract with Veolia and would have to pick up Creekside’s costs until the contract ran out at the end of next year if they granted the exemption. The city also feared other apartment complexes would follow suit.

Also at Monday’s work session, Larry Norquest of Eastern Alabama Railways said a $1.5 million federal grant has been approved and work should soon begin to relocate the downtown railroad interchange that has long been a traffic headache for residents.

“I’ve been here 18 years, and I know it’s been a problem, so thank you to the city for applying for this grant to take care of it,” Norquest said.

He said they hope work can be done within six months, but the grant allows for up to a year. The interchange will be moved about two miles west.

“It’s going to be good for all of us; there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

Also Monday, the city held a public hearing for owners of about 50 nuisance properties that are slated to be demolished using federal grant money. About half the owners provided consent forms, and the others can attend another hearing on Oct. 26. Demolition will begin no sooner than 10 days after the upcoming hearing.

Also at the work session:

• Patricia Carden said there is $10,000 left in the budget for the paving project, which the city would like to use to finish paving that was started at two locations.

• Police Chief Chris Carden announced the following promotions: Kelley Johnson to captain, Willis Whatley to lieutenant and Mike Moore and Renea Cummings to sergeant.

• The Council discussed selling four pallets of tile from the East Highland School valued at $30 each. Councilman Ken Horn asked that the decision be carried over to the incoming council.

• Finance officer Karen Beane said the city came in at 103 percent of its projected revenue for the previous fiscal year. Most city departments were 3 to 5 percent under budget, she said.

The council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Contact Emily Adams at eadams@dailyhome.com.

© 2012