Council to discuss long range plans Friday
by David Atchison
PELL CITY – Officials said Monday night that a special called meeting is planned for the entire day Friday to discuss long-range plans for the city.

The special called council is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. in the conference room in the St. Clair County Economic Development Office at Jefferson State Community College, Pell City campus. The meeting is open and the public is invited to attend.

Officials say they want to develop a long-term plan for the city and discuss financing for future city projects.

The meeting will last until 5 p.m.

City Manager Patrick Draper said there are special guests who will speak to the council throughout the day, including a representative from the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission.

Officials will also discuss city finances with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. about possible refinancing of city debt as well as funding for possible projects, like a new aquatic and recreational center and the expansion of the Cogswell Industrial Park.

“We have things that are under consideration,” Council President James McGowan said after Monday night’s council meeting. “We will listen to our financial advisors and decide whether to go forward or back up and find other ways to proceed.”

McGowan said he hopes the council comes together and decides on a direction as to how to move the city forward in the future.

“The council, any elected official, need to look beyond their four-year term and that is what this meeting is about,” Draper said.

Draper said he hopes to walk away from Friday’s meeting with a better sense of direction as to where the council wants to go.

“That way I can focus all my attention and efforts on those projects,” he said.

At Friday’s special called meeting, state legislators are scheduled to meet with the council about issues pertaining to the city and to provide a legislative update to the council.

Draper said a city of Auburn official will speak to the council about infrastructure and their city’s geographic information system and how the two can work together.

He said project overviews are planned, and department heads will provide updates about their departments.

The meeting will end with general discussion by the mayor, council and city manager.

In other matters at Monday night’s council meeting, the council:

• Tabled work to install lights at the Eden exit.

• Approved to advertise a vacant position on the Pell City Industrial Development Board.

• Accepted the bid submitted by Sunbelt Fire Apparatus of Fairhope for a fire engine at a cost of $362,921. Two other companies submitted lower bids but Fire Chief Mike Burdette told the council those bids did not meet bid specifications. Councilman Terry Templin was the lone councilman to vote “no,” saying the purchase of a new fire truck could wait.

• Approved to allow Pell City resident Ofes Forman to work with the city manager to help determine the feasibility of the city hosting a triathlon.

• Approved to waive the water bill for 34 customers who continue to receive discolored water.

• Went into executive session to discuss possible litigation with Southwest Water Co., which once managed the day-to-day operations of the city’s water department.

• Presented a proclamation recognizing Fire Department Capt. Larry Horton for his 23 years of service with the city’s fire department.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

© 2013