Council accepts $1.2 million energy project
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA —The City Council voted 5-0 to accept a $1.2 million energy upgrade proposal from Trane at its meeting Tuesday night.

The project, which will essentially pay for itself in energy savings over a 20-year period, includes upgrading the Municipal Complex with energy-efficient lighting, HVAC controls and settings, three new air handlers, conversion to a variable air volume system, two high-efficiency boilers, two new hot water and chilled water pumps, new mechanical room piping and valves, rooftop package heat pumps for Fire Station No. 1 and a split heat pump system for the Police Annex. Other improvements are a chiller, boiler and pumps at the J. Craig Smith Center and upgraded lighting and programmable thermostats throughout designated city buildings.

The council’s acceptance of the project is, however, contingent upon finalization of financing. Trane is gathering options from five to six companies to present to the council, likely at its next regular work session. Included in the same financing package will be $500,000 for a new fire truck and possibly additional funds for the purchase of a new street sweeper. Formal action of the council will be required to initiate Trane’s work and authorize financial transactions for the project once the preferred finance option is selected.

The council also unanimously adopted a resolution supporting passage of the “School Safety Act” by the state legislature. The act proposes a public vote on whether to raise property tax in Talladega and Calhoun counties to fund the placement of a School Resource police officer in each public school as well as the purchase of upgraded radio systems used to communicate with schools and other first responders. The projected referendum will be held by special ballot in June.

In other business, the council:

• Read into the minutes Mayor Doug Murphree’s appointment of Marvin Miller to the Sylacauga Housing Authority Board for a five-year term ending February 3, 2018.

• Rescheduled its regular May 20 work session May 21 at 5:30 p.m. and its May 21 meeting May 22 at 6 p.m. due to a conflict with the Alabama League of Municipalities convention.

• Approved an update to the E-911 interagency contract with the Talladega County Emergency Management Communication District for centralized and consolidated dispatch of emergency service responders for the county. The update includes minor verbiage changes, modifications to allow up to a 3 percent increase in fees over the prior calendar year and the addition of the Town of Munford to the agreement. Other participants are Talladega County, Childersburg, Lincoln and Talladega.

• Accepted donation of the “Sylacauga Emerging” marble sculpture commissioned by Craigger Browne from the Sylacauga Arts Council. The sculpture was placed on the front lawn of City Hall and dedicated in August 2012 and is estimated at a $75,000 value by Little House Art Galleries in Hoover.

• Authorized expenditures estimated at $3,500 for street repairs to correct drainage issues on Jackson Avenue and Quarry Road near Marion Avenue.

• Approved $975 to Hadden Electric to replace and redirect the existing dusk-to-dawn light at Comer Arts Museum and install a 250-watt flood light near the museum sidewalk to illuminate the rear sidewalk and steps.

• Approved a $400 fee for City Attorney Edwin Livingston to attend the “Legal Issues Facing City and County Governments” seminar in Orange Beach May 3-4, and approved $225 each for Fire Lt. Don Blair and firefighter Josh Forbus to attend Firefighter II training in Tuscaloosa on the weekends from March 23-April 21.

• Authorized payments totaling $108,845.85 for balance of accounts payable and $381,521.72 for payrolls for February. Also approved all checks, transfers and financial statements for February.

• Heard Chamber of Commerce Director Carol Bates announce there is still time for restaurants to participate in “Taste of Sylacauga” April 11. Bates also encouraged citizens to attend the “Celebrate Sylacauga” block party April 13 featuring a concert by award-winning local songwriter Troy Jones, free food, activities and vendors.

• Heard Councilman Tom Roberts announce a 50th anniversary celebration at the Lee Merkel Field Airport Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. with aircraft displays, classic cars and more.

• Heard Murphree commend the Utilities Board and Street Department for their assistance last week when sewage backup occurred at Legion Stadium. Thanks to their swift work, the high school soccer team was able to continue its scheduled games, he said.

The next regular council meeting is April 3 at 9 a.m. at City Hall. A called work session is set for March 25 at 4 p.m. to interview board applicants.

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© 2013