Some issues arise over Blues Festival
by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA — The recent announcements concerning the “Hip Swingin’ Blues Festival” at the Ben Bruner Sports Complex may have been slightly premature.

The City Council’s agenda Monday night included a user agreement for the Ben Bruner Sports Complex, the venue for the festival, and Diedra and the Ruff Pro Band and the Harvest Center Group as sponsors. In the agreement, the city agreed to waive the user fees for the complex, but according to City Manager Brian Muenger and Parks and Recreation Director Stacy Jones, some other items need to be addressed first.

Perhaps the most pressing item is a lack of insurance, Muenger said. Jones reported to the council that the sponsors were working on this item to get it resolved as soon as possible.

The city will also require some security arrangements, a business license, an agreement to collect taxes on sales, and an understanding that alcohol will not be allowed.

Early posters for the event encouraged patrons to bring a cooler, but alcohol will not be allowed inside the complex, and coolers will have to be checked on the way in for security purposes.

No representatives of either sponsor were present, but Jones said he believed the issues would be resolved. The council and Muenger were otherwise receptive and positive about the event.

During the same meeting, the council also voted 4-1 to extend a tax abatement for Precision Strip for an expansion project that had gone on longer than initially expected. The original abatement was for $9 million, while the company and Talladega County Economic Development Authority Director Calvin Miller asked that be adjusted to $10.2 million, to reflect the actual cost of the project.

Councilman Donnie Miller cast the dissenting vote, largely because of damage done to city streets by heavy trucks going to the plant. Miller said that taxpayers, and his constituents particularly, were left with either lousy roads or the bills to fix them.

A Precision Strip spokesman said most of the trucks belonged to contractors, not the company, and that both the company and the contractors had been told to take the new 275 Bypass.

He told Miller that if anyone saw a green truck driving toward Precision Strip on a city street to take down the truck’s number and call Miller or the company.

Also Monday, the council:

• Heard a presentation from District Attorney Steve Giddens on the recent accomplishments of the Talladega County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. The city provides officers and funding for the task force.

• Heard a request for a guard rail on Old Shocco Road.

• Announced that back to school parties would be held in Westgate and Edythe Sims Park Aug. 17.

• Appointed Laura Beavers, Brian Gann, Zachary Dollar and Hugh Morris to the Board of Adjustments.

• Approved a home business license for a day care center on Mount Olive Circle.

• Announced that bids were being let to remove four derailed train cars near the entrance to Bemiston.

• Approved an adjustment to the AT&T tower at Stone Hill that will eventually bring 4G service to the city.

• Approved minor changes to voting districts.

• Approved a four way stop at the intersection of Coosa and Court Streets.

• Approved $300 for the 10 and Under Girls All-Star team to go to the state tournament.

• Approved $130 for a full-page ad in the Talladega High School football program.

• Approved an agreement to cover $68,208 for material and shipping for CSX to install rubberized railroad crossings all over town.

• Heard Mayor Larry Barton and all of the council members congratulate Police Chief Alan Watson on his career of public service and upcoming retirement.

Contact Chris Norwood at

© 2013