The November 4 meeting of the City Council was preceded by a work session with Chris Busby and Valerie Gray of the Chambers County Development Authority, to address the planned closing of the Kardoes Rubber Company plant, followed by a discussion about the types of businesses that are wanted or needed in LaFayette.
Mr Busby suggested that the CCDA representatives come to the Council meeting quarterly in order to increase the interaction between the CCDA and the Council. He reminded everyone about the Main Street Alabama meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 5:00 PM. All are invited, not just LaFayette residents. Mr. Busby spoke on some of the development activity going on in the City.
Ms. Gray discussed the Kardoes event and told the Council about the activity that the CCDA had initiated in support of the Kardoes employees and the City. There will be a job fair on Nov. 7 for Kardoes employees, and it is important for Kardoes employees to remain at work until dismissed, so as to receive full benefits from various sources. She also stated that there is a strong demand for workers and that 10 or 15 companies had called her to inquire about hiring Kardoes employees. The President of Southern Union State College has also promised action to bring companies in to recruit Kardoes employees.
Mr. Busby then spoke, emphasizing the importance of retaining the Kardoes employees in LaFayette, and then talked about which retail businesses might be suitable for LaFayette. A hotel, dry cleaners and perhaps clothing stores for men and women were mentioned by council members. Mayor Moody suggested that some small towns had found niches, producing things that are not to be found at Walmart or Dollar stores, Councilmember Blasingame added craft souvenirs, while Councilman Thomas added a Waffle House, for 24 hour food service that would attract early morning and late night traffic.
Mr. Busby and the Council then discussed a 1 cent municipal sales tax. Councilmen Ellis and Thomas are in favor, and Mr. Busby said that his opinion was that it would not hurt as far as attracting business. Mr. Thomas suggested that the Council put in effect a sales tax with a clear statement that the income be committed to a specific need, and be careful to follow through on that commitment. The Council then went into executive session to discuss competitive efforts to attract business.
Once the Regular Council Meeting was called to order, the invocation was followed by the approval of the minutes of the October 28, 2019 Regular Council Meeting.
Next, Mrs. Nell Finley Presented a discussion of the Recreation Board and Parks and Recreation Youth League. Mrs Finley began by informing those present that LaFayette had two teams (5 & 6 year olds and 11 & 12 year olds) in the Peewee League Championship Finals to be played at Ladonia on Nov. 9, one game at 9:00AM and one at 12:00 noon. She distributed a copy of Ordinance #317, passed April 23, 1990, that establishes the Recreation Board. She pointed out that the Ordinance allocates certain authority and responsibilities to the Board, and asked the Council to confirm such authority as the Board’s ability to prepare an annual budget and, with the concurrence of the council, to hire a recreation director and other staff members, as well as to adopt rules and regulations for the use of land, buildings, equipment, etc. Councilmen Thomas and Ellis pointed out that they had both supported the appointment of a recreation director, and suggested means to obtain additional funds for the recreation budget. Mrs Finley responded that every city around us has a Parks & Recreation Director. She also pointed out that there is an advisory board for the new 52-acre park and asked that the relationship of the Recreation Board and this advisory board be defined. After some discussion, Mayor Moody and City Attorney “Mac” Tucker said that the Recreation board should meet with the Council’s Recreation Committee (Chairman Toney Thomas, Neal McCurdy, and Mike Ellis), presenting their budget, candidate for Recreation Director, recommendations for changes to the ordinance, etc. in preparation for consideration by the full Council.
Councilwoman Blasingame reported that Trick or Treat was a great success, with 100 youngsters participating.
The Council next considered the transfer of the Retail Beer, Retail Table Wine and Tobacco licenses to Chirag Patel, the new owner of the Pacecar gas station at the corner of LaFayette St. S. and 2nd. Ave, SE. City Attorney “Mac” Tucker asked if there had been a background check on Mr. Patel since there was none included in the packet. In the absence of the report, the Council did not act on the request.
The Council voted unanimously to pay bills in the amount of $100,161.27.
The Council passed unanimously the second reading of Ordinance No. 457, making official the change in the utility delinquent cutoff date for November from the 27th. to the 22nd. The purpose is to avoid problems for both citizens and City Staff due to the Thanksgiving holidays.
The Council then addressed the one nuisance property on the agenda: Timothy Vines & Antoinette D. Vines 3rd Avenue N.E., Along 3rd Avenue N.E., LaFayette, Alabama — Parcel # 12 12 01 12 3 001 048.000. The resolution declaring this property to be a nuisance, No. 2019-05-13-08, was tabled in the May 13 Council Meeting to allow new owners, Williams & Sheila Davenport, to decide what to do with the property. Action was again postponed in the August 12 meeting to allow time for the Davenports to get the results of an asbestos test. The Davenports have decided that the building cannot be saved and are in the process of deciding how to accomplish its demolition. The Council granted another 60 days to accomplish the task.
One Replacement Deed for the LaFayette City Cemetery was approved: Deed # 1525 to Thomas Nick Lamb. Videos of City Council meetings are available at www.lafayetteforcitizens.org.