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Annexation, industrial park, garbage bumped by board

A scheduled June 10 meeting to discuss annexation and newindustrial park issues was postponed, and a decision onprivatization of garbage services is possible at the next cityboard meeting, aldermen decided Tuesday.

After Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill raised a church-relatedconflict with next Tuesday’s meeting time, other board membersdecided to postpone the gathering. The meeting with city annexationconsultants and a bond issue attorney was called to talk aboutannexation plans and how they would relate to a request for thecity to seek an up to $2.2 million bond issue to help purchase landand develop a new industrial park.

A new meeting date was not determined.

City Attorney Joe Fernald said he would contact annexationconsultants Mike Slaughter and Demery Grubbs and bond attorneyRandy Wall to come up with three possible dates. A final date wouldthen be coordinated with the mayor’s and aldermen’s schedules.

“The problem is going to be finding a date where everyone can bethere,” Fernald said.

In other pending city action, Mayor Bill Godbold said garbageconsultant Butch Lambert would be at the next regular board meetingon June 17. He said the board could decide then whether toprivatize garbage services.

“We’ll have a better idea what we’re going to do,” Godboldsaid.

Godbold stressed that the reason the board was consideringgiving up garbage services is labor-related.

“We cannot find people that have a qualified Class B(commercial) driver’s license,” Godbold said. “That’s the mainreason.”

Godbold also acknowledged that city equipment is old and wornout, but he did not elaborate.

“If we get out, we can’t ever get back in,” Godbold said,estimating it would cost $2 million to purchase new equipment ifthe city restarted garbage services.

Annexation, garbage services and other city matters were on themind of a former alderman who made a brief appearance at Tuesdaynight’s meeting.

Former Alderman-at-large L. Ralph Smith questioned how the citycould provide services to an annexation area that is three times aslarge as the current city limits yet generates only a fraction ofthe revenue. He also questioned the proposed Multi-ModalTransportation Facility by saying more liability was being put oncitizens instead of city officials making use of existingfacilities.

There was no response from the board and Smith left themeeting.

Also Tuesday, Recreation Department Director Terry Reid updatedaldermen on estimated costs should the board decide to pursue a newswimming pool.

“It’s not a pretty sight,” Reid said.

Reid’s data showed four communities that have closed their poolsand two others operating theirs at a net loss.

“Everybody I’ve talked to says you can’t afford a pool,” Reidsaid.

Pool construction estimates put the cost of a pool at $210,00 to$290,000, plus an additional $5,000 in insurance premiums. Reidalso mentioned difficulty in finding and training lifeguards.

Instead of operating a pool for 10 weeks a year, Reid advocatedusing the money to build a community center that could be usedyear-round.

Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates maintained his support for apool.

“What I’m concerned about is teaching people how to swim,” saidBates, who added that he does not know how to swim.

Reid said the department could build whatever facility isdesired as long as the city board provides the funds. There were nodecisions made regarding the pool issue Tuesday.