By John Brice
The LaFayette City Council met on Monday, March 13th of 2023 at the Chambers County Farmers Federation Agricultural Center at the ALFA building in LaFayette. In attendance were Mayor Kenneth Vines, Councilman Terry G. Mangram, Councilman David Ennis, Councilman Toney B. Thomas and Councilwoman Tammie B. Williams. Police Chief George Rampey, Fire Chief James Doody, Street, Sanitation and Cemetery Superintendent George Green, City Clerk Louis T. Davidson and City Attorney Joseph M. Tucker were also present. The meeting began with an invocation led by Police Chief George Rampey and standard procedures such as roll call.
First up at the podium was Chris Busby, Deputy Director of the Chambers County Development Authority whose first order of business was as a representative of Valley Haven School on Fairfax Bypass in Valley to request an official proclamation by the city that Saturday April 8th, 2023 be proclaimed as Valley Haven LaFayette Day. On behalf of the Board of Directors at Valley Haven School, Busby expressed his appreciation for the support they have received from the City of LaFayette and assistance from its department heads. Unanimous votes swiftly approved the proclamation.
For Busby the next order of business was to provide the annual report to the city for the CCDA in 2022. It was an extremely active 2022 for the CCDA, one of its busiest years ever after bouncing back from the downtime during the height of the pandemic. Busby noted that the biggest achievement in 2022 was for LaFayette to achieve its Main Street Designation. He thanked Project Manager at the CCDA and Main Street volunteer Ansley Emfinger as well her fellow volunteers. Busby mentioned meeting with Main Street Alabama State Director Mary Helmer Wirth the previous week who made a point to commend the efforts made by LaFayette to revitalize their downtown.
He also made note of the key factor that public grants have assisted in making possible events such as Rockingfest, thanking State Senator Randy Price from District 13 in particular for helping to secure those funds. Grants were also crucial in making possible the construction of an electric vehicle charging station and the OnMed Telehealth center. Looking forward to 2023, Busby anticipates new business openings and more active projects now than ever in the past 8 years that he has been with the CCDA and he anticipates that LaFayette will continue to see growth.
During the Report of Officers segment Councilman Thomas asked Superintendent Green about the status of securing a new riding mower to which Green confirmed that it had been obtained and mentioned ongoing work to develop more for right of ways. Easter 2023 falls on Sunday April 9th which led to the regularly scheduled April 10th council meeting to be rescheduled for April 11th so as to avoid any conflicts with the holiday weekend. Chief Rampey raised the issue of turning in damaged tasers in exchange for credit from the vendor to receive refurbished devices which the motion was unanimously approved.
Clerk Davidson raised the issue of surplus items belonging to the city that are ideally suited to be sold, the motion was approved for that sale date to be set for May 15th. Councilman Mangram brought to the council’s attention a new youth athletic activity program for kids to participate in track events which would be a first for LaFayette. Cooperation is expected with existing programs in neighboring cities and Councilwoman Williams offered to assist with organizing transportation for the sporting events with 60 potential participants expected and the motion was unanimously approved.
Councilman Thomas made note of his efforts to expand recreational activities for youngsters with the wonderful proposal to make use of the facilities at J.P. Powell Middle School which is no longer in operation. Contact with Chambers County School District Superintendent’s office was attempted to request the organizing of youth activities at the dormant location, however, no response has been received as of this time. Councilwoman Williams proposed a motion to go forward with accepting the bid for repairs on the community house, which was the lowest original bid on replacing the air conditioning unit. Repair of fencing off the section of the property adjacent to an area behind the location has been put on hold,
Councilman Mangram noted that to his knowledge the ac unit replacement is the only high priority. Attorney Tucker mentioned that a proposal for UNITE to use the facility must be approved to move forward to which Clerk Davidson clarified that it was UNITE that was holding up the process by reviewing and making sure that the contract for use of the services was to their liking. Councilman Ennis proposed a motion to approve to convey Cemetery Deed 10a through 10d on the agenda which was approved by unanimous vote and subsequently the motion to adjourn was also approved.
City Council proclaims April 8 as Valley Haven Day
By John Brice