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May 4, 2004

Andalusian elected president of deaf group-2

From: Andalusia Star-News - Andalusia,AL,USA - May 4, 2004

By Jeffery L. Biggs

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Andalusia City Council listened to a citizen's complaint regarding a parking situation on Sixth Avenue, and agreed to look into the issue. The council also recognized three local National Guardsmen who have recently returned from Iraq, and took action on several issues.

The meeting opened by the council hearing from Walter Wytch regarding a no parking zone in his mother's neighborhood on Sixth Ave.

"The city has put a no parking sign in her neighborhood, and my family feels that under that no parking system, she can't have visitors," Wytch said.

Wytch's mother has lived in the neighborhood for 54 years, and said there's never been a sign before.

"Her driveway will only hold three cars, and we feel it is unjust to our mother," he said. "I agree that during school hours people should not park along the street, but during other times, I don't see the need."

Wytch also offered a solution to the parking situation.

"Gentlemen, the solution to this problem is right here," Wytch said as he gave a proposal to the council members and mayor. "By changing the policy to a timed parking restriction - 6 to 8 a.m., and 2 to 4 p.m., on school days, would solve the problem. We ask that you change the 'no parking anytime' policy."

Mayor Earl Johnson said the parking ordinance was enacted by a previous administration, and that no parking ordinances had been implemented in the past three and one-half years under the current administration. Johnson also said the council will meet with the police department and other officials to determine what course of action could be taken to help ease the parking situation to an agreed upon policy.

Following Wytch's comments to the council, three members of the National Guard - Robby Dubose, Brett Collingsworth, and Willie Byrd, Jr. - were recognized by the mayor and council for their service to the United States in Iraq.

Mayor Johnson read a certificate of appreciation to those present at the meeting before presenting each soldier with a plaque honoring their service.

Following the recognition of the soldiers, the council got to business, first addressing unfinished business from previous council meetings.

The first order of business dealt with a request from the Andalusia City School System for a special appropriation to help purchase textbooks for the coming school year.

Johnson said that he had talked with Superintendent Pete Kelley and that more information regarding a specifics of the request would be available by the council's second monthly meeting. The mayor recommended that the board table the discussion until the next meeting, which the council voted unanimously to do.

The council also heard an update from Leisure Services Director Dwight Mikel regarding progress on the Coleman Pool and bids for materials that have been received.

According to Alabama bid laws, items exceeding $7,500 must be competitively bid through a sealed bid process. However, none of the components requiring action Tuesday night exceeded that price. Grant requirements, however, do have a loophole regarding the pricing, and recommend that not more than $7,500 be purchased from one individual.

Again, none of the five components requiring action met that criteria, so the city was able to move forward with the purchase of a filter for the pool from Brock Enterprises for $5,632; a pump from WMS Aquatic Specialist for $2,667.98; a slide from RenoSys Corp. (which was actually a low bidder) for $565; accept the low bid of $1,095 from Recreation Supply Co. for ladders; and accept the low quote of $1,923 from Water Warehouse for lifeguard stands.

Mikel added that work was progressing on the pool, with electrical work underway, and plumbing work scheduled to begin today (Wednesday).

Mikel also updated the council on the progress of the Johnson Park Skate Park. He said that Polyengineering, Inc. of Dothan is scheduled to perform the work, and that construction should be completed within 22 weeks of signing a contract - weather permitting. The council agreed to accept the contract, with details to come.

In new business, the council received a report regarding a Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) audit regarding grant moneys received following flooding in the city in 1998.

"The audit findings said the city 'used funds in accordance to FEMA guidelines,' and that no report or follow-up was necessary," Johnson said. "That's as good a report as you can get."

Johnson commended City Clerk Pam Steele and her staff for compiling the information at a time that wasn't the most convenient.

"The audit was requested at the time we were preparing to move to the new City Hall, so Pam and her staff did an excellent job getting this information to them, along with everything else."

The council also announced vacancies on three boards - Recreation Board, Board of Zoning Adjustments, and Community Enhancement Committee - that need to be filled.

"We encourage anyone interested in filling a spot on one of these boards to come by City Hall and fill out and application," Johnson said.

In other business the council agreed to declare an old garbage truck surplus property so it can be sold, agreed to use $1,256 from the contingency fund for the animal control unit of the police department to purchase additional traps that included eight cat traps, four dog traps, and two animal capture sticks.

The council also agreed to seek proposals from consultants regarding bringing all city ordinances into compliance with the new comprehensive plan.

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