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Council finds additional $808,000 to improve streetscapes throughout downtown


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – While a 12-mile, $4 million paving project throughout the City of Sylacauga began on Monday, the council approved more than $808,000, thanks in part to TAP Grant funds, for improvements and renovations to more downtown streets.

In a 5-0 vote, the council approved a resolution authorizing Engineering Design Technologies, Inc. (EDT, Inc.) to apply for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Grant funds in 2019 and 2020 to be used to continue the downtown streetscape project.

Changes would be made by making ADA improvements and renovations to the parking areas on the west side of Hwy. 21 between 2nd and 3rd St. and between 1st and 2nd St. through the 2019 TAP program. Future plans will include the parking area on the east side of Hwy. 21 between 1st and 2nd St. and improvements to Norton Ave. including pedestrian and bicycle enhancements along with pedestrian lighting enhancements through the 2020 TAP program.

The total cost for the project is $808,024.50.

The grant funds will provide an 80% reimbursement of up to $640,000.00 with a local match estimated at $227,748.05 plus $67.748.05 for ineligible items including $59,723.55 preliminary engineering fees.

The council also:

  • Approved first quarter financial statement as presented during the work session on April 17. (5-0)
  • Accepted transfer and authorized payment of ongoing monthly utility charges for the former Mountainview Elementary School (5-0)
  • Approved travel expenses for newly hired police officer Zachery Pearson to attend training. Total cost $2,257.00. (5-0)
  • Approved travel expenses for SPD Chief Kelley Johnson and Rondell Muse to attend training May 24-25. (5-0)

Before the work session, prior to the council meeting, the council heard from the last school board candidate, Joe Hogan. Hogan was absent from the first round of interviews two weeks ago when the council interviewed Ben Bailey and current board member Melissa Garris. Garris has served on the board for five years. Bailey, a retired teacher interviewed for his first time. Hogan’s lengthily monologue was delivered to the council with notecards in-hand covering topics from hiring the right teachers to social media to seeing a system with that teachers can speak anonymously. The council was to vote on the BOE appointments Tuesday night but postponed until the next regularly-scheduled meeting to accurately consider all applicants.

Council president Lee Perryman opened the work session by noting there will be a Republican Party Reception on Thursday, May 10 at 5:30 p.m. at J. Craig Smith Community Center. Gov. Kay Ivey will be in attendance and will address the audience. On Wednesday morning, Congressman Mike Rogers will have a special presentation to the Sylacauga Aggie Boys Basketball Team for its 5A State Championship.

The council also heard from SPD Chief Johnson on an E-911 contract addendum regarding a revamp of the city’s emergency response equipment. Johnson said improvements would allow repetitious dispatches with enhanced features including GPS to show where patrol vehicles are in the area. He said the current laptops and tablets do not have adequate space to run the programs and is working on a presentation for next fiscal year for new vehicles and equipment.

Sylacauga Fire Chief Adam Gardner discussed the possibility of lowering the City’s ISO rating if there is an Automatic Aid Agreement with other fire departments in the area. Gardner said in Sylacauga would have to train and respond in some capacity with other area companies.

Consulting engineer Mike Rice addressed the council during the work session and the council meeting. Rice is overseeing the road paving project and said workers are “scattered like ants all over the city right now.” He said the work that started on Monday is already ahead of schedule.

The council discussed a more than $3,000 water bill it received surrounding the newly renovated baseball field.

In February, the council met with representatives of Sylacauga Little League to discuss its plans for a future lease relationship. The council received incorporation papers from Sylacauga Little League which were filed with the Secretary of State’s office on March 1 and finished last Friday. The papers included an agreement with Sylacauga Little League Softball. The council said the agreement between Sylacauga Little League and Sylacauga Little League Softball will need to be modified to mirror the terms and agreement the City has with Sylacauga Little League removing the one-year clause.

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