By Adam Pack
The Alderson Town Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alderson City Hall Building.
The first item of business was the consideration of an application for a USDA grant in the amount of $50,000. The grant would go towards the purchase of a new dump truck for the city. Mayor Travis Copenhaver described the current truck as having “issues with the hydraulics, as well as issues with the frame on the bed. It was used very heavily last summer and has been this summer as well.”
The new truck, however, will cost more than the grant covers. “The grant of $50,000 will only cover about one third of the cost of the truck.” Copenhaver explained, however, this is roughly the amount that this particular grant always pays out, and there are still ARPA funds left, as well as money in the water, sewer, and street funds to cover the remaining two thirds of the cost.
The city has utilized USDA grants to purchase numerous police cars, a backhoe, a sewer truck, and a plow truck in the past, and Mayor Copenhaver wrapped up discussion on the topic by saying, “We’ve had great success with these grants over the last nine years.” The council approved the submission of the grant unanimously.
The council also discussed proposed renovations to Railroad Avenue. Mayor Copenhaver brought before the council for their consideration a plan to remove the bricks from that street, remove the tree roots and stumps which are causing uneven places in the street, and ultimately replacing those bricks with concrete.
“Our risk management board has declared that street a safety hazard due to the unevenness created by tree roots and the bricks on that street,” said Copenhaver. “The main problem is that all those bricks are just sitting on sand. That fact has caused our insurance agency to say that they won’t cover that.” The other issue with that portion of street are the truncated domes. “Those domes were put in by a contractor for the [Department of Highways.] I contacted the DOH and they were uninterested in working on those. The issue with them is that they get hit by the plow when it snows, and then water melts and gets under the dome and refreezes, causing expansion and movement [problems.] It’s also a trip hazard.” On the subject of payment, Copenhaver explained that there are still ARPA funds available, as this is a project to “improve public safety and welfare.”
In other news, the council approved the placement of Timothy Gwinn to fill the planning commission position left vacant by Justin Palmer. His term would have ended in August 2024. Gwinn volunteered to serve at the meeting of the last planning commission. His placement was approved by the council, along with the re-appointment of Steven Cadle and Alex Battle. “Timothy’s son Timmy served on the planning commission, and did an admirable job when he was there and we hope that it carries through with his dad,” said Copenhaver.
The council also discussed an amendment to the invoices associated with the Spring Street renovation project, and was informed by the mayor that the water plant has moved into the design phase with representatives of the Thrasher Group and engineers at the Illinois based plant where it is being constructed working collaboratively. The council adopted the hazard mitigation plan contractor contracts, which are documents that all contracting service providers have to sign before beginning work on the hazard mitigation plan project. The contract stipulates that the undersigned contractors will abide by federal guidelines, including abiding by equal employment and diversity, equity, and inclusion regulations.
Lastly, the city approved an amendment to the Police Department Policy, Policy 007-009, which involves the seizure of cash associated with the collection of evidence during the investigation of a crime. As of now, any cash seized in the process of investigating a crime is held physically by the city. On the advice of the state auditor’s office and the state police’s auditor, the city will be establishing a bank account in which cash can be deposited. Mayor Copenhaver noted that this was essentially a safer and more modern way of handling cash seized as part of a criminal investigation.