By Adam Pack
Alderson area school bus drivers were present at the Alderson Town Council meeting on Nov. 11 to voice their concerns and propose a solution to a conflict between the operation of buses and parking in and around Memorial Field. According to one concerned bus driver, “At the corner of Virginia and Cedar, we have to turn in there, to pick up and drop off some kids, and parents also do the same. But cars park on the left side, as you go up the hill, and that doesn’t leave us enough room to turn in. Between watching your tail-swing and kids lined up here [in front of the buses] and we would like a simple sign saying something like ‘no parking during school hours,’ that way it doesn’t affect anything like parking for the football field or anything.” Bus drivers appreciate the work of the Alderson Police and asking people to move their vehicles, “but you get a lot of people dropping their kids off to get on the buses for the middle school and high school, so there are a lot of people and it’s dark, it’s dangerous.”
While the bus drivers present agreed that all they needed was “a sign or some yellow paint or something,” Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver informed them that their concerns were already under consideration.
“I can actually give the whole street there during the time you’re supposed to pickup, because the original traffic map has that area designated as ‘school personnel and limited visitor parking.’ That was done when the community center was the Junior High and the street was never painted accordingly and the signs were never put up.” Copenhaver mentioned that this dovetails well with work around the entire school zone that the city has been planning to do. As a result, Mayor Copenhaver vowed to secure signs which could read something to the effect of “No Parking 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.; Limited Parking School Hours.”
The council also heard updates on various pieces of business, including action relating to the Jansen Pharmaceuticals settlement as part of the wider opioid settlement. At the council’s last meeting, suits against four major pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers were dropped as part of the settlement reached between the aforementioned parties and the State’s Attorney General. The Council elected to sustain any actions further against Jansen Pharmaceuticals as part of a statewide settlement totaling $99 million. The council approved that measure without further discussion.
The council also addressed the final change order and final contract amount for the completion of the Flat Mountain Flood/Stormwater upgrades. The final amount, $186,292.80, included unplanned concrete work, to which Mayor Copenhaver explained, “Two vertical feet doesn’t sound like much, but two vertical feet means a huge difference when you’re working at elevation.” There was also a day’s worth of fuel consumption added, which accounts for the use of vehicles and idle time. This was the final and only change order on this project and thus this total amount is final.
There were no new updates on the water plant relocation project, but regarding the water lines project, Copenhaver reported that it is “on track.” He went on to explain that the “[Army] Corps of Engineers submitted their [paperwork] and the process is for permits to go through to IJDC and a couple of other permitting agencies.” By spring the water lines project should be ready to bid.
Ann Eskins of the Parks and Recreation Department came forward to ask that the council reappoint Holly Gore to her term that runs through 2028, and to approve Herbert Burdette to be new Parks and Recreation commissioner for the remainder of Roy Bennet’s term, which would be Dec. 2026. These actions of the board of Parks and Recreation were approved by the council.
The council also addressed year-end incentives for city employees. Mayor Copenhaver reported, “We’ve got the least amount of vacation cash-out that we’ve had in years. We usually average 1,500 [hours] but this year there were only 400 hours cashed for the end of the year.” Copenhaver went on to explain that the city has been diligently working to rectify issues with sales tax remittances, both with businesses which have not appropriately remitted sales tax and one business which did but did not need to, and “will be getting a check for that. However, sales tax remittance is not optional, and those businesses which have not are going to get nasty letters from the state tax office.” That being said, given the first quarter sales tax remittances received by the city and the low number of PTO cashed out, Copenhaver felt that, “I think that we can afford whatever [the council] wants to do.” Thus the motion was made that city employees get $500 in year-end bonus. The measure was approved.
The Alderson Town Council meets on the second Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Council Chamber of the Alderson City Building. The public is encouraged to attend.