Hanceville council votes to pursue accreditation as an Alabama Community of Excellence; reports from fire and police

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W.C. Mann

HANCEVILLE – The Hanceville City Council met Thursday evening, with Mayor Kenneth Nail and all council members present.  During its session, the council voted to apply for status as an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE). 

The ACE website (www.alabamacommunitiesofexcellence.org) defines the organization as "Partners working together to provide Alabama communities with the community development programs and tools needed to ensure their long term success."  ACE is a wide-ranging program that looks at and seeks to develop numerous aspects of its members’ communities, including:

*community leadership and engagement

*leadership development

*vision and strategic planning

*comprehensive planning

*economic strategy

*infrastructure

*organizational structure

*community information and marketing

*existing business retention and expansion program

*commercial/retail business development and tourism

*amenities and aesthetics to promote quality of life

*education/workforce/school system

*healthcare

*public safety/emergency services

ACE focuses on communities with populations between 2,000 and 18,000, and has a competitive admission policy.  Nail stated that ACE communities tend to have a much better chance of getting grants, and that the status helps with business recruiting.  After further discussion of ACE benefits, and with volunteers in place offering to assist with admission and grant applications, the council passed a motion to pursue ACE accreditation.

Fire and police reports

In other business, the council received reports from Fire Chief Roger Green and Police Chief Bob Long.

Green reported that the Hanceville Fire Department has so far this year responded to 80 medical calls, nine fire calls and six motor vehicle incidents, for a total of 95 calls.  He also noted the department started a volunteer firefighter certification (160 certification) course last week, with seven trainees from Hanceville and 10 trainees from other local departments.  The class meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and one Saturday per month.

Long gave his department's annual report for 2016, indicating 668 police reports filed, 560 arrests, 2,122 traffic and non-traffic citations, 143 vehicles towed and a total dispatch center call volume of 24,692.

Budget and finance

After discussion about the cost and source of funding for a chair for the dispatch desk (Long pointed out that the chair purchased comes with a lifetime warranty that will make it cost less in the long run than the regular replacement of cheaper chairs the office has been using.), the council voted to pay all city bills without further discussion.

Nail also reported that a bank accounts balance sheet has been distributed, and that the 2017 budget was amended on Jan. 12.  These were reports, and were not subject to votes.  The balance sheet shows that Hanceville has total current assets of $490,643.54.

Cemetery Rehabilitation Authority

The council took up discussion from the last meeting about the creation of an entity to oversee cleanup and conservation activities at two area cemeteries not being overseen by churches or other groups.

Nail reported that the portion of the Watson Cemetery (near the Pavilion Apartments) that belonged to the Mississippi-based Thrash Group has changed hands.  Owner Ike Thrash, according to the mayor, was prepared to sign the cemetery over to the City; but the new owner Steve Shore will now have to give approval.  Shore has shown willingness to give up the cemetery site, and his attorney and City Attorney Dan Willingham will communicate on details.

Another portion of the cemetery site is on the property of another owner.  Long has reached out to that person (not named), and is awaiting a response.

Nail reported that he had spoken to Raymond Johns about serving on the Cemetery Rehabilitation Authority, and asked for recommendations for other members.  A motion to create the Authority with three board members passed.

Further discussion about the appointment of specific members was tabled until the next meeting, pending opportunities to speak to candidates beforehand.

Other business

When the floor was opened to public comment, Justin Winch came forward to introduce himself, and to report that he and his family are starting a nonprofit, faith-based outreach program offering free services to the Hanceville community.  Nail welcomed him and spoke briefly of possible services that such a group might provide.

The council voted to surplus a motor grader after it is restored to working condition.  It will be offered through govdeals.com with a reserve bid of $5,000.

After the approval of the January minutes, the meeting adjourned.

The Hanceville City Council meets the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at Hanceville City Hall at 6:30 p.m., with a work session at 6 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.

 

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