GOOD HOPE – The Good Hope City Council spent their first February meeting focusing on finances. After and invocation from John Harris and the approval of the last meeting's minutes, questions were raised about the January financial report. Councilman Harris, in charge of finances, was concerned about an issue regarding excise taxes from the Pilot gas station; specifically, Harris said they have not gotten any for a few months. City Clerk Christie Chamblee explained that, due to an address misunderstanding, the taxes had been going to the City of Cullman rather than Good Hope. She said that the problem was being fixed, and the financial report was approved.
Individual council member reports came next. Harris simply stated that all numbers were up, that they had generated about $10,000 from the hard liquor tax, and that his only concern was the excise tax issue. Maxie Jones, Roads, stated that work on Doss Bridge on Beech Grove Road is still underway and that an inspector would come by to examine the bridge soon.
“They’re supposed to get the first two layers of concrete done tomorrow,” said Mayor Jerry Bartlett, who is hopeful that, weather-permitting, the last layer will then be able to be completed, along with sod and finishing touches. Bartlett anticipates the bridge to be re-opened sometime next week.
The Utilities report made the council aware of several elevated manhole covers in need of repairs due to eroded grout. Price estimates for the repair work are being gathered. Also pointed out was the need to find a camera to examine a sewer line around Lindsay Road, which has no manholes nearby, because of a high amount of water flowing through (approx. 50 gallons per minute). The water is clean water rather than sewage, so its source is unknown.
The Community report had nothing new to offer, so the reports moved lastly to Taft Dillashaw of Parks. He stated that spring ball sign-ups would be going on for another week and that even though numbers were a bit low, there was no need to worry at the moment. If numbers are still low after the week, Dillashaw will extend the deadline. He also brought out pictures of a proposed new field dressing machine and gave a $7,500 price estimate. The council was satisfied with the proposal and approved a motion to purchase it for the fields.
After the reports, Bartlett introduced Resolution No. 004-2017, which concerned an agreement with SmartFox Solutions. For a set-up fee of $400 and a $200 monthly fee that covers any services performed, SmartFox will provide IT support, perform daily file backups and monitor virus protection, among other services. Chamblee told all present about an Alabama municipality that had fallen prey to ransomware and chosen to lose all their files rather than pay $33,000 to get them back. She said she worried about what would happen if Good Hope were to suffer the same thing and felt that the SmartFox offer came at a great time. The resolution passed unanimously.
Good Hope Fire & Rescue requested funding for new jackets and pants, and a motion passed to donate $10,000 from the City’s alcohol tax fund to the fire department.
Bartlett then showed the council a short video about the Mower Max boom mower and asked the council to consider purchasing a new one. Bartlett said the Mower Max will have increased stability and maneuverability compared to the City’s old mower, and stated it will be necessary in the summer months when bushes begin growing out next to the roads and impairing the side-vision of drivers trying to pull out. The estimated cost for a new Mower Max is $150,000, and councilwoman Susan Eller raised concerns over how to pay for it. The budget originally allowed around $50,000 for a used boom mower, but it was argued that a new one will likely require less maintenance. Bartlett proposed using alcohol funds, but Eller said she didn't want to put such a large dent in the fund. After some deliberating, Eller made a motion to take $75,000 from the alcohol fund and the same amount from the general fund to pay for it, and the motion passed.
The last few minutes of the meeting were spent in short consideration over the issue of new roads and possible effects on nearby property, although further discussion was tabled until a later date.
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