New councilmember Stam sworn at Hanceville’s council meeting

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John Stam is sworn in Thursday night while wife, Deborah, holds the bible and Hanceville clerk Tania administers the oath of office

HANCEVILLE Ala. — John Stam was sworn as the new council member at the Thursday night city council meeting in Hanceville. He was appointed by the council to fill the seat vacated last month by Justin Pruitt. Stam is originally from Gadsden and a graduate of Auburn University. He spent most of his career in Texas working in the banking industry. He worked with companies including Capital One and GE. 

After retiring, he and his wife Deborah moved back to Baldwin County near family. Deborah is originally from Mobile. They had purchased land from her family in hopes of starting a small farm although they had purchased a home in Hanceville in 2001. He explained, “we came up actually for the Shrine. We decided to move here and we have friends and family nearby. There’s no crime, no traffic and we really like it here.”

Neighbors of Stam encouraged him to get involved with the community. Stam did and is the chairman of the Hanceville planning commission. He said, “it’s been interesting looking at some of the stuff you’d like to see about improving and helping the downtown. It’s a nice little community.” Only one council member is permitted to sit on the planning commission. Council member Charles Wilson gave up his seat on the commission. 

After a reading at the February 28, 2019 meeting, the council revisited the ordinance regarding mayor and council salaries. Alabama state law requires that the current council set the pay for the next mayor and council. Currently the mayor salary is $31,000 and that has not increased in over 10 years. The ordinance would raise the mayor salary to $47,000, equal to that of city department heads. The mayor pro tem would be paid $500 a month and other council members would be paid $400. 

The ordinance did not pass as council members Sawyer, Brown and Wilson voted no. Mail responded, “well, that motion will die on the table. We apparently have 2 for and 3 against it.” Nail was clearly disappointed. He said following the meeting, “we had an open discussion and I thought we had the numbers everybody wanted but I guess I was wrong.”

In other business

The council approved the short term strategic plan that should satisfy Phase 2 requirements of the 3 phases needed to qualify Hanceville for the designation as an ACE (Alabama Community of Excellence) City. Joey Hester, captain of the ACE team, said, “fingers crossed that they will approve Hanceville to be designated as an ACE community at the Alabama League of Municipalities Conference in Mobile in May.”

The final phase will be to update a comprehensive plan for the city adopted in 2008. Hester said that the ACE team will be working with the planning commission on the updated plan. Community meetings will be announced and Hester hopes to receive input from as many community members. He said, “we want input from everyone. I especially hope to see the young people get involved. It's their future we are discussing and planning.”

April 6, 2019 will be the Free Community Yard Sale. Permit fees will be waived for the day. The community yard sale will be followed by Landfill Pick Up week. April 8-12 residents will have an opportunity to throw away large items for no additional pick up fees. Exceptions include tires, roofing or other hazardous materials. 

The next scheduled meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 28, 2019. Public hearings will be held for the proposed rezonings.