Colony mayor: ‘The library will not be closed’

Colony Town Council (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

COLONY, Ala. – Eleven days after the Colony Town Council voted not to renew a contract with the  North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) for a town librarian, Mayor Donnis Leeth announced, “The library will not be closed,” at a work session before the council meeting Tuesday evening.

According to the mayor, the nonrenewal of the contract on June 28 stemmed from a misunderstanding over the financial terms of the contract as presented in paperwork sent to the Town. After meeting with NARCOG officials last week, Leeth said, he was told the Town would not have to pay the $1,000 fee mentioned in the renewal notice.

The library is open this week.

In previous discussions before the financial issue had been clarified, council members had voiced concerns about whether current programs at the library were worth the expense. Tuesday, Town Librarian Brenda Johnson, wife of Councilman Curtis Johnson, was present at the meeting to deal with questions about programs, including a free visit by McWane Science Center staff, sponsored by the Cullman County Public Library System, which the librarian declined.

Brenda Johnson told the council she had talked with the mayor and Councilwoman Ethel Alexander, who headed up Colony’s summer camp, but could not get the Town to commit to a date.

Said Johnson, “We can’t communicate.”

As the council took up the issue of library programs, Curtis Johnson stated, “The library can be better.”

He also said that the library was working on improvements. 

Brenda Johnson talked about ideas for future programs, including after-school activities for students, and assured the council, “We’re going to make the library work for our community.”

The council discussed a plan put forth by a local resident to open Colony’s Community Center for children’s activities this summer.  Discussion ended with Town Clerk Patricia Ponder noting that the council voted to close the center several months ago for repairs that have not yet been done, that the Community Center’s health certificate had been suspended pending a major overhaul of its kitchen, and that the facility currently lacks liability insurance. 

Community resident Kim Carwell came to talk to the council about the possibility of starting an after-school mentoring program at the Educational Complex or other town facility.  Council members showed interest and indicated they would talk with Carwell more about her ideas.

Two community residents, former Town Clerk Gwendolyn Purifoy and former Councilwoman Jamelle Dimbo, who serve as poll workers during elections, spoke up during the public comment portion of the agenda to voice opposition to the council’s previous decision to move the town’s polling place from town hall to the Educational Complex.  

Leeth said work is progressing on the Dollar General just east of town, though no estimates of completion and opening date have been given.  He also noted complaints from a few area residents about the location.

The Colony Town Council meets at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Colony Town Hall, with work session at 5 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.

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Work is progressing on the Dollar General that will be located along Alabama Highway 91 just east of Colony. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

W.C. Mann