Berlin votes to annex 3 properties, discusses plans for recently-purchased property

The Berlin Town Council (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

BERLIN, Ala. – During its July meeting, the Berlin Town Council continued to expand the municipality’s borders through annexation and also discussed plans to set up a temporary town hall. It also worked on development plans for the 20-acre property it recently purchased next to the community center. 

The three properties annexed Monday night were all along the east side of County Road 747, one near a creek, with another directly adjacent and the third used to set up a trailer. While the exact acreage was not specified, the annexations increased the portion of 747 for which Berlin is responsible. 

After voting to purchase the property adjacent to the Berlin Community Center at a special meeting last month, the council began discussions Monday night about the possibility of buying or leasing a temporary office to use as a town hall. Mayor Patrick Bates said he had received a few quotes for different options. The council could lease a container office for $130 per month, but it won’t have any bathrooms, or it could buy a former classroom trailer for $14,000, but installing a bathroom would bring it up to $30,000. Another trailer option is a demo trailer that would also cost $30,000 with all the necessary amenities. Ultimately, the item was tabled to give the council time to get more price quotes; however, the council did discuss the idea of negotiating with the community center to use its bathrooms and parking lot, or even continuing to meet at the community center and simply using the temporary town hall as an office to store important files.

While on the subject of the adjacent property, Bates said he plans to meet with the North Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) to present a list of things he wants to put on the property so NARCOG can help the council plan the development layout. The list contained five items he hoped to eventually see on the property, including a town hall, a senior center, storm shelters, a community park and a farmers’ market. The council then added amenities it would like to see in the park, including a playground, public restrooms, a walking trail, scattered pavilions, a basketball court and a disc golf course. The council agreed that some of these developments could possibly take 10 to 20 years to be fully realized, but said it will ultimately be more efficient to begin planning for them now.

The last item of business was to go over the 2019 budget progress and how it will affect the 2020 budget. Bates reported that the Town received more than $15,000 in taxes, which will pay for roughly 20% of the general obligation bond it entered to purchase the property. He also estimated that, if the past nine months are an indication of how the next three months will go, the bond may be less than $50,000 (the original bond was for $75,000) for the 2020 budget.

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Heather Mann