Vinemont revisits golf cart debate, talks fuel-tax projects

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Vinemont resident Leann Evans waits to address the council Tuesday night. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

VINEMONT, Ala. – The Vinemont Town Council met Tuesday night, and as she promised at July’s meeting, resident Leann Evans, who last month confronted the council about an alleged incident with her minor son being on a golf cart and being confronted by Mayor Radginal Dodson, was in attendance. She did not speak during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting; however, when the meeting adjourned Evans did address the council and insisted that she be off the record.

(Background: www.cullmantribune.com/2019/07/10/debate-over-golf-cart-use-leads-to-heated-vinemont-council-meeting)

During the meeting, Councilwoman Shirley Arnett did address Evans’ allegations made toward Dodson.

Arnett said, “Last month at our meeting Ms. Evans came and made statements that she was going to hold the town council responsible for their actions. So, I decided to get out and knock on doors on Federer Street and I found out the name of the lawncare company that (was) included in Ms. Evans’ statement. Tim’s Lawn Care Service and owner Tim Calvert said he was not involved but he knew who was and that he would talk to his employees. I received a call from one of them and messages from two and I want to share one of those right now.”

She read the following letter, dated Aug. 1, 2019 to the council and those in attendance, including Evans.

“My name is Will Dickerson and I am currently employed by Tim’s Lawn Care Service. I was mowing on 106 Federer Street when this event occurred between the Mayor and a boy on a golf cart. When we pulled up to the yard, the mayor and the boy were already talking. All we heard is the mayor ask for the boy’s name and the boy replied with, ‘I don’t give strangers my name.’ The mayor answered by saying, ‘I’ll just follow you to your house and talk to your mother then.’ He then began following the golf cart. They both turned left and after a few minutes, we saw the golf cart pull into a trail in the woods. We never saw the mayor’s vehicle again after that. The mayor never put his hands on the kid at all. We in no way had to pull the mayor off the boy. When the boy came out of the woods, we talked to him. He said he was at the park playing basketball and the mayor got mad about him riding on the sidewalk.”

Dodson did not address the topic but asked, “Anything else this council needs to talk about?”

The council also discussed some new business including the possibility of hiring a town deputy from the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy would assist the school resource officer and enforce state and county laws in the town. The deputy would not be able to enforce ordinances specific to the town of South Vinemont. Those infractions would be filed directly to the county magistrate.

The council agreed to table the discussion to give the mayor and council more time to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a deputy, which the mayor said would cost the town $40,000 a year.

The council also discussed a plan for the new statewide 10-cent gas tax increase, part of the Rebuild Alabama Act. Funds from the new tax can only be used for maintenance or construction of roads and bridges, match funds for federal road or bridge projects, or the payment of any debt, subject to certain limits in the Act, associated with road or bridge projects. Vinemont has listed the repaving of Park Drive as its first project. Park Drive will also have a damaged culvert replaced beginning this Friday.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com