Cullman council affirms continuation of ad valorem tax for schools, holds public hearing on proposed west side arts district

The council recognized city workers who decorated Cullman for the Christmas holidays. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

Updated 1-14-20 10:28 a.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening voted to affirm its pledge to continuing an existing 7.5 mil property tax for city schools. The stated purpose of the tax is “providing various capital improvements for the public school system operated by the Board,” and the payment of debts associated with those projects. According to council president Jenny Folsom, the ordinance will help the city school system’s credit rating, should it need to borrow money. Mayor Woody Jacobs told the council he had spoken to Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson and school board members, and was told the system is not in the process of borrowing money for any projects at this time.

The council also held a public hearing on the previously proposed creation of an arts district on Cullman’s west side, the boundaries of which would include portions of Fifth Avenue Southwest, Sixth Street Southwest, Fourth Street Southwest, Hickory Avenue Southwest, First Street Southwest and Third Avenue Southwest.

City Clerk Wesley Moore explained the arts district “is more like a special events district. It’s a place where you can have festivals, community events- things that support local art and are family-friendly.”

Alcohol could be served at special events within the district, but the same rules would apply as with events held in locations like the Warehouse District during Oktoberfest. At all other times, regular city alcohol ordinances would apply.

Moore explained the proposed district to the council and audience. When invited, no one came forward to oppose the plan.

During his remarks, Jacobs took the opportunity to recognize and thank city workers who put up a tremendous number of decorations around town before and during the Christmas holiday season.

The council noted the upcoming retirement of City of Cullman Sanitation Superintendent Larry Jones after 45 years of service, and named Samuel J. Dillender the City’s new sanitation superintendent. Jacobs said that a formal recognition of Jones will take place at the next council meeting.

Other council business

  • The council approved the annexation of 39 acres of property near Main Avenue Southwest owned by Charlotte Cruce as a residential district.
  • The council approved a request from Steve Smith of the Cullman High School Softball Boosters to hold a 10K run to support Cullman High School Softball Feb. 8, 2020 at 8 a.m., starting at Desperation Church.
  • Jacobs appointed Selvie Carrera to serve on the City’s Housing Authority Board.
  • The council approved an ordinance to vacate a utility easement on Lot 57 in the Derby Creek Subdivision “not needed by the City of Cullman for public or municipal purposes.” The site, according to City Attorney Roy Williams, does not have a utility line beneath it, and the property owner is granting the City an easement where the line actually runs.

The Cullman City Council meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the auditorium at Cullman City Hall. The public is invited to attend.

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A designated arts district should encourage development of the arts in the city and allow street festivals and special events on Cullman’s west side like those in the Warehouse District and along First Avenue to the east. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

W.C. Mann