Hanceville mayor voices support for 1-cent tax; SFW veterans home moving forward

Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail, Saving Forgotten Warriors’ Casey Hunt and Saving Forgotten Warriors Founder Jeremy Hogan are all smiles Thursday night after the Hanceville City Council meeting. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The proposed 1-cent tax on the upcoming March 3 primary ballot and a rezoning request were the two main topics of discussion at Thursday evening’s Hanceville City Council meeting. Mayor Kenneth Nail spoke in favor of the proposed tax and shared the benefits he believes voting yes could have for Hanceville schools. 

“We’ve got a situation right now that’s going to put us in the lead,” said the mayor. “We are going to be way in the lead,” referencing the Cullman County Board of Education’s (CCBOE) stated future plan, if the tax passes, of building a new career technical center on the campus of an existing high school.

Nail believes that high school could be Hanceville High because of its proximity to Wallace State Community College. 

“Cullman High School doesn’t have a college right there, right next to you. Vinemont don’t and West Point don’t,” he said. “We are going to have a situation- and I hate to see the high school moved down here, I love this down here, I love this place. We have to look out for what is best for our kids.” 

He also addressed a few of the concerns residents have expressed regarding the tax, saying, “I’m going to vote yes. We ain’t just eat up with property taxes in Alabama. Everybody wants to gripe about sales tax, but we’ve got some of the cheapest property taxes in the nation. Think about it and pray about it, but please go vote!”

Nail voiced his stance on the tax from the floor rather that from behind the council platform. 

The council then opened the scheduled public meeting to allow residents to voice any concerns regarding the rezoning of the property at 413 Hopewell Road to allow local nonprofit Saving Forgotten Warriors (SFW) to provide temporary housing for homeless veterans. 

The property was zoned R1- single family residential and was rezoned to R3-high density residential.

Nail said prior to passing the ordinance, “We appreciate you guys, and the City of Hanceville is always going to support you guys.”

SFW Founder Jeremy Hogan was all smiles as the ordinance passed, signaling the green light to move forward with renovating the duplex to house veterans who need support. 

Hogan spoke after the meeting: “We are hoping by the end of April I can have people in there. I’m excited! I’m ready to get back in there and get it open.”

In January, Pam Whitt, financial officer for SFW, described the home: “It’s a two-bedroom duplex, so four bedrooms total and there should be 3-4 men per bedroom. We are saying 8-12 total. It is temporary housing, 30-60 days. It’s not permanent. We will have a house manager so someone will be there with the veterans 24 hours a day.”

The City and SFW will be holding a groundbreaking in the near future. Details are still being worked out. 

“We need all veterans to fill out their (2020) Census and check that box for veteran,” said Hogan, hoping to reach all Cullman County veterans. “The reason we can’t get government funding here in the county is there is not a good census of how many veterans we have. If you don’t need the help, another veteran does. I can’t get the help without an accurate count. There’s a ton of funds we are missing out on right now.”

In other business, the council approved a request from Hanceville Fire and Rescue to use money received from fees to purchase two sets of turnout gear. The gear was destroyed recently during a call. 

The City of Hanceville will begin posting the City’s budget on its Facebook page and website in an effort to be more transparent.

Councilman Charles Wilson encourages everyone to catch some basketball action now through the weekend at Wallace State in the Northwest Regional tournament. Also, Hanceville’s boys’ team will play at Jacksonville State Saturday.

On Feb. 29, the Senior Outreach “Hee Haw Show” is coming to the Hanceville Civic Center. The show will be from 2-4 p.m.

The Irish Festival is slated for March 14 from 9-5 p.m. in downtown Hanceville. Vendors, entertainment and many family-friendly activities will be available. 

On May 9, The Kingsmen and the Gold City Quartet will perform at 5 p.m. at the Hanceville Civic Center. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 or $15 at the door. 

On June 6 will be the Hanceville Counts Census Event. Raffle prizes will be available for those who fill out or bring proof of already completing the 2020 Census. Free food and inflatables will also be provided. 

Also on June 6, at the census event, Hanceville will celebrate the grand opening of the new dog park. The park is being moved near the pavilion at Veterans Park with new equipment including a doggy fountain. Residents are encouraged to bring their dogs.

On Sept. 19 at Veterans Park, Willie Underwood (Dekalb County Sheriff’s deputy) and his family will perform a salute to Motown, followed by the Tommy Crowder Band. The headliner will be Confederate Railroad. More details coming soon.

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Christy Perry