Berlin takes more steps toward town hall, farmers’ market

The Berlin Town Council met Monday evening for its February meeting. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

BERLIN, Ala. – The Berlin Town Council back in September discussed preliminary plans for a municipal complex to be located on adjacent land west and northwest of the Berlin Community Center. At its Monday night meeting, the council moved forward with two parts of that plan. It voted to purchase a 12-foot by 56-foot trailer to use as a temporary town hall until a permanent town hall can be constructed. It also adopted the rules and regulations of the town’s future farmers’ market.

The council has been meeting at the Berlin Community Center since the town’s incorporation in 2018. Mayor Patrick Bates said he received three proposals for the temporary town hall trailer, two from Wilkins Builders of Double Springs and one from Rose Office Systems, LLC of Calera.

The offers were:

  • Wilkins Builders: A 16×30 “demo unit” trailer set up as a coffee shop at a cost of $30,000- It would need work to be usable as an office unit
  • Wilkins Builders: A 14×76 “demo unit” set up as a bank at a cost of $49,000
  • Rose Office Systems, LLC: A 12×56 office unit trailer that would need a wall taken down to open more space (estimated cost $200-$400), with the total cost including set up, delivery and everything else of $38,000

Berlin Councilman Jimbo Quick noted of the Rose proposal, “It’s the best floor plan without a lot of work to be done. We could remove the wall for us to have a meeting space.”

The council voted to purchase the trailer from Rose.

In other business, the council adopted the rules and regulations of the future farmers’ market, setting the months, days and hours of operation at June through October; Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Bates said he has met with local growers and John Willoughby with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries about the market.

“There’s not another market in north Alabama, possibly another one in the state, that is being placed directly next to a four-lane highway,” said Bates, who said Willoughby remarked Berlin’s farmers’ market will be unique, as it will face U.S. Highway 278.

Bates reminded the council of the cost of the gravel parking lot for the market- $6,000, with an additional $256 for pipes under each entry into the lot. The council approved both. The council also voted to pay $8,000 in February toward the bond payment on the 20-acre property for the municipal complex.

Concerning the upcoming 2020 Census, the council voted to purchase modified “Cullman County Counts!” signs that instead read “Berlin Counts!” The original signs are $5 each. The 50 modified signs are $4.65 each plus $1.25 for the yard sign holders. Berlin will host a “Census Day” March 28 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the community center.

The council passed two ordinances regarding elections. The first ordinance clarified the Berlin Town Council consists of a mayor and five council members, the council members seated in places 1-5. The other ordinance established election officers with three additional election officers to oversee ballots at the voting precinct.

Bates announced that Berlin Town Council Place 3 is vacant due to former Councilman Matthew Blair moving out of the town, forfeiting his seat. Council members will make nominations on Blair’s replacement at their March meeting.

Berlin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ralph Laney reported his department does not have any debts. He said all equipment used is owned by the department. The department in September 2019 was awarded a $186,666.66 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase 28 new air packs, which will cost $191,000. The department will pay the difference.

The Berlin Town Council meets the third Monday of each month. The next regularly scheduled meeting is March 16, 2020 at 7 p.m. at the Berlin Community Center.

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Maggie Darnell