Hanceville council mulls CARES Act funds; fire department gets new equipment

Hanceville Assistant Fire Chief Bart Absher, left, with Councilman John Stam, right, shows the Hanceville City Council new equipment (HURST Jaws of Life) the fire department received last week thanks to a grant from Firehouse Subs. Fire Chief Roger Green said he hopes to have a more official event at Firehouse Subs soon to say thank you for the much needed equipment. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Hanceville City Council had a lengthy discussion Thursday evening about the money the City can receive from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (through the CARES Act).

Mayor Kenneth Nail said, after communication with the mayor of Arab, he is worried about spending the money on equipment and supplies that may not be approved by the Alabama Department of Finance.

“A small town can get in trouble real quick buying all this stuff not in the budget,” he said.

Nail proposed the City apply to be reimbursed for the fire department and police department payroll for the time during the state shutdown. If approved, the reimbursed money could then be spent in whatever way the council sees fit.

“Based on what the mayor told me over there,” he said, “this would be so much simpler.”

Nail asked the department heads to compile a list of things each needs. Overwhelmingly, the departments asked for technology upgrades and protective equipment.

The police department asked for updated computers for police vehicles, cartridges for respirators and an iPad for inmates to have access to Facetime to help with virtual court appearances.

The fire department asked for updated laptops, a new repeater, a lift chair for lift assist calls and new masks.

Hanceville Public Works Director Rusty Fields also asked for a new laptop and a digital repeater.

He said, “I requested a new digital repeater. The lightning struck mine and melted it down. I can’t communicate right now with any of my radios. My laptop is a 2011 model and is outdated.”

Replacement of outdated or obsolete equipment was the main request of the departments. Nail described this time as a “golden opportunity” to bring technology and communication systems up to date.

The council agreed to apply for the reimbursement of the fire and police department payroll, and if that application is approved, it will revisit the requests from within the City’s departments and make final decisions on how the money will be spent.

The council approved Police Chief Bob Long’s request to surplus two existing vehicles, a 2019 Tahoe and a 2018 Silverado, and purchase two new replacement vehicles, as long as the cost of each new vehicle is less than $35,000.

The next Hanceville City Council meeting will be July 23 at 4 p.m.

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Christy Perry