BERLIN, Ala. – The Berlin Town Council on Monday evening swore in Keith Hardman to replace Councilman Bud Reed, who recently resigned for health reasons. Hardman had already qualified to run for the seat in the Aug. 25 Municipal Election and was unopposed, so the council approved when Mayor Patrick Bates recommended that Hardman be sworn in early, to finish Reed’s term before starting his own.
Hardman, who has lived in Berlin since 1975 and served as a volunteer firefighter, said that his goal on the council is simply “helping out the community.”
In other council business:
- Bates opened the floor for suggestions on projects that could be funded by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) reimbursements, saying that the council will discuss the matter again at a later meeting. He offered the suggestion of creating a Wi-Fi hotspot for community children needing internet access.
- Bates also said that he will look into getting a 50/50 matching fund grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to construct an awning for the new farmers’ market, noting that some area farmers had declined to come to the market due to lack of a shaded covering.
- The council voted to purchase a large used storage container for the town hall parking lot for $2,485 from Decatur Container, to store materials purchased under the CARES Act, which often must be purchased in bulk.
- The council approved a motion to subscribe to an online edition of QuickBooks for $35 per month.
- Bates recommended and the council approved technology improvements for town hall to be funded under the CARES Act, including routers, security video recorders and mounting equipment, in the amount of $2,003.
- The council slated County Road 1600 for chip seal repaving as the Town’s declared road project for fiscal year 2021 under the Rebuild Alabama Act.
- The council discussed options for a permanent sign for the farmers’ market.
- Bates spoke briefly about the upcoming budget, noting that this year’s revenues have already exceeded estimates with a month still to go, but also warning the council that revenue from the county-wide tax fund shared with other municipalities could drop based on 2020 Census results. As previously reported, Bates plans to estimate revenues low and expenses high in order to maintain a good margin of error.
The Berlin Town Council meets at 7 p.m. the third Monday of each month at the Berlin Community Center. The public is invited to attend, subject to building occupancy restrictions.
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