Garden City approves increase in fire department stipends, new truck; Doug Pender bids farewell

The Garden City Council is seen Monday night, Oct. 19, 2020. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

GARDEN CITY, Ala. – The Garden City Town Council on Monday night approved an increase in the Garden City Volunteer Fire Department’s stipend pay.

Resolution No. 2020-416 reads, in part:

“Whereas, the Town Council of the Town of Garden City wishes to express its deep appreciation to the members of the Garden City Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department for their frequent sacrifice of their personal time and safety each and every time they attend a training session or respond to an emergency call,

“Whereas, each active volunteer member in good and current standing with the Department’s requirements, policies and procedures, will receive a payment based on the attendance of required trainings and emergency calls attended, on a monthly basis, a payment will be according to the following schedule:

Attending on training session per month – $10

Fire and rescue calls – $10 per call attended

Medical calls – $2 per call attended”

The council discussed and approved the purchase of a new truck for the department’s use as well, a new mini-pumper from American Emergency Products at the cost of $95,000. The council began discussions on potential items the Town can surplus to offset the cost of the new truck.

The council approved a $25 non-refundable fee to rent the park pavilion.

Council members continued their discussion from last month about the future of the old Garden City School building. No decisions have been made.

Garden City will participate in the annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday next February. Section 1 of the ordinance (No. 2020-220) on that holiday reads:

“In conformity with the provisions in 40-23-230 through 40-23-233, Code of Alabama 1975, providing for a State Sales Tax Holiday, the City (Town) of Garden City, Alabama exempts “covered items” from municipal sales and use tax during the same period, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the last Friday in February 2021 (February 26, 2021), and on the last full weekend of February each year thereafter until and unless annual participation is rescinded by further action of the council.”

After the meeting’s official business was concluded, the council took time to address a more personal matter. Monday night’s meeting was the last for Councilman Doug Pender, who stepped in to serve after Councilman Gene Norman passed away unexpectedly in June 2017.

“First of all, I would just like to thank the council for giving me the opportunity to finish out brother Gene Norman’s term. The Lord saw fit to call Gene home, but I trust that during that time, I’ve done pretty much what Gene would’ve done and tried to benefit the town,” Pender said. “I really love Garden City and I really appreciate that opportunity you guys gave me to fill in for that time and I hope we’ve helped make the town better.”

Mayor Tim Eskew took a few moments to thank Pender for his service to the community and willingness to step up when someone was needed after an untimely tragedy.

“Doug, I really appreciate you stepping up and taking brother Gene’s spot after he passed on unexpectedly. You’ve helped us quite a lot as a council and you’ve helped us quite a lot as a city,” Eskew said. “You’ve helped the fire department grow in your term here and you’ve helped us all grow in our daily lives. There’s just no way possible to thank you enough for what you have done for us.”

The Garden City Town Council will hold its next meeting Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.

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Nick Griffin