Frustrations expressed at Colony Town Council meeting

Colony resident Stephanie Marshall addresses the Colony Town Council at its meeting Tuesday evening. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

COLONY, Ala. – Despite meeting for close to three hours Tuesday night, the Colony Town Council adjourned without completing any official business. Mayor Curtis Johnson did introduce three new resolutions to be voted on at the next council meeting. Many topics were brought to the floor, but the meeting consisted mostly of members of the community voicing their opinions. The ongoing tension between Johnson and Town Clerk Patricia Ponder was palpable.

Concerns over the Town’s finances had some attendees pointing fingers and others seeking solutions. The council and the members of the community bickered about the Town’s spending, lack of community programs, an employee handbook and the town clerk’s work schedule.

Colony resident Stephanie Marshall, frustrated by the constant bickering, addressed Johnson, saying, “Let’s go forward. Let’s go forward. The one thing I remember a young man telling one Sunday at church, ‘Whatever you do, let it be real.’ Let’s stop all this fussing and foolishness. Let’s be about the Town’s business. As of today, let’s stop all this fussing. If we need a handbook, let’s go find it. Let’s go to Hanceville. Let’s go to Dodge City or Good Hope and get us a copy of a handbook. Like Ms. Pat (Ponder) just stated, she doesn’t mind her hours being cut. The only thing she asks, is if the alarm goes off, don’t call her. If anybody else needs anything and she’s off work, don’t call her. Let’s go forward. This is what this town is for. We are the only black community in Cullman County. We shouldn’t be bickering. You know why? Cause half of us in here are kin somewhere down the line. I’m saying, for me, I’m going forward, and I hope this council and the mayor, the clerk and everybody in here- let’s go forward. I’m tired of looking at the Cullman paper and we (are) a laughingstock. Timeout for all that. Time to be the people that we are. We stand strong. We are bold people, and we can get this done. We can get this done if we all, and not just a few of us, but we all work together.”

Three resolutions were introduced at Tuesday’s meeting: to change the start time of council work sessions to 5:30 p.m., to authorize the town clerk, mayor and the chairman of the finance committee to execute all warrants, drafts and checks drawn upon the various general and special accounts of the Town of Colony and to establish standing committees. The finance committee would be Councilman Eric Carwell, Councilwoman Mary Parker and Johnson. The streets and drainage committee would be Parker, Councilwoman Jasmine Cole and Johnson. The police and fire committee would be Councilman Samuel Ashford, Councilwoman Ethel Alexander and Johnson. The library and recreation committee would be Cole, Carwell and Johnson. The sanitation and utilities committee would be Alexander, Ashford and Johnson.

The Colony Town Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5 p.m. for a work session, with meeting immediately following, at Colony Town Hall.

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Christy Perry