Busy days ahead: Cullman City Council approves Trump rally, additional agreement with Rock the South

Brian Ogstad confronts the Mayor and council members over the city’s COVID response. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening set a busy agenda for local events with Rock the South this weekend and a visit by former President Donald Trump the next. 

The council approved the event permit for the upcoming Donald Trump “Save America” rally scheduled for Aug. 21 from 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the York Family Farm (1872 CR 469 in Cullman), site of this weekend’s Rock the South music festival. In bringing the former 45th U.S. President to Cullman, Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl, who applied for the permit, labeled the event “45 fest.” The application notes that the event will feature food and vendors, but no alcohol. 

The council also approved a “772” agreement with Rock the South LLC, allowing the city government to expend resources including money, material and manpower to support a business or event that provides economic benefit to the city. The City of Cullman will provide police and fire/paramedic services for the event, as well as a water tanker to help keep down dust inside the venue.  

In one more nod to community events, the council approved a resolution to enter into a contract with the Alabama High School Athletic Association and Cullman City Schools to host the 2022 – 2026 Alabama State Track and Field Championships for Classes 1A, 2A, and 3A at Cullman High School. The events will take place May 5-7, 2022, May 4-6, 2023, May 2-4, 2024, May 1-3, 2025 and April 30 – May 2, 2026. 

The council also approved a change order to increase its contract expenditure to ProSlide Technology Inc. in the amount of $134,300 for change in materials for a tower and the addition of two lanes to upgrade the KIDZ ProRacer to four lanes in the new Cullman Wellness and Wellness Center slide complex project. Cullman originally awarded the bid to Proslide for $3,720,100; the increased total is now $3,854,400. 

The council approved a special event request from Zac Lee for Good Samaritan Health Clinic for a Health Awareness Block Party at the Housing Authority on September 18, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

The council passed a resolution to apply for matching state and federal funds for airport improvement projects to be done during fiscal year 2022. The council has previously approved the city’s expenditure for the matching fund amount. 

Resolutions combat labor shortage issues for fire and police departments 

The council adopted two resolutions to create lateral transfer policies for the fire department and police department. According to the resolutions, whose wording differed only in identification of fire and police departments, “this policy will establish guidelines that will ensure the City of Cullman the strongest ability to attract and retain qualified candidates … due to labor force shortages.”  

Other resolutions 

The council approved resolutions: 

  • to award the bid for a 6-inch pipe, hydrants, fittings, etc. to the lowest responsible bidder, Ferguson Waterworks, in the amount of $49,470.57. The City also received bids from: 
  • Consolidated Pipe, Decatur, $50,698.60  
  • Eagle Wholesale, Athens, $52,484.14  
  • Empire Pipe Birmingham, $54,918.60  
  • G & C Pipe, Atwood, Tenn. $ 54,023.16 
  • to award the bid for an asphalt pothole patch truck to the lowest responsible bidder, HD Industries, in the amount of $173,928.80. HD Industries sent the only bid; the other two did not respond. 
  • to award the bid for concrete to the lowest responsible bidder, Ready Mix USA LLC. No amount or other bidders were listed. 
  • to authorize application for CDBG grant application and match for a neighborhood improvement project for Warnke Road. The City will request grant funds of $500,000, and will provide a local match of $585,969.11, “of which $103,511.51 will be local cash and $482,257.60 will be provided as in-kind services with city forces and equipment to install the water, sewer, drainage and street improvements in support of this project.” 

The council suspended rules of procedure to pass two ordinances on their first readings: 

  • An amended zoning ordinance to modify parking space requirements from 20 feet in length to 18 feet in length. 
  • An ordinance to annex 594 County Road 1329 into the city limits of Cullman as R-1 Residential District which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission. 

The council also gave a first reading, without taking action, to an ordinance to annex 30 acres behind Cracker Barrel off Old Highway 157 Northwest into the city limits of Cullman as a residential district. 

Confrontation over city COVID response 

Cullman resident Brian Ogstad, who had previously addressed the city council and other local government entities, came again to announce that he will file lawsuits against Mayor Woody Jacobs, the council, city school board and city COVID advisor Dr. Scott Warner. Ogstad alleged that the city’s COVID policies were improper and presented the council a written notice demanding a public apology for the city’s policies, a promise of no more use of those policies, public promotion of his own plan for COVID treatment and the refund of money “which the city took from We The People of Cullman during 2020.” 

Council Chairperson Jenny Folsom informed Ogstad that he had exceeded the allotted time for individuals to speak, and Police Chief Kenny Culpepper escorted him from the building after he went to the front of the auditorium to deliver his notice and engage in another verbal exchange with the council. 

The Cullman City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the City Hall auditorium. The public is invited to attend. 

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W.C. Mann