Hanceville City Council swears in new member, continues talks on community pool

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Kenneth Cornelius takes the oath of office on Feb. 22, 2024. (Gauge Day)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Hanceville City Council at its Feb. 22 meeting swore in new councilman, Kenneth Cornelius.

Cornelius officially joined the council after taking the oath of office, an occasion met with applause and a warm welcome from Mayor Jimmy Sawyer, who expressed his pleasure at having Cornelius on board. The ceremony was followed by refreshments to celebrate the new councilman’s swearing-in.

The meeting then quickly moved through various motions and seconds, addressing smaller agenda items. However, a discussion regarding the community pool dominated much of the evening’s conversation, underscoring the ongoing financial challenges it presents to the City.

“The municipal pool. This has been something we have struggled with over the last few years, as far as keeping open the city pool, and has come to a point where it is really a cost burden on the City,” Sawyer stated. “But yet we feel like it’s also something that we provide for the people of our community.”

Park Director David Wasilewski was called upon for insight into the operational requirements for the upcoming season, sparking conversation on whether increasing admission prices could alleviate some financial pressures.

Councilwoman Patty Dean voiced her concerns about the potential loss of the pool, emphasizing its importance to children in the community who may not participate in sports.

“I have to say I’m struggling, really struggling, because I am concerned that we have children in our area that don’t do sports,” she said. “This is one of those things that is something they can afford to do.”

While the night would end with the pool conversation being tabled until the next meeting, the council heard different ideas about solutions related to the pool from council members and community members alike. This covered everything from admission costs, marketing, new amenities like a splash pad, shaded areas or a pavilion, as well as potentially developing an entirely new business plan to help solve many of the pool’s financial problems.

The meeting concluded on a positive note with Fire Chief Rodger Green announcing the acquisition of new Hurst tools through a grant from Firehouse Subs. Police Chief Joshua Howell shared news of a $47,000 grant being awarded for broadband equipment, which will fund new radars, computer upgrades and investigative software to enhance the police department’s capabilities.

Sawyer provided an update on the City’s fiscal year 2022 audit, reporting a clean audit with no discrepancies.

“Other than just a few minor procedure recommendations, we had a good clean audit from September of 2022,” he said. “No missing funds. All money’s have been accounted for. No discrepancies there. So, we had a good, clean audit for 2022. We’re glad about that.”

In other business, the council:

  • Motioned and approved the Housing Authority appointment of Tara Kaldwell for a three-year term (mayoral appointment)
  • Motioned and approved the Zoning Board of Adjustments appointment of Paul Glenon for a three-year term
  • Tabled the discussion of 2024 ALM Convention Voting Delegates
  • Howell announced a prescription take-back program at the senior center on March 11, from 9 a.m.-noon
  • A fraud and scam seminar will be held at the senior center, date and time to be determined

The next Hanceville City Council meeting will be held Thursday, March 14, 2024, at Hanceville City Hall. The work session will begin at 5 p.m. with the meeting following at 5:30. The public is invited to attend.

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