City to soon demolish dilapidated structure

After a lengthy notification and condemnation process, it appears that one dilapidated Demopolis property will soon be history.

City Attorney Bill Poole told the City Council at its Thursday meeting that asbestos has been removed from the property at 1814 A Street and follow up testing was negative. Poole said he had notified the contractor to go forward with demolition. He added that he hasn’t heard a final report on the property at 1801 Second Ave., but he expects the demolition project to proceed soon.

Regarding other properties, Poole said he is waiting on the council’s vote on the Ordinance Enforcement Ordinance in October “so I’ll know which way to go.”

The council held a first reading on that proposed ordinance, which will stiffen fines and sentences for owners of abandoned, dilapidated, overgrown and debris-cluttered properties. The second reading and vote will be held at the Oct. 17 meeting.

The council tabled a vote on the city’s 2013-14 budget until next meeting. The lone “no” vote came from Grayson, who reminded the council that the new fiscal year will begin before the next meeting.

Grayson also reported that he, City Clerk Sam Gross and council member Bill Meador recently met with Chamber of Commerce, the Industrial Development Board and the newly formed Demopolis Area Business Council to discuss the roles of each organization in regard to industrial recruitment and economic development. Grayson termed the meeting “positive.”

In other matters, the mayor announced that District 1 council member Charles Jones will hold a public forum Thursday, Sept. 26 at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall. The public is invited to attend.

Grayson reminded all in attendance that the University of West Alabama will host Concordia College in football at Demopolis High School on Thursday, Sept. 26. Grayson noted that the UWA Tigers are nationally ranked, and encouraged the community to support the event.

The council appointed Sylvia Malone an alternate on the Board of Adjustment by a 4-2 vote. Meador, Harris Nelson, Nathan Hardy and Grayson voted for Malone, while Charles Jones and Cleveland Cole voted for Tony Pittman.

The council tabled a vote on proposed changes to personnel policy manual. Among the changes is an increase in the number of approved vacation hours a city employee can sell back to the city. That number would be increased from 40 hours to 160. The council also discussed establishing a minimum of 8 hours that could be sold to the city.

Jim Stanford appeared before the council on behalf of the Demopolis High School Quarterback Club requesting permission to hold a circus at Sports-Plex Oct. 15. The council approved the request.

The council unanimously approved a request from a resident at 1704 Estella Drive to add a street light at that location. Grayson reported that Alabama Power had assessed the situation and agreed there is a need due to the presence of children in the area. The light will cost the city an additional $12.92 per month.

Grayson reminded those in attendance that various local singers and songwriters will appear at the Highway 80 Songwriters’ Festival Saturday at Dumont Plaza in downtown Meridian, Miss. The event will be held from 5-9 p.m.

Demopolis hosted the first songwriters’ festival earlier this year.