Council appoints Hardy for District 2, increases garbage fees

Nathan Hardy will fill the District 2 Demopolis City Council seat vacated by Mitchell Congress, the council decided by a 4-0 vote at its regular meeting at Rooster Hall Thursday evening.

Nathan Hardy will fill the District 2 Demopolis City Council seat vacated by Mitchell Congress.

Nathan Hardy will fill the District 2 Demopolis City Council seat vacated by Mitchell Congress.

“It’s been a long journey, but I am looking forward to this,” said Hardy, who was present at Thursday’s meeting. “Mitchell Congress did a great job, and I hope to work with him in the future. This will be a learning process for me, but the council is doing a great job moving this city forward. I want to work hard to help that happen.”

Hardy’s appointment followed a 20-minute executive session in which the council discussed the vacancy. Following the executive session, council member Bill Meador nominated Hardy, and Harris Nelson seconded the motion. Council members Meador, Nelson, Charles Jones and Mayor Mike Grayson voted for Hardy, while Cleveland Cole abstained.

Hardy ran against Congress in last year’s municipal election, losing to the incumbent by approximately 100 votes. However, Congress resigned from the council only two months into the new term, citing health reasons.

In other action Thursday, the council voted to increase garbage collection fees in the city to $15 per month for residential customers and $18 for businesses. The increase represents a 93 cent hike for residences and 63 cents for businesses. The council received notice that Advance Disposal is increasing fees by 1.7%, effective March 1. Grayson noted that Advance did not increase fees at the last contract renewal, and added that Demopolis is still one of few cities with twice-a-week garbage pickup.

The council made several board appointments, including re-appointing Bobby Armstead and Scott Stapp to the Hospital Building Authority, re-appointing Burnquetta Johnson, Betty McCants, Catherine Meador and adding Buck Webb to the Library Board, and naming Dr. Ronnie Chu to the Parks and Recreation Board.

The council also received a resolution to demolish a dilapidated structure at 801 Second Avenue, and gave approval to obtain bids for demolition at 1814 A Street and 802 Second Ave.

At the request of Police Chief Tommie Reese, the council approved a resolution requiring the purchase of accident scene photos at $15 per photograph. In the past, the police department has provided photos on a CD to attorneys, but Reese said he has been advised by the state to start charging for the photos. Reese also received approval to open a checking account to hold monies confiscated in drug raids and other arrests, rather than keeping cash in the evidence room at the police station.

The council adopted a resolution voicing its support for the Alabama Scenic River Trail. Jim Felder, spokesman for the ASRT, told the council that Demopolis is positioned perfectly to “build a name for itself through river recreation.” Felder said the council’s support, which will require no funds from the city, will help in ASRT’s grant application efforts.

At the beginning of the meeting, Grayson read a letter from Gordon Moore, praising the fire and police departments, along with the Old Springhill Volunteer Fire Department, for their “prompt, professional” response to a recent fire at Gordon’s residence.