Council votes to begin repairs on Herbert Street culvert

Long-awaited repairs to the damaged road and culvert on Herbert Street should begin within a month after action by the Demopolis City Council Thursday.

On a vote of 4-0-1, with Charles Jones Jr. abstaining, the council accepted the lowest bid from Double Diamond Construction Co. of Northport at a cost of $142,484. On top of the construction cost will be $11,000 for inspection of the work and $5,000 to a geotechnician.

None of the council members were pleased with the cost of repair.

“I think it’s a lot of money,” said Mayor Mike Grayson, “but we’ve sat on this for more than a year.”

Cedric Campbell of the engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, presented bids from five firms. His company will provide the oversight and inspection of the work.

Grayson announced the city has received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $450,000 for drainage work in the brickyard area.

“The next step is getting busy on that project,” he said.

In still another construction project, a Request for Proposal has been sent to engineering firms for work on Roman Alley. City attorney Bill Poole is researching ownership of property along the street.

Demopolis airport director Jason Pendergrass got the okay from the council to apply for an FAA grant for taxiway lighting.

The airport already has received a grant for the reconstruction of the taxiway, but the lighting project was split off to spread out the cost. Work on the reconstruction will begin in the spring of 2016. If the new grant is approved, the lighting project could begin in the fall of 2016 or the spring of 2017, Pendergrass said.

Under the grant the city would be responsible for five percent of the $491,000 cost of the project, or about $25,000. The state of Alabama also will pay five percent, “or we won’t do the project,” said Pendergrass.

Since the lights would be low-voltage and low-wattage, the airport director doesn’t expect to see a significant increase in power cost to the airport. In addition, the lights would be pilot-controlled and would be turned on only when needed.

The council approved the use of the old city courtroom on East Fulton Street by the COTR committee, provided the Chamber of Commerce pays all utilities.

Councilman Harris Nelson said the COTR needs more space for the construction of the parade floats. “It’s a good use of a building not being used.”

The mayor said that long-range plans are to declare the old courtroom building as surplus and apply for a USDA loan to build a new facility for Fire Station No. 2. The old fire station then could be used by COTR.

The council approved a request by Police Chief Tommie Reese to declare five police cars as surplus.

The mayor reported that sales tax revenue for September was down 5.67 percent, but on a positive note, the total sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2015, ending Sept. 30, was up by the same amount, for a total of $5,042,466.