Demopolis City Council fails to meet due to lack of quorum

Monday’s scheduled Demopolis City Council meeting failed to occur due to lack of a quorum. The absences of councilmen Thomas Moore, Mitchell Congress and Melvin Yelverton left the city’s governing body one short of the necessary quorum to conduct city business.

The absence of half the council comes less than two weeks after Moore and Congress walked out of a meeting in an effort to block a vote that would have brought to a close the prolonged appointing of a board of education member.

“Well we have business to do and we can’t get folks who apparently have other priorities to show up for the meeting, much less argue a point through and reach a decision,” Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson said. “Now it’s more about getting folks to show up.”

Congress, Moore and Yelverton reportedly each contacted Grayson or City Clerk Sam Gross between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. today to make their intended absences known.

The lack of a quorum left Grayson to address those in attendance.

“We will now have an informal talking session,” Grayson told those in the gallery at Rooster Hall.

The agenda included an application for public assembly and a pair of liquor licenses, business that cannot be addressed without a quorum present.

“I would say, for those particular individuals, they’re greatly affected,” Grayson said. “As far as the business of the city moving forward, all systems are go. Nothing is in shutdown mode. We’re still able to do what we’re doing.”

Grayson said the council will attempt to meet again at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Should there be no quorum at that session, the city’s decision makers will try again at noon Wednesday.

“There are some things coming up. We had a meeting today talking about the dilapidated housing, overgrown lots, abandoned cars. We’re probably going to need to seriously take a look at changing our ordinances about that,” Grayson said. “Obviously to change an ordinance, you’re going to have to have a vote. Based on today, I’m not very optimistic that that vote would happen with these three meetings with this group. We’ll see.”

The newly-elected Demopolis City Council is scheduled to be installed Nov. 5. Grayson is hopeful that group will be able to move past the gridlock that has plagued the current council.

“It’s almost a relief because I know in three (meetings) we’re going to have a new council with new ideas, new enthusiasm. We have the opportunity to start with a clean slate,” Grayson said. “I think, as with any elected body, the first 100 days are crucial. Even with this last council, the first 100 days, we were able to accomplish a number of things, which were basically completion of projects that had dragged on and on and on. Now maybe we can get something done. The budget is probably going to be kicked over to the new council.”