"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

It was a short meeting last night at City Hall. Old Business: Mr. Ted Corona (sp) was reappointed to the Zoning Board of Readjustment.

New Business: 1) Resolution of Support for the City Library as a City entity for workers compensation purposes. 2) Safe Haven Animal Shelter issue removed from agenda due to the organization not providing the city with appropriate documentation concerning their non-profit status. 3) Door to Door Sales Ordinance issue considered and passed due to changes in state law. Door to ?Door sales people must register with the Police Department and obtain license to sell. Door to Door sales people will be required to wear identification and have displayed the company, individual name and city license. Non=profit organizations, political candidates and local schools are exempt from the licensing process. 4) Reports- Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks will speak at the Democrat Club meeting at the Western Sizzler, Thursday, July 30 at 6:30PM.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Local Investment Banker Challenges City Council on Bond Issues at City Council Work Session.

James Bergman of Raymond James Financial Services spoke at last nights Scottsboro City Council Meeting challenging the City of Scottsboro's bond issue practices. Mr. Bergman has been dealing with bonds and investments for many years. He stated he does not deal locally with municipal bonds but his company does sell municipal bonds.

Mr. Bergman utilized the example of the High School Bond issue which he stated was for $13 million. He stated fees for this issue were exorbitant and exceeded standards. Just as an example Mr. Bergman spoke of the $443,000 in underwriting and associated fees with the High School Bond Issue. He then described the problems in Jefferson County and Birmingham with corruption concerning bond issues where government officials have been convicted of various corruption charges concerning their bond issues.

Mr. Bergman stated the city has not bid any bond issues for 25 years. He stated he believed former mayors and council members were not transparent in previous bond issues and requested that the current council should be forthcoming with all fees and costs, who receives them and disclose industry standards for fair costs of bonds. "I'm not pointing fingers but misdeeds by previous councils and mayors must stop in order that Scottsboro receive the best deal possible with the bond issues. The bond issues should be bid and total transparency should occur concerning the bond issues," Bergman stated.

In closing Mr. Bergman stated. "Excessive rates for bond issues does not serve the citizens of Scottsboro. Failure to bid the bonds and receive a fair rate is mismanagement." Mr Bergman also stated he thought the city was correct in refinancing the school and landfill bond to receive the best interest rates available.

In Other business: 1) Melissa Utect of Safe Haven Animal Shelter made a presentation concerning the cost of the non-profit facility in these economic difficult times. She stated adoptions were down and they were loosing foster homes for pets. She stated since 2006 the Safe Haven group has adopted out over 1000 animals. Ms. Utect requested $3500 from the city council to assist in defraying rising costs of animal care. 2) City Attorney made presentation concerning changes to the City of Scottsboro's Door to Door Sales Ordinance.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

1) Alcoholic Beverage License hearing for Silver Fox Restaurant, 3509 S. Broad St., suite C, owner Larry Smalley, license approved. 2) Approval for the closing of the east portion of Hayes St. for 1st Methodist Church Youth Music Concert. 3) Approval of 3 Job Descriptions, a. Police Records Clerk/Receptionist; b. Animal Control Officer; c. Police Training Officer, Lieutenant's Position. 4) Approval of $81,350.00 funds transfer from the Capital Improvements Account for Civic Center Roof Repair. John Mansville Co. donated the roofing materials for this project. John J. Campbell Co. is the company which won the bid for the material installation. 5) Declaration of Surplus Property at the Police Department approved. 6) Schools and Sanitation Land Fill Bond Refinancing Resolution approved. 7) Resolution of Support for Council on Aging bus transportation grants from state.
More on Civic Center Roof Repair, better late than never.
A big thank you to the Manville Co. for their donation.
A big shame on Scottsboro Politicians for the hatred they displayed toward each other which has resulted in the rotted roof at the Civic Center. Even discussion of returning the Center back to Goosepond due to the lack of foresight in maintaining the building in a proper condition. Speaking of maintenance of our buildings, what has happened to the maintenance personnel hired and plans to maintain our buildings and equipment?
6 years is a long time since it was identified that the roof needed repairing. Much damage occurred during that time frame. Now the entire roof must be replaced. This is where arguing, bickering and vengeful actions land you. Destruction of government property so politicians may have their way over other politicians costing tax payers money.
Then there were the lies told about staff of the Civic Center. One may forgive past irresponsible actions but it is important that we do not forget the history that led us to our current state of affairs and the officials past and present responsible. It is important to realize why the $83K is being spent now instead of the $40K 6 years ago for a repair.

Jackson County Park Spends Thousands on Weed Control, Asks for $500,000 Loan

Yep that's right, apparently the Jackson County Park agreed to pay the private contractor in Guntersville $14,000 per year for 3 years to kill aquatic nuisance weeds around the county park area. Previously park board members had stated they had not contributed any funds for the weed issue. It was stated to the County Commission and the Scottsboro City Council that the parks would be covered by the plan as outlined by the Roseberry Rescue Group for eliminating aquatic nuisance species in the Roseberry and Dry Creek areas of Guntersville Lake. The TVA contractor has applied aquatic herbicide to the areas of County Park and City Park within the past 2 weeks. Apparently the TVA contractor, the County Park Contractor and Roseberry Rescue Groups Contractor is one in the same company. Commissioners requested the Jackson County Park Board provide them with minutes of their meetings as this was all news to them.
The weed control facts disclosed yesterday at the Jackson County Commission Meeting when
Commissioners questioned the Park Board Chairman concerning a $500K loan request to rebuild the park campground after the storm destroyed it earlier in the year. FEMA and State Funds will be issued in 3-6 months to cover approximately 85% of the cleanup and rebuilding costs.
Commission Chairman Bias inquired exactly where and how the funds are to be spent. The Park Board Chairman could not provide that information. Mr. Allen agreed with Ms. Bias that more information should be forthcoming prior to the County Commission assuming responsibility for a loan of $500K for the Park Board. The issue was tabled until specific plans could be developed.
John Himburg of Sanders Security, a Dothan firm, presented a final Security Improvement Contract for doors and other security hardware to the Commission. The plan was approved by the commission. http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/124756293722750.xml&coll=1

Monday, July 6, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Work Session

1) Discussion concerning establishment of Business Development Board, Commercial Development Authority, CDA. Former Scottsboro Mayor Ron Bailey, Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Commercial Development, made presentation concerning this issue. He stated the CDA would be utilized to develop new and expansion of existing businesses. Mr. Bailey stated, "it is not our goal to recruit business to compete with existing business." He also stated the population is declining in Jackson county and we need to provide opportunity for business expansion and new business for our area. 2) Discussion concerning the blocking of the east portion of Hayes Street for an August music festival to be sponsored by the 1st United Methodist Church. 3) Ms. Debra Borders made presentation concerning changes in Job Descriptions. A new Police Training Officer job description is being considered. 4) Mr. Steve Kennamer, City Attorney, made presentation concerning the refinancing of 2 Municipal Bond Issues which are currently variable rate bonds. Due to market fluctuations it was recommended the Bonds be renegotiated to reflect a fixed interest payment rate instead of variable rate of bond payments. The City of Scottsboro must approve the Scottsboro School System Bonds, the School Board Bonds are currently $2.71 million thru year 2017. The other Municipal Bond Issue involves Solid Waste Authority Bonds, they are currently $4.35 million thru year 2019. Mr. Kennamer states he will receive no monetary compensation for the Bond refinancing. 5) Discussion of resumption of normal Brush Pickup service. The Mayor reported that the city will be reimbursed approximately $1 million for storm damage from FEMA. Mayor Potter stated that did not include employee overtime. 6) Discussion concerning replacement of Backhoe at Cemetery due to equipment breakdown.