City honors officer, discusses liquor license

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2004

In a meeting that covered a wide range of topics, the Selma City Council took care of a lot of business Monday night in city council chambers.

After a work session that featured an explanation from EMA Director Brett Howard about the services his organization provides and a clarification from Southern Comfort Lounge Co-owner George Sturdivant

about the location and nature of his prospective business, the council got down to business.

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Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. recognized police officer Curtis Muhannad who saved a life by performing the Heimlich maneuver on a citizen.

The council approved of a retail liquor license for Edward and Sandra Glover, owners of the Steak Pit on Highland Ave. The vote passed 5-1 with Councilman Cecil Williamson and Jannie Venter abstaining.

City Engineer David Painter updated the council on the progress of the Animal Shelter Project and more work needed on the former All-Lock Building.

The building, now leased by Meadowcraft needed more work on the roof after sprinkler leaks were found.

Painter pointed out that the money required leaves the city within the budgeted amount while Perkins added that the city will make the money back over a 24-month period, plus it has provided 125 new jobs. “When we approved his project, we knew we were going to have to spend that money up front,” Perkins said.

There was a discussion on how the new council plans to use oil-lease money versus the old council.

Previously, the money had been divided up among the council people for work in their various wards.

Perkins said he wished the money could be kept together for citywide things like the Meadowcraft/All-Lock Facility so the money wouldn’t have to come out of the general fund budget.

A recommendation from City Attorney Jimmy Nunn to reconsider the previous meeting’s decision to deny the Southern Comfort Lounge a liquor license.

Nunn also recommended a process, by which, council members would examine a facility prior to voting.

The council made a motion to approve the Southern Comfort Lounge. It passed 4-2 with Williamson and Reid Cain abstaining.

Discussion of the county’s responsibility for Animal Shelter finances.

“We’ve spent our part,” Perkins said.

Perkins said the County Commission indicated they would pay around $75,000. Evans added that discussions with commissioners Kim Ballard and Connell Towns had been underway.

Negotiations are underway with Charter Communications to improve prices and/or cable service to the area.

Perkins indicated that Charter wants to extend its franchise in the community for five years on the back end.

They are in discussions about pricing.

Councilman Cecil Williamson noted that cable prices are much lower in Montgomery and Prattville, where there is competition. Perkins explained that the city has been unsuccessful in luring competition to the market but he is hopeful negotiations will improve the situation.

The City Council is asking that Trick or Treaters observe Halloween Saturday, October 30 from 6- 8 p.m. and that people wishing to participate should turn on their porch lights for the kids.

Also Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw urged organizations to come forward and provide things for the kids to do and keep them out of harm’s way.

Evans proposed a public council forum for February and again in August, giving citizens a chance to speak with their council members outside of City Hall Chambers.

A correction on a previous ruling.

In the last meeting, when repealing former councilman James Durry’s ordinance allocating his leftover money to a park project, there was discussion over what was and was not allowed.

It was believed, at the time by the council, that only a yea vote could repeal an ordinance.

However, any councilmember can introduce a motion to repeal.

A clarification from Crenshaw that contrary to reports that the council had discussed removing Evans’ powers to appoint standing committees, actually the council was not discussing any removal of powers.

She said they were simply discussing applying their right to give those powers to the president or not.

Dissolution of the proposed Finance Committee.

Instead, the entire council will serve as the finance committee as the current ordinance mandates.

Discussion of a letter from the attorney for former Finance Director Bob Sanders.

Sanders’ attorney had proposed a settlement of sorts with the city to avoid a threatened “whistleblower” lawsuit.

On Nunn’s advice in a closed-door executive session, the council took no action.

Nunn said the newest letter had been forwarded to the city’s insurance agency.

Councilwoman Geraldine Allen announced that the city will again accept applications for the trio of school board vacancies.

Discussion of a meeting between Counilwoman Jean Martin, Randolph and Crenshaw with a consultant about using the Good Samaritan Hospital for a minority health care facility.

A motion passed to allow Perkins to begin negotiating with ADECA and the state over the Good Samaritan facility.

The council announced there will be two forums to discuss the smoking ordinance, designed to limit exposure to second-hand smoke.

The meetings will be held Monday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. and again on Nov. 15th at 7 p.m.

Laurine Pettway,

of the Community Outreach Missionary Organization, spoke about her organizations’ senior citizen banquet.

“Every year, this is the ninth year, we have 300 seniors,” she said.

She requested funding for the project to help provide prizes and gifts for the senior citizens.

She also asked that Dec. 4 be named Senior Citizen Appreciation Day.

Crenshaw supported the move and Councilwoman Jannie Venter praised the event. “I’ve had the pleasure of attending each of those,” Venter said. Pettway said the prizes will include TV’s, microwaves, bedroom sets and recliners.

Former Councilman Durry, brought pictures and schematics of land he had purchased while Ward 8 Councilman for the purpose of building a playground.

The council encouraged Durry and all citizens to work with their Ward representative first.

Durry said the people who supported the project along with him had spoken to Venter. “I’m appealing to the council, now,” Durry said.

“You had four years,” Venter told him.

Later she added,” There’s definitely a lot of things that need to be done in Ward 8, we already have a nice park, all it needs is to be renovated.” Perkins raised the issue of the legality of council members using oil-lease discretionary funds to contract work.

He said he believes that only contracts signed by the mayor and approved by the council are appropriate.

The Concerned Citizens Foundation gave the council members and mayor a certificate honoring their hard work and commitment to help move the city forward.

Representatives also said they will continue to focus on pertinent issues in the community, including, accountability of public officials, public safety, public policy and others.

The Rev. Lee Green, taekwondo instructor at CHAT Academy requested funds to help support the schools’ children in a taekwondo tournament at $40 per person.

Green said about 20 kids went last year, but the class has nearly 100 participants this year. “I would like to see those kids participate in the tournament,” he said.

“I’ve been over there, I’ve seen you at work, it’s a tremendous program,” Crenshaw said. Crenshaw and Councilman Johnnie Leashore encouraged council members to contribute.

Cathy Owens spoke to the council about her seizure dogs and the possibility of setting a seizure dog program up in the schools, or possibly a seeing-eye dog training program.

A seizure dog is trained as essentially a nurse to watch a patient who suffers seizures.

They can detect an on-coming attack and are trained to cushion Owens when she does suffer an attack.

They also reminded her when it’s time to eat, sleep and take her medication.

She said a similar dog could be a large asset in a school, helping to warn of impending attacks in students.