“We have a drug problem in this town, and I am here to ask for help to start a drug rehabilitation program. I am in the process now of being certified for becoming a peer counselor specialist, and I’m willing to do the work to get the recovery in the town if I can just have the backing of the town,” Thorn said, adding that it would come at no cost to the city.
Thorn is a recovering drug addict herself and has been in recovery for the past two years, but she feels the city is in major need of a drug rehab center for those with addiction problems.
“I have to travel to other towns to get assistance in meetings, and there’s a lot of drug addicts who don’t have adequate transportation to get help and they don’t have the financial means,” Thorn said. “... It would help the city because even if they’re arresting people for drug activity, they’re not going to stop if they’re still addicted. You’ve got to fight the disease in order to fight the drug problem.”
She said that before establishing a center in Carbon Hill it would simply start out as a reference venue. There is a treatment center she has contact with in Tuscaloosa, Thorn mentioned, that is willing to waive the intake fees for the first 30 days for anyone she refers to go there for treatment.
“All they’d have to pay is an assessment by the mental health center, and then it wouldn’t cost them anything the first 30 days they are there,” Thorn said. “By that time, they would have employment to pay their own fees, and it wouldn’t cost them or their families anything.”
To start with, Thorn said she would schedule meetings and set up NA (Narcotics Anonymous) programs. Down the road, she would like to develop counseling centers where individuals could come and talk, get connected with employment opportunities, etc.
District 4 council member Mark Chambers said, “That sounds really good to me. Let us know what we can do to help you. It sounds like a good idea.”
Council members voted unanimously to allow Thorn to go ahead with her plans for starting the program.
The council also voted to add Billie Jenkins to the District 3 council seat left vacant by former council member Terry Mason.
City clerk Janice Pendley swore Jenkins in during the meeting Thursday.
“I just decided I wanted to do it,” Jenkins said in hopes of being a voice for the people in his area. “... I’m going to try and find out who all is in my district, go talk to them and just see what everybody’s thoughts are.”
In other news, the council:
•heard from the different department heads.
Police Chief Jason Richardson updated council members on the different pharmacy break-ins, saying work is still in progress on the break-ins of both Vickers Pharmacy and Kenneth Guin Drug stores but the Strickland Drug burglary is finally solved.
“It’s been months, but we finally got the DNA back the other day and we know who did it,” Richardson said. “All we have left to do is take out warrants on him and trying to find him. ... The sooner we do that, the sooner we can get him in custody and start getting justice for Strickland Drugs.”
Richardson added that numerous arrests and citations have been made since the last council meeting and that overtime has been cut from all police officers and dispatchers. Frankie Brand, who is originally from Fayette County with 14 years of experience in law enforcement, was also hired as a part-time police officer during Thursday’s meeting.
Fire Chief Buddy Smith said everything is running “smoothly” at the fire department with only one radio down; however, the duplex on the radio tower located at the old jr. high school is still in need of repairs.
Alan May, head of the street department, brought council members a quote on a new garbage truck for the city. It’s the same type of truck the city has currently, just a newer model.
May added that there are also two tractors broken down at the moment, and the department is still in need of a bush hog.
May said there have been many issues with the current garbage truck, costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars in repairs from time to time. After some discussion, council members voted to purchase a new truck for $141,721.39 from Ingram Equipment Company, LLC.
•voted to raise garbage pickup for citizens, not including businesses, from $9.75 a month to $12.75 a month.
“Right now we’re picking the garbage up two times a week for $9.75. The county only picks it up once a week for $14.75. We’re doing twice the work for a lot less money than what everybody else [is doing], and that’s one thing that’s wearing our trucks out faster,” Chambers said.
Garbage will continue to be picked up twice a week, only the rate will change.
•voted to put up a street light around Gene Bradley’s residence.
•voted to transfer money from the alcohol fund to the general fund in order to pay $1,200 for having the property of the old elementary and jr. high school surveyed.
Chambers added toward the end of the meeting that the survey will be taken to attorney Brent Thornley and hopefully have the land back in the city’s hands within the next two weeks.
•voted to add Flo Knight to the city’s park and recreation board.
•heard from Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson who said that after having a discussion with pool director Christy Parr, the Carbon Hill Swimming Pool will be open one day soon for council members, city employees and their families to come, cook out and enjoy a day at the pool.
•heard from resident Vegas White who had a complaint against police officer Jonnathan Yerby. District 2 council member Jack Dunn informed White that she would need to file the complaint with Chief Richardson.
After the meeting, Pendley released information regarding Carbon Hill’s Hillfest 2013.
The festival raised $3,097 last fall, and the city was promised that the proceeds would be used on a project that the city’s businesses would decide on.
Pendley noted that businesses voted to have the old street lights replaced with new ones in the downtown area.