Council readies for Foothills Festival
by Ron Harris
Jul 17, 2013 | 2224 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper City Council members agreed Tuesday to allow Mayor Sonny Posey to sign contracts with the musical acts that have been booked for the city’s Foothills Festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7, in downtown Jasper.

Headlining the one-day festival is former ‘American Idol’ runner-up Bo Bice and Brian Howe, former lead singer of the heavy metal band Bad Company.

The day kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with the Corner High School Theater Academy presenting a 1960’s Cabaret, with music from Motown to the Beatles. From 1 until 2 p.m., southern bluegrass band Rolling in the Hay will perform.

From 2:30 until 3:30 p.m., Jasper’s own Copperline, a four-piece country band, will perform.

At 4 p.m., Within Reason, a Birmingham-based rock band, will take the stage. The band, which features a fusion of several musical genres, was among those to walk the red carpet at this year’s Grammy Awards.

From 5 until 6 p.m., a musical ensemble of local children will perform.

At 6:30 p.m., Lynam, another Birmingham-based rock band, will be on stage.

Bice will take the stage from 8 until 9 p.m., followed at 9:30 by Howe.

“It’s a pretty amazing lineup,” council member Gary Cowen said.

Festival organizers say they’re expecting several thousand people to attend the one-day event.

Later in the meeting, the council discussed the city’s special events license, which costs $150 per day, per event, and alcohol licenses, which applies to events such as the Foothills Festival. The special events license fee was already in place, according to city attorney Russ Robertson.

The council also approved allowing city workers to begin watering flowers belonging to businesses in the downtown district.

The topic led to a heated discussion between council members during a council work session Monday afternoon, but when council members voted on the measure during Tuesday’s meeting, it unanimously passed.

“It’s legal to do it,” city engineer Joe Matthews said of watering the plants, provided they’re located on the right-of-way.

Matthews said the city will begin doing so on a trial basis for the next three months and will monitor the cost to make sure the city isn’t financially strained by doing so. Businesses wishing to participate must also sign contracts stating that the city won’t be held liable for plants or flowers that die.

Businesses wishing to take part must also be along the current route used to water the city’s hanging baskets.

“I think it’s a good idea to try it,” Cowen said, “but if it gets too costly we may have to drop back and punt. For the overall benefit, I think it’s a good idea.”

In other business Tuesday, the council:

•approved the minutes from the July 2 meeting.

•approved a request from Jenny Sayles, representing the Downtown Business Association, to close certain roads in downtown Jasper on Aug. 2, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1 as part of the association’s First Friday program. “These events have been successful in other city’s such as Gadsden and Florence,” Sayles said.

The First Friday event is part of the Main Street Alabama program.

The road closures will be from 4:30 until 8 p.m.

•approved city purchasing agent Tommy Knight’s request to reject a bid for tires, tubes and service from GCR Bridgestone — the lone bidder — in order to negotiate for a better price. The council also approved Knight’s request to send out bid invitations for grounds maintenance for the city’s Public Works Department.

•introduced an amendment to the city’s budget.

City clerk Kathy Chambless also updated the council on the city’s quarterly financial report. Chambless said the city has experienced a $2 million increase in revenue.

“That will be the money that will be available for the city’s infrastructure projects,” she said.

The city’s expenses, she said, have stayed in line with what had been budgeted.

“We only found a couple of trouble spots, and we’re looking at those,” she told council members, adding that the city’s operating expenses have risen about $200,000.

“I think this is a good financial condition that we’re currently in,” she said, “and we should be able to do some good things coming up soon.”