“I just want to be clear,” Council member Bill Fowler said, “this isn’t about what we want, it isn’t an option, it’s what we have to do, by law.”
Mayor Petey Ellis and City Clerk Judy Glover reaffirmed to the council that they must have an alcohol vote, regardless of their personal feelings on it.
“It makes no difference what I, as the mayor, think, or what you as individuals think as city councilmen,” Ellis said. “If you’re for it, it doesn’t matter. If you’re against it, it doesn’t matter. This is the law and that’s what we’re doing.”
No date has been set for the referendum vote, although it will likely be after the March primary. Ellis recommended separating the vote from the the primary because Sumiton serves as a polling place for many residents who don’t live in the city limits and separating them could cause issues with the voting process.
In other business:
•The council discussed the need for new water meters. Of the approximately 2,200 customers who rely on Sumiton Water Works for their residential and commercial water, the city knows at least 700 are malfunctioning or not working at all. This results in large losses for the water department each month.
As the brass meters age, Ellis explained, they become less effective at reading the amount of water passing through. The usual life of a brass water meter is 10 to 15 years. Sumiton’s meters are at the end of their lifecycle and, further complicating the issue, will be unavailable for purchase or repair in two years, due to new federal statutes.
The council voted to allow Ellis to begin the process of getting bids and estimates, as well as looking into financing options for the project.
•The council voted to get estimates on paving the roads in the Hayfield subdivision, although they cautioned residents that it won’t be a quick process. Due to drainage issues, the project will have to wait until the weather is drier, possibly in mid-summer.
•Sumiton Elementary principal Paige Skalnik addressed the council about implementing a program called “The Leader in Me” at the school. The program uses the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” as a base for teaching students to take responsibility for their actions and become leaders in the community.
The council asked Skalnik to put together a proposal detailing exactly what she needed for the program and the cost and bring it back for approval.
•The council has finalized the deal for the property off Bryan Road that will house the city’s new fire station in the future.
The city and fire department will now begin the surveying process and decide what steps need to be taken to move forward on the property.