The council also agreed to hire a long-term recovery manager at no expense to the city.
The eight-member grocery store committee is expected to work alongside the council and the city’s Economic and Industrial Development Authority, formerly known as the Industrial Development Board, to oversee the construction project.
The state recently awarded the city a $1.4 million Community Development Block Grant to help rebuild a grocery store.
“They (EIDA) will be the owner of the property and the owner of the building and they will collect the rent, but the project itself is the responsibility of the city,” Mayor Drew Gilbert said.
Gilbert recommended creating the committee, which he described as both a joint task force and a think tank.
It will be composed of representatives from the council, EIDA and the Long Term Recovery Committee as well as prospective grocer Mark Bozeman.
Gilbert said the committee would meet biweekly and report to grant administrator Peggy Matthews of Huntsville-based Community Consultants.
The council appointed Bozeman, Lauren Vance, J.J. Johnson, Bobby Busby, Mike Gilbert, Rhonda Hitchcock, Josh Bagwell and Dean Harbison to the grocery store committee.
Harbison, the city’s disaster recovery coordinator, also gave the council an update on downtown demolition.
Earlier this month, city officials learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has released funds for demolition.
FEMA representatives later told the Associated Press that the city will be receiving $840,000 for the project, which will be reimbursed through the state EMA.
Harbison said the bid documents have now been approved by city attorney Ken Guin, and the project is ready to be put out to bid.
The council voted to allow LTRC to proceed with the bidding process. Further details, including dates, are not yet available.
Regarding a long-term recovery manager, Gilbert said a grant for the individual’s full salary is available through the Walker Area Community Foundation.
He added that a candidate is already on board who has the skills set necessary for the role, including a background in planning.
“It’s really a very vital role for the city at this point. As we build back, you have to have a plan for what you’re doing. This would be somebody who would be on the ground daily implementing those plans,” Gilbert said.
In other action, the council
•appointed Roger Moore as court clerk/magistrate.
The position has been vacant since Nov. 13, when Leanne Dawkins was promoted to city clerk. Moore, a police officer, temporarily stepped into the role while city officials were having difficulty transferring his certification from Tennessee to Alabama.
The council approved a starting pay of $13.50 per hour with a raise to $14.50 per hour after Moore receives two years of certification.
•learned from Harbison, the city’s fire chief, that the fire department will have address signs available by the spring for residents within the city limits.
“It’s just a numerical reflective sign that can be placed at your mailbox, on your house or in your yard,” Harbison said. “It’s not a requirement. It’s a free service. We provide the sign and can do a home inspection for fire safety if you’d like.”
•received an update on two community storm shelters that the city has been seeking for nearly two years.
Harbison said funding was recently approved for both shelters, which will be located on School Road behind the old Cordova High School and on Columbus Street East near Mount Zion Baptist Church.
•heard a report on the police department from chief Nick Smith.
The department added five Chevrolet Tahoes to its fleet on Tuesday.
At the council’s last meeting, members agreed to surplus all police vehicles except two and use the proceeds to purchase the Tahoes from Hoover PD.
Gilbert said the city received slightly less than $46,000 from bidders as well as an insurance settlement on a Tahoe that was recently totaled in an accident.
Smith told the council that the city attorney recently completed an inventory of police evidence, which will be provided to members at the Feb. 12 meeting. Assistant chief Zak Green has been placed in charge of evidence at the department.
Smith said he enrolled the department in the 10-33 program, which allows law enforcement agencies to receive surplus military vehicles and other equipment.
Smith also informed the council about an organizational Neighborhood Watch meeting that will be held today at 7 p.m. at City Hall.