Council split on opening city’s pool
by Briana Webster
Apr 09, 2014 | 1527 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARBON HILL — In a 3-2 vote, the Carbon Hill city council members didn’t necessarily share similar opinions on opening the city’s pool this summer.

According to Alan May, the head of the street and garbage department, part of the wall on the deep side of the swimming pool is falling apart. However, when the pool is filled with water, the pressure from the water helps to hold that particular area in place.

“We drilled that out last year and put concrete back in there. Parts of that wall have washed out, and you could move the wall last year,” May said. “When you fill it up, the pressure will help hold the wall.”

The swimming pool was part of the New Deal that the Works Progress Administration had built in the 1930s. Documents have cited that the size of the pool is 70 by 135 feet and will hold up to 400,000 gallons of water.

“It leaks on that side really bad and over the years, it’s washed all the dirt and gravel out from under the side of that wall. I’m just concerned that it might fall, but when you fill up the pool with water it’s going to hold pressure to hold the wall up,” May said. “ ... It would cost a ton [to repair]. You’d have to undermine that whole side of the pool under the sidewalk, the road and everything. We could build a new pool for what it would cost to fix it. It would be nice to keep it going though.” 

District 3 council member Terry Mason asked May if it was unsafe for residents of the community. May replied saying, “I think so. I mean, you could fall.”

Another council member, District 5 representative Suzanne Atkins, made a motion to open the pool this summer so kids will have a place to go and enjoy themselves.

“These kids don’t have anything to do but get in trouble. If we allow idle hands, they’re the devil’s workshop,” she said.

The council voted three-to-two, with Mason voting no until the pool is filled with water and mayor pro tem James “Jimbo” Bray Jr. abstaining from the vote.

In other business, the council: 

•heard from Lt. Jason Richardson of the police department who said since the last city council meeting, 15 arrests had been made. He also added that there are a few suspects lined up to question about the two pharmacy break-ins that occurred over the weekend.

•voted to help two local churches with their Easter egg hunts. Mason said the city could divide the eggs they’ve purchased and distribute them evenly to both churches to help rather than to take away from their celebrations.

•tabled an issue concerning junk yards in the city, regarding their proximity to houses, churches, etc. Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson said they could discuss this issue and others at the next city workshop meeting scheduled for Monday, April 14, at 6 p.m.

•discussed having the police speak with a couple of residents about moving two vehicles on their property. One is close to blocking a stop sign at an intersection in the city and the other is “an eyesore,” as one council member said.

•went into executive session. No action was made upon the council’s return.

•District 4 council member Mark Chambers made a motion to raise the salary to $1 more an hour for the street department, fire chief Buddy Smith, Lt. Richardson, Sgt. Tim Walter and officer Kieffer Guthrie. The council agreed unanimously in voting for the raise.

•asked May to remove old tires from one of the ballparks.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Richardson made the request to allow his attorney Ken Guin to speak on his behalf for a moment.

Bray and other council members said Guin was not allowed to speak because he was not placed on the agenda before hand. This caused a resident to voice his opinion from the audience about being able to approach the council and the crowd in a public forum.

Bray asked for the resident to be escorted out, but Richardson said Bray did not have the authority to do so. When Bray said he did, Guin piped up and told Richardson, “As your lawyer, he [Bray] does not have that authority.” 

From that point, tempers flared and police stepped in to separate Bray and Guin. Bray said that Richardson is breaking the terms of his bond agreement. Guin said Richardson is following the orders that Judge Doug Farris told him to do.

“Jimbo, you don’t even know what you’re talking about. You’re just showing your ignorance,” Guin said.

Afterward Bray said, “I’ve got to go by the judge’s bond, the orders filed through the circuit clerk’s office, not a letterhead from Ken Guin’s office. That is not filed at the circuit clerk’s office and not an order by the judge. I don’t go by hearsay; I’ve got to go by the paperwork that I’ve been given.

“I did go to the judge’s office, and his secretary sent me down to the DA’s office. The DA’s office in turn gave me a piece of paper to contact the investigator with the attorney general’s office that’s been doing the investigation on this,” he continued. “I finally got in contact with him. He was supposed to be here Friday or Monday, and he didn’t show up. I called back today, and they told us that he was headed to Walker County to take care of some problems.”