By Michelle Key

The Opelika City Council and Mayor Gary Fuller discussed an arrangement letter with Critical Insights Consulting, LLC for OPD’s Strategic Initiative during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Ward 5 Councilman Todd Rauch said that he believes that this is just another step in the right direction for the future of Opelika.

“I believe the program that Dr. [Chenavis] Evans and Critical Insights Consulting has put together is all encompassing with solution based initiatives along with its ‘CIC Policing and Me’ curriculum in the Opelika City Schools,” Rauch said.

Ward 1 and Ward 2 Councilmembers, George Allen and Erica Baker-Norris, both had significant questions about the arrangement letter. Allen expressed concerns about moving forward with a second  contract with Evans before seeing results from the first contract that was approved last month.

Following the discussion, the council members voted to approve the arrangement letter with a vote of three yeas and two nays.

Another significant agenda item was the discussion and vote on the Bicycle Pedestrian Plan. Following the discussion, the council voted to approve the plan that has been in the works for several years.

Other business:

– The council recognized the Opelika High School track team as the AHSAA 6A state champions.

– The council recognized the following students who were awarded Killgore scholarships: Charles (Will) Beams, Will Bennett, Max Caldwell, Abigail (Abby) Dixon, Benet Harris, Eleanor Wilson, Braxton Harris, Andrew Harris, Leighanna Howell, Imani Poole and Estefania Valencia.

– Fuller presented a proclamation declaring May 2021 as “Bike Month” to Dr. Shirley Lazenby. She spoke on the bicycle-pedestrian master plan. “This has been a work, 20 years in the making,” Lazenby said.

– A proclamation for the third annual Opelika Giving Day was presented to the Community Foundation of East Alabama

– Stephen Dawe and James Bush were awarded “Atta Boy Awards” by Fuller for their exceptional work.

– The council voted to approve a request for a retail liquor and beer on-premise alcohol license for M & P Enterprise, LLC Dba Zen Steak and Sushi Bar.

– The council approved bids for contracts for OPD uniform cleaning and for weed abatements services.

– The council approved a contract for services with Citibot, Inc. for the IT department.

– The council approved the purchase of a Trane HVAC and humidification air system.

– A request from Sawyer Stephens for a refund of occupational fees that were paid in error was approved.

– The council approved an agreement with John Randall Wilson, Architect, for Environmental Services Facility Project.

– The council also approved an agreement by and among the city of Opelika, the AHSAA, the city of Auburn and the A-O Tourism Bureau for the Super 7 Football Championship games.

– A request for an extension of a tax abatement of sales and use taxes for Jo-Ann Stores, LLC was approved, and they also approved additional tax abatements and exemptions for Jo-Ann Stores, LLC. The company is planning a 5.78-million-dollar expansion of its facility.

– The council voted to approve the construction of a subdivision sign to be located in the right-of-way for Wyndham Village Drive (West).

– The annual MWPP reports for the East and West Sewer Treatment Plants were approved.

– The council approved the annual authorization to levy tax on property located within Opelika.

– The city of Opelika participates in a Bureau of Justice Assistance Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant every year and the council approved the application for participation in the program for the OPD.

– The council approved a special appropriation to the Community Foundation of East Alabama from the Ward 4 reserve fund to help support O Grows and Opelika Theatre Company.

– The council approved an ordinance to revise the city’s stormwater ordinance to meet new ADEM Requirements.

– The council voted to approve a MOU between the city of Opelika and U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Benning for Career Skills Program (CSP) Partnership.

– The council also failed to vote unanimously to suspend the rules requiring two readings on an ordinance to amend Section 5.8.3 of the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. The ordinance will carry over to the next meeting.

The next scheduled council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. Meetings are held in the municipal court building located at 300 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Opelika.