City considers bonus: Retired Opelika employees could receive extra money

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By Alison James
Associate Editor

Tuesday’s council meeting was pretty typical but for two concerns voiced during citizen’s communications.

Willie Andrew Love came before the council to ask members to approve a one-time bonus in October for retired city employees.

The pension bonus would be in line with a bill impacting a bonus for state employees, approved in February of this year. “The bill would allow cities and counties that participate in the state employee pension program to give the bonus to their employees, but the local governments would have to bear the cost,” explains an article by the Associated Press.

“This is everybody’s desire,” said Love, who said he was speaking on behalf of all retired city employees. “We are praying and hoping this is the desire of the council.”

President Pro Tempore Patsy Jones, presiding over the meeting in President Eddie Smith’s absence, said she and the mayor have already been in discussion on the potential bonus.

“We will look at that and how we can do it, if we can in the budget process,” Jones said.

Another citizen with questions and concerns was Oscar Penn, who brought up past instance of racism and illegal activities by a former detective and urged the council to stand strong against past and future bigotry.

“We have people who have worked very hard to bring this city up to par, and we have a lot of things going on that are great in this city,” Penn said. “Someone’s got to be held accountable for (racist acts).”

Four public hearings were held in the matter of weed assessments – 209 25th St., 1108 Chandler Ave., 706 Geneva St., and 12 E. Johnson Ave. No one spoke during the hearings, and each abatement was approved by the council.

The council also:

-approved a road closure for Aug. 2 for a children’s triathlon.

-awarded a bid for a rescue vehicle.

– voted in favor of the purchase of one 2014 Ford F150 for the public works department.

– approved the renewal of an agreement for professional grant writing — “a well spent $23,000 for what we’re getting,” said Councilman David Canon.

– approved an agreement with ALDOT for lighting at exits 60, 62 and 66 on Interstate 85.

– reappointed Marvin Bolinger and Jervis Hairston to the Celebrate Alabama Improvement District Board.

– approved the construction of a balcony for a business on South Eighth Street.

– voted to amend the text of the zoning ordinance.

– voted for rezoning at 1127 Preston Street.

– approved the 2014 Community Development Block Grant and reprogramming of CDBG funds.

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