By Michelle Key
During the Aug. 21 meeting of the Opelika City Council, council members voted unanimously to approve the conveyance of the newly developed Henry and Rosyln Stern Community Park to the City of Opelika. J. and Ginger Stern, son and daughter of Henry and Roslyn, were recognized by Mayor Gary Fuller and were honored for their generosity in the donation of this park.
“On behalf of the City council and all the citizens that benefit from your kindness. I want to thank J. and Ginger for donating Stern Park to the city. The Henry J. Stern Family Foundation continues to contribute great things to our city,” Fuller said. “This new park features a walking path, a fenced in dog park area, a picnic area, a little free library, a clock tower and of course, the caboose. J. and Ginger, this park will bring joy to young folks and to old folks for years to come.”
The park has been under development during the last year. There will be an official ribbon cutting Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. for the park, which is located at 409 1st Ave.
In other business, the Opelika Housing Authority presented the city with a check in the amount of $60,000 to be used to help outfit the bus for the Opelika Mobile Wellness Clinic. The bus was donated by First Transit and will take approximately $200,000 to fully convert for use as a mobile clinic.
“We just want to say that OHA is committed to the betterment of projects that the city undertakes. We are sure that it will serve our residents well as well as other residents throughout the city,” said Henrietta Snipes, Chair of Opelika Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
Donations can be made online at EAMC.org. Click on the blue DONATE button and select “Opelika Neighborhood Mobile Clinic” from the menu on the left-hand side of the page.
Also during the meeting, Sgt. Craig Vickers was recognized as Opelika City Police Officer of the Quarter and Fuller recognized the “20-Under-40” Class of 2019.
Fuller also recognized Leigh Krehling for her work with the United Way.” At the time of the meeting, he announced that combined donations and pledges totaled $32,183.16 for the organization.
During the citizen’s communication portion of the meeting, the council heard from concern citizens over the continued use of Morris Avenue by big trucks. There was an Ordinance to Amend City Code of Ordinances, Chapter 16 to Add a New Article XVI Entitled “Truck Routes” introduced during the work session, but the council decided to table that until the Sept. 4 meeting in order for all council members to have time to study the proposed changes before adding it to the agenda.
“This is a big deal. We need to make sure that we understand what we are reading and approving,” said Eddie Smith, President of City Council. “We want to make sure that we get it right.”
The proposed changes would correct some of the wording in the existing ordinance that makes the prohibited trucks routes too broad due to lack of clearly defining what a “prohibited truck” is. Exceptions for government vehicles and in town delivery of goods would also be added.
Also tabled during the work session was a resolution for an employment contract for a head swimming coach. These two items will be reintroduced during the work session for the Sept. 4 meeting.
In other business, the council:
• Approved designation of the city’s personal property surplus and authorized the purchase of street lights with cameras for $154,702.64.
•Approved weed abatement assessments for properties located at:
– Parcel 72 Bay Court
– 205 Vero Court
– 810 Williamson Ave.
– 814 Donald Ave.
• Approved a Service Agreement for Grant Writer to assist the city in securing grant assistance. This service is to be provided for a period of one year commencing Aug. 17, 2018 and ending Aug. 16, 2019 at an annual fee of $20,000.
• Approved a personal property lease agreement with Heritage Baptist Church. This agreement provides for the rental and use of chairs and room dividers owned by Heritage Baptist Church during the times that the Opelika Municipal Court is meeting at the Southside Center for the Arts due to the renovation of the current municipal facilities.
– Approved an resolution approving agreement for professional services with Constantine Engineering, Inc. to update and re-write the Public Works Manual; the Subdivision regulations for an amount not to exceed $25,000
• Approved the change order from CAM Builders, LLC, for the construction of the new fire station. The additional cost of these changes is $166,629.13. (approximately 5.8 percent)
• Approved a resolution to approve amendment to the service agreement with Icotech, Inc. For security maintenance and support for a term of three years at the rate of $27,610 per year
• Approved Ordinance to Amend City Code, Chapter 10 Subsection 10-57 (G), lawn care services
• Approved Ordinance to Amend City Code, Chapter 14, Door to Door Solicitation
• Approved ordinance to adjust compensation of the Mayor and City Council. The updated salary for the position of Mayor will be raised to $120,000 the President of the Council’s salary will be raised to $14,400 and the remaining council members will be raised to $13,200. These increases will not go into effect until Nov. 2, 2020.