BY HANNAH LESTER
AUBURN — The Auburn City Council named former Ward 4 Council Member Brett Smith’s replacement, Jennifer Stevens, during Tuesday night’s meeting.
Smith moved to Florida at the end of May, vacating his seat. At the first meeting in June, the council discussed options for Smith’s replacement.
Four Ward 4 Auburn residents expressed interest in finishing Smith’s term until November: Ray Huff, Ethan Purdue, Jennifer Stevens and Brent Beard.
Both Huff and Beard were nominated by council members on June 7.
The council could not agree on a replacement, however, voting 4 to 3. There must be a five-member majority to approve a candidate. Ward 6 Council Member Bob Parsons was absent from the meeting.
Huff was nominated by Ward 5 Council Member Steven Dixon during the last council’s committee of the whole meeting and Beard was nominated by Mayor Ron Anders.
Beard is a former Auburn City Council Member who served four previous terms. He chose not to run in 2018.
Huff is an Auburn businessman who has also served on several boards and commissions before, said Ward 2 Council Member Kelley Griswold.
Ward 6 Council Member Bob Parsons was back at Tuesday’s meeting, leading to a five-member majority when voting.
To open the committee of the whole meeting, Anders nominated a third candidate, Jennifer Stevens.
“Jennifer has lived in Ward 4 for 28 years,” he said, along with being involved in numerous ways in the community.
Ward 3 Council Member Beth Witten said she met with Stevens and believes her background in finance will be beneficial to the council.
“I think she would also add, at least in the interim, some additional diversity to the council,” she said.
Huff was also re-nominated by Griswold.
“Being under the redistricting, he is in new Ward 4, which gives them an opportunity to be represented by one of their own,” Griswold said. “I’m confident in his abilities and decision-making.”
Beard was not renominated.
The vote carried five to three in favor of Stevens. Witten, Anders, Parsons, Ward 7 Council Member Jay Hovey and Ward 8 Council Member Tommy Dawson voted in favor of Stevens, while Ward 1 Council Member Connie Fitch Taylor, Griswold and Dixon voted for Huff.
“I want to, again, echo what you’ve heard from some of the other council people,” Anders said. “I appreciate all four individuals being willing to serve our city in this unique manner. This does not happen very often and we were blessed to have four people who were interested in serving.”
City Manager Megan Crouch said that Stevens would likely be sworn in Wednesday, June 22, which would begin the first day of her interim term.
The council postponed a discussion on the FY2023/FY2024 Biennial Budget at Tuesday night’s meeting after Anders denied unanimous consent. The item will be brought back before the council on July 5.
From the city’s documents, for FY2023, the proposed budgeted revenue includes $119,579,779, while other sources constitute $767,250 for a total of $119,346,029. FY2024 includes $120,912,853 in budgeted revenue with $771,250 in other financing sources for a total of $121,684,103.
The total expenditures for FY2023 is $139,776,049, while for FY2024, the amount is $128,777,816.
However, the council did vote to amend the FY 2021/FY 2022 mid-biennial budget during the meeting.
The budget was increased by $20,380,168 and the expenditures decreased by $11,609,061.
Overall, this means an increase in the budget by $8,771,107.
A more in-depth story on the budget to come.
– The council approved an alcohol beverage license for Ponko Chicken at 2111 S. College St.
– The council approved a contract for the 2022 Roadway and Capital Improvements Reimbursement.
– The council approved a contract with the Auburn Game Day Law Enforcement Corporation, area law enforcement agencies and Auburn University to provide law enforcement for university events from Aug. 1, 2022, to July 31, 2023.
– The council approved a contract with Barge Design Solutions for Task Order 31 for professional consulting engineering services for the Auburn University Sewer Sub-Basin — FY22 SSES Project for over $120,000.
– The council approved a contract with Barge Design Solutions for Task Order 32 for the North Auburn Sewer System — FY22 SSES Project for over $195,600.
– The council approved a contract with the Smiths Station Fire and Rescue Authority for an Osage Super Warrior Rescue Truck for $90,000.
– The council approved a contract with South Dade Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Inc. d/b/a SDAC for the Richland Road Sidewalk Project for over $249,100.
– The council approved right-of-way and draining and utility easements for Brandon Bolt on behalf of Bison Trust for the Plainsman Subdivision for the Connector Road Dedication.
– The council approved drainage and utility easements for the East Lake Homeowners’ Association for compensation of over $2,900.
– The council did not approve an annexation for 2692 Lee Road 47.
– The council approved an annexation for 250 Lee Road 008.
– The council approved the installation of three stop signs and a 25 MPH sign in the Chapel Heights Subdivision.
– The council approved the conditional use approval for Hydro Engineering Solutions for Greystone of Auburn, LLC, for a bank with a drive-thru at 1600 E. Samford Ave.
– The council postponed a conditional use approval for a Circle K gas station at the southwest corner of Shelton Mill Road and US Highway 280 for John Cowden on behalf of WWS Properties, LLC until July 5.
– The council approved a conditional use approval for a Rusty Barrel Package Store at 200 W. Glenn Ave. for Kaleigh Patel on behalf of Cox Properties-AL, LLC.