November meeting of the Arley Town Council

ARLEY - Renovations of the former bank building that will become the Arley Smith Lake Senior Outreach Center are set to begin soon, Bob Cooper told the Arley Town Council at its regular monthly meeting on Nov. 7.

Cooper is the treasurer for the senior center committee.

“We are waiting for a dumpster right now, and we’ll do the demo as soon as we get a dumpster,” Cooper said.

The demolition will consist of moving interior walls to create a more open space and adding a larger ADA-compliant bathroom. The exterior back wall will also be removed to allow for the addition of a kitchen, which the committee hopes to eventually use to serve meals through a nutrition program. Cooper estimated that 80-100 people will be able to dine banquet style in the new senior center once it’s open.

Cooper said the construction oversight committee plans to use primarily volunteer labor for most of the renovation work and only hire workers for jobs that require specialized skills. That way, he said, the committee can devote most of the $28,000-$29,000 in funds it has raised for renovations to the purchase of materials.

He said the progress of renovations would depend on the availability of funds and that the committee will not borrow money.

“We’re going to be our own project managers,” he said, noting that Mike Calvert has volunteered to be the foreman for the project.

All volunteers will sign a medical waiver stating that they have medical insurance and that they will not bring a lawsuit if injured while working, Cooper said.

The committee will log the volunteers’ work hours because some matching-fund grants may allow the equivalent labor costs of the those hours to be counted as the committee’s matching funds, he noted.

Council business

Later in the meeting, the council discussed possibly updating the ball park use agreement, which in recent years has granted unlimited use of the facilities for a year for $200.

Council Member Devin Guthrie asked how much the ball park’s lights cost the town.

Mayor Chris Tyree said he had calculated the amount a long time ago and had found the lights were very inexpensive to operate. Town Clerk Tammi Farley said she would find out the current cost.

Tyree noted that there are practices “pretty much every night” now and so the lights are used more often these days.

The council briefly discussed hiring a park manager for Hamner Park.

Tyree announced that the new pickle ball and tennis courts in the park were “all but ready to be used.” They have since opened, and a future edition of the Alabamian will report on the ribbon cutting ceremony held for them.

He said that he doesn’t think the town should let people park in the grass near the courts and that a barrier of some type needs to be placed there. He said he’d also like to build a walkway from the courts’ gate down to the parking lot.

Tyree also told the council that Arley needs to select two people to represent it on the Winston Industrial Development Authority’s board and suggested asking Mike Bailey to be one of the representatives.

Another topic on the agenda was employee incentives. Last year’s incentives were $1,500 per person for a total of $24,832.42, Farley said, noting that the town used some of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for the incentives. She said the town still has $57,098.92 of those funds.

“I think the employees do a good job and do the city proud,” Tyree said, “so I would like to give them an incentive.” He asked the council members if they wanted to use CARES Act funds for employee incentives.

Guthrie said he thought that was a good idea. He moved to give each employee a $1,500 incentive. Bobby Smith seconded the motion and all members voted in favor of it.

Tyree noted that the Arley Christmas parade will be tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Police Chief Jerry Cummings told the council that in October the Arley Police Department had 33 cases, put 4,220 miles on its vehicles and spent $737.57.

Fire Chief James Rickett told the council that the Arley Fire Department had 33 medical calls and eleven fire calls in October. He said two of the department’s trucks were out of service but he hoped to get them both back in working order that week.

He said the department was pressure-testing fire hydrants, which it is required to do every five years, and noted that the red “Stop” signs that were recently installed in front of the department have been replaced with yellow “Stop When Flashing” signs.

He also told the council that the department held Fire Prevention Week in the first week of October and spent a little over $900, all of which had been donated, on materials for elementary students.

“The drug (use) around here is getting crazy,” Rickett added. “We’re handing out this Narcan like candy right now.”

Narcan is a nasal spray that contains naloxone hydrochloride, a medication that reverses the effects of opioids, including fentanyl, oxycodone and heroin. 

“A lot of our (medical) calls are overdoses and drug-related,” Rickett continued. He said the department is buying and wearing special gloves, as well as masks, to prevent personnel from being exposed to fentanyl while on calls.

The next regular meeting of the Arley Town Council was held on Monday, Dec. 5, and a future edition of the Alabamian will report on it.

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