The budget request came up at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday.
The money would pay four employees to work July, August and September maintaining and cleaning the city-owned parking lots downtown. But Councilman Ben Little expressed concern about making the addition when there are other needs in the city that need to be addressed.
“As we’re talking about amending the budget, we have a paving issue that’s coming up,” Little said. “We have gullies and valleys in the roads and we can’t get any money to pave them.”
Little said he wouldn’t vote for adding the employees before the city found more money for paving.
At the June 12 meeting, the Public Works Department proposed a paving plan that councilmen later tabled. That plan would use between $250,000 and $275,000 in gas tax money to pave more than 31,000 square yards of road deemed “very poor” in city engineer inspections.
Little and Councilman Herbert Palmore had different ideas of the roads that should be paved and the council postponed taking action on the matter. They didn’t discuss it further at Tuesday’s meeting.
Palmore also said the money should be put into road paving.
“I have no problem with maintaining the appearance of the city,” Palmore said. “But there are problems that Little brought up that I have concerns with and I did last council meeting. There are streets that need paving.
Hoyt told the councilmen said he would spend whatever the councilmen allocate on street paving.
“I have no problem with that,” Hoyt said. “But you’ve got to understand that it is coming from the reserves. What we have to spend on paving now is in the budget.”
But Mayor Gene Robinson said he did have a problem with it.
“That smacks of discretionary funds,” Robinson said.
Street paving needs to be included in the city’s five-year capital plan along with all the other maintenance the city requires, he said.
“We are talking about taking money from the reserves?” Robinson said. “That should be invested for our future. We should nary touch our reserves unless we’re in dire straits.”
In other business, the council approved changes to the Anniston zoning map classifying areas for use as they are scheduled in the master plan. In addition, the council approved a development plan for the McClellan research and industrial parks that will streamline the approval process for potential buyers.
But the debate over the issues became heated. Little said the property is not the city’s to develop.
“That place belongs to the Indians, anyhow,” Little said. “You go ahead on and improve it as much as you can and like I said, when you do all that, they’ll come in with the law that this community knows, that Defense Department knows, the federal government knows, they’ll come and say, ‘Me wantum property.’”
Little has claimed in the past that McClellan actually belongs to the Creek Indians whose ancestors lived in Calhoun County centuries ago. Except for a visit to the area at Little’s request in 2009, Creek officials have not made any public move to claim the land.
Asked Tuesday whether he was in contact with Creek officials, Little would say only that he is “talking to some people in Oklahoma.”
Little said he didn’t think his comment at the meeting was offensive and that “it wasn’t meant to offend anyone.”
Palmore abstained from voting on both of motions and Little voted against the development plan for the parks.
In a 3-2 vote appointed Jennifer Downey as permanent municipal judge. Little and Palmore voted against the appointment.
Voted 4-1 to donate $5,000 to Rumble on Noble. Little voted no.
Unanimously approved donating $124,000 to the Calhoun Cleburne Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.
Approved a policy to include bicycle lanes and sidewalk into road maintenance and new development plans