A meeting of the Anniston City Council called by councilmen Ben Little and David Reddick did not go on as planned Monday after the council failed to reach a quorum.
The two councilmen and members of city staff waited about 20 minutes past the start time of a 4 p.m. work session before deciding to carry on discussion and await the rest of the council’s arrival. Both councilmen were leaving their council positions; Little had lost the Oct. 6 runoff election to newcomer Ciara Smith and Reddick had made a losing bid for mayor. At a meeting earlier this month, council members Millie Harris, Jay Jenkins and Mayor Jack Draper voted to cancel the council’s second meeting in October, the meeting that would have been Little and Reddick’s last.
Those three council members were not in attendance during the work session Monday; reached for comment afterward, Draper and Harris both cited a lack of meaningful agenda items on the budget, which included Little’s concerns over a lack of local employment opportunities in the building of a new federal courthouse and the moving of city money from BB&T to another bank. Attempts to reach Jenkins were unsuccessful.
“I didn’t think there was any reason to meet,” Draper said by phone Monday night. “Those issues had been pending for a couple of months, and a new council is taking seat Monday. I felt no pressing need for a meeting.”
During the informal work session, Reddick did mention projects he had hoped to put on the evening’s agenda, including a vote to extend Nashville Street, a road just beyond the intersection of West 21st Street and McDaniel Avenue on Anniston’s west side. Reddick has long advocated for the now-blocked street to be rehabilitated and made into access for the Randolph Park area.
Reddick said he had a four-year plan that would rebuild the road in four sections. He seemed stymied when the rest of the council didn’t arrive.
“I don’t know why they didn’t show up,” Reddick said at the council dais.
Without a quorum, the official meeting could not proceed. Reddick and Little instead capitalized on their final appearance on the dais to discuss city business.
Little used the opportunity to grill City Manager Steven Folks about various city projects and issues one final time. Little claimed that Cheaha Brewing Company, which closed late last year, owed $130,000 of investment money to the city that had yet to be paid back. City Finance Director Julie Borrelli told Little during the work session that none of the money had yet been collected.
Reddick offered advice to Demetric Roberts, who had won Reddick’s Ward 2 council seat and attended the called meeting, including the suggestion to contact the Calhoun County Commission about help creating a pond at Randolph Park, another project Reddick had pressed for over his most recent term in office.
“That project is too far along to let it go now,” Reddick said.
Both men thanked city staff and attendees for coming to the meeting, and voters for giving them the opportunity to serve.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” Reddick told those in attendance. “I’m looking forward to what comes next.”
Little joked about his early morning emails to staff members that had left some wondering when, if ever, the man slept.
“Thank you all so very much. May God bless you and heaven smile upon you,” Little said. “That’s it for me.”