A new face joined the Ranburne Town Council Monday night when Christie Ayers was sworn by Mayor Rodney Brown to fill a vacancy on the council.
The open seat on the council resulted when Councilwoman Samantha Smith ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year — the first municipal election in the town in 28 years. After the election, Smith decided to not pursue her former seat on the council which then resulted in the vacancy.
Speaking on Wednesday, Brown said that Ayers had been approved as the newest council member and Monday’s night swearing-in was ceremonial.
“I think Christie is going to be a really good fit. ... Christie has been a member of the community, she teaches school, she is valuable to the community,” Brown said.
In other business the council approved a proclamation designating March as Developmental Disability Awareness month. Tara Morgan, a board member with The ARC of Calhoun and Cleburne County, addressed the council the mayor said.
Council members also heard from Najsha Corbett from the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission to learn about applying for a grant for the town’s senior center. According to Brown, a grant had been applied for to aid the senior center but it had never developed.
Brown mentioned also that the town has a new logo, courtesy of Ranburne resident Beverly Smith, who designed it. Brown had asked anyone to submit logos last year and Smith was the only one who turned one in.
The council discussed having John DeLoach, a certified public accountant with DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, PC, to assist the town with an upcoming audit. Brown said that DeLoach will work with town clerk Pamela Thompson on that matter.
The council also discussed establishing a planning commission and zoning board for Ranburne.
“Next month by means of an ordinance we’re going to establish this planning commission and zoning board because Ranburne doesn't have one,” said Brown, who introduced the idea.
Brown said there are no zoning laws currently on the books in Ranburne.
“All towns in the state of Alabama are required by the state of Alabama under code, you’ve got to have a nine-member planning commission and a five-member zoning board of adjustments in order to have zoning in your town,” said Brown.
Brown said he’s been working with both the league of municipalities and the East Alabama commission to aid the town with the town establishment of the new boards.
The council also approved:
— $2,500 to buy a flag pole to be erected at town hall. Brown hopes to get a flag for the city that has flown above the U.S. Capitol building.
— $500 for the police department to board up the old town jail at the police department because it is no longer in use. The area will be used to store evidence.
— Approved a new mileage reimbursement rate of 56 cents per mile for town employees. Previously the rate was 37-and-a-half cents.