The Jacksonville City Council has a new member.

In their meeting Monday night, council members voted to appoint Terry Wilson to fill the vacancy left by Jimmy Harrell, who resigned June 10 to move to Athens and take another position with the Alabama State Troopers.

“I’d like to give a special thank you to Terry,” Jacksonville Mayor Johnny Smith said. “I look forward to working with him, and I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”

Wilson, who currently serves on the city’s Housing Authority Board and Board of Adjustment, was unanimously approved by the four members of the council after being nominated for vote consideration by Councilman Jerry Parris.

Also receiving nominations were Ricky Whaley and Andrew Green. The council originally received 14 applications for the vacancy.

“We would like to thank all of those who showed interest in the city,” Council President Sandra Sudduth said. “We’ll definitely keep your names and put you on our boards.”

According to his résumé submitted to the council, Wilson has been a resident of Jacksonville for 51 years after graduating from Jacksonville State University. 

During the work session prior to the meeting, the council decided to stop pursuing a possible program that would require annual city-facilitated inspections for all rental properties within the city.

The idea of rental inspections was first brought before the council at a meeting in January, with the city’s building department was tasked with researching a plan that might work for Jacksonville. 

Mark Williams, the city’s building inspector, brought a draft plan to the council, but recommended against implementing the program.

“Personally, I see more negative than I do positive,” Williams told the council.

According to the draft plan, rental units would have been required to be inspected annually at a $50 fee for landlords to receive a “certificate of occupancy,” without which they could not allow tenants to occupy the property. The inspection would be deferred until a rental unit became unoccupied if a tenant lived in a property at the time it was due for an inspection.

Similar systems have been implemented in Anniston and Gadsden, but Williams said Jacksonville would face issues as a college town, where rental units often change tenants at the same time as students move in for a new school year.

“I don’t think there would be as many issues if we weren’t a college town,” Williams said. 

Williams said that most rental properties in the city have been in good shape anyway, and cited the maintenance staff at some properties who take care of rental units regularly.

Instead of requiring inspections, Sudduth suggested encouraging tenants of rental properties to report any issues to the city.

In other business, the council:

- Approved the addition of two stop signs on Seventh Street and the removal of the traffic regulation that prevented left turns in the outlets from Effina’s restaurant and the city’s post office on to Mountain Street.

- Approved the liquor license application of Shedrick Ridley for Brother’s Bar.

- Approved an amendment to the job description for fire marshal to make the position a 40-hour per week job and remove the requirement that applicants have a college degree.

Contact Staff Writer Daniel Mayes at 256-235-3561 or danielmayesstar@gmail.com. On Twitter @DMayes_Star.

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