OXFORD — Officials will seek outside help dealing with an unsightly problem in two lakes at city parks: slimy algae.
The City Council on Tuesday approved a contract that’ll pay the Guntersville-based Aqua Services $16,195 to keep Oxford Lake and Choccolocco Lake — at the city’s new sports complex — free of the green stuff for the next year.
Council President Chris Spurlin said paying a company for such a service is a move the city’s leaders have made before.
“The algae gets pretty bad if we don’t treat it,” Spurlin said before the council’s meeting. The lakes have been treated once already this year, he said.
Council members also on Tuesday approved a contract that’ll see a local TV news station sell advertisements and create promotional commercials for Oxford.
WEAC-TV24 got that contract, the sole bidder for it. The station’s office is in Oxford. Its staff will sell ads and sponsorships to local businesses for use generally by the city, such as on screens at Choccolocco Park, and in the Oxford Access magazine, receiving between a 30 percent and 50 percent commission on those sales.
City officials also agreed to spend $3,750 each month on video production with the station, according to the contract approved Tuesday. That equates to 150 30-second commercials each month, Marketing Department director Emil Loeken said, though negotiations between the city and the station’s manager indicate that live coverage of city events may be included, as well.
Mayor Alton Craft told council members that ad sales had been made by a staff of two in Loeken’s department. That work distracts from what could be done with Oxford Access, Spurlin said.
Craft also said that the city looks to partner with Oxford City Schools in producing the promotional content, perhaps offering high schoolers internships.
Council members also heard updates on staffing plans for a new fire station in the Friendship community, and on big road projects planned in the city.
The new station might open the first week of June, and Fire Chief Gary Sparks said he planned to staff it with three firefighters. With shift rotations, that means beginning in October, the station may be staffed by only two firefighters, he said.
“Safety-wise, it’s better to have three, but we felt like this would work for us, budget-wise,” Sparks said. He plans to ask the City Council for the money to hire three more firefighters in October, but said any that he can move to the Friendship station would be better than the number he has there now — which is zero.
Craft told council members that a long-planned drainage and resurfacing project on Snow Street might be complete in the fall. The project is partially funded with federal dollars, but the city will chip in between $400,000 and $425,000.
A plan to widen bridges south of I-20 Exit 188, meanwhile, might take three years to finish, the mayor said. Council members greeted that news with displeasure.
“I don’t want to cut any corners ... but we want this done as fast as possible,” Craft said.
In other business, the council:
— Spent $2,445 on live catfish from Davis Fish Farms, to be released into Oxford Lake next week ahead of the Kids Fishing Classic, which is set for May 4.
— Approved two change orders for nearly completed city projects. One, for $4,915, made minor changes to the $1.5 million Friendship fire station; the other was a credit of $19,291 on construction of a new city garage.
— Announced that a National Day of Prayer event would be held all day long on May 4, with the public invited to gather at City Hall to pray.