Council votes to dissolve Piedmont Commercial Development Authority

PIEDMONT — The Piedmont City Council voted at its Tuesday night meeting to dissolve the city’s commercial development authority.

In a move that surprised some members of the council, Councilman Bobby Hardin made the motion to dissolve the authority during his time to give a report. The issue was not on the agenda for the meeting.

“I just don’t think it’s needed,” Hardin said when asked why by Councilman Matt Rogers. “We can do everything they can do. I just really don’t want to get into it.”

Rogers was one of three “no” votes, along with Mayor Bill Baker and Councilwoman Millie Bramblett. Five favored dissolving the board.

“I didn’t know this was going to come up tonight,” Baker said. “I think we need to look into all the work they put in for the city.”

Formed in 2001 as a municipal corporation, the authority recruits businesses to come to the city. Baker cited the recent announcement of the board’s negotiations to bring a Burger King to town as an example of its work.

That status as a separate corporation may require that the board itself also vote to dissolve, according to city attorney Ron Allen. 

“The board needs to vote to dissolve itself also,” Allen told the council after the vote. “I would need to look into the code section to see the proper way to dissolve it.”

“I can almost assure you that the board will not vote to dissolve itself,” said Lane Weatherbee, chairman of the authority. 

Weatherbee was not in attendance at the meeting, and said by phone afterwards that he was not aware of any wish among the council to dissolve the board. 

“I can’t imagine what would have caused this,” Weatherbee said. “We’ve been working very hard for the city.”

Councilman Greg South said that a lack of organization in the board played a role in his decision to vote for its dissolution, citing a lack of regular meetings.

“There’s been a lot of confusion on the board since it’s been put together,” South said. “I feel like Piedmont can be better.”

During the meeting, the council was also introduced to the school resource officers who will begin serving at Piedmont’s schools.

Zonna Forrister is set to serve at campuses that house Piedmont’s third through eighth grades, while Lee Terry will be the officer for the high school. The two currently serve as police officers in the city.

Christian Crider is set to take over as animal control officer.