Baker looks forward to 2018

Mayor Bill Baker gives credit to County Commissioner Lee Patterson for obtaining funds for upcoming paving project on East Ladiga Street.

Sherry Kughn

Recently, Mayor Bill Baker discussed his views on the upcoming year. He said he is honored to serve as mayor, and he credits his background in social work for preparing him.

Baker gave credit to county commissioner Lee Patterson for obtaining funds for an upcoming paving project on East Ladiga Street. It will begin at the Farmers & Merchants Bank, go past the former mill toward Vigo, and end at Hilltop, the site of a former grocery store.

“He has done so much for this city,” Baker said. “He has worked on projects with the schools, and he picked right up where the former county commissioner, Rudy Abbott, left off. Also, he is easy to work with.”

Recently, Baker discussed upcoming projects for the year and encouraged local citizens to shop in Piedmont. Doing so keeps the tax base up and provides better services and improvements for the city.

Following is a list of projects the mayor and the city council members propose for 2018 and beyond:

• Improvements are planned for a filter at the water plant on U.S. 278 if the grant comes through. The plant needs new switches, pumps, and motors, which have not been replaced since 1974. The well at the site provides half of the water for the city, and Baker would like to see a second well developed there.

*The city will use the Alabama Municipal Electrical Authority money, $20,000, to erect another pavilion at Veterans Park. Baker would also like to see a stage erected there this year or in an upcoming year.

*Work will continue on the long term project to replace gas lines.

*The wastewater plant will see a replacement of old aerators with new ones.

*Work will continue on the electrical substations. The goal is to tie them together in case one goes out and needs for the other to meet the city’s needs.

*City offices need new software, which will make it easier for customers to pay utility bills. City officials are seeking bids.

*The city will spend $200,000 for removing rust and repainting the water tank. Workers are dismantling an unused tank.

*The ground is ready for the new golf driving range. City employees removed a few utility wires that would have interfered with play. City employees are moving in a portable building on the site, and the city is purchasing equipment for the range.

*Baker encourages senior citizens to take part in the activities at the Civic Center, especially new residents. Members are taking trips each year, and pickle ball is a favorite activity.

*The Aquatic Center continues to be popular, even drawing in residents from outside the city. Family memberships cost $100 for a year for four members, or each visit is $5 a person. The Polar Plunge raised over $1,000 for the Venecia Foundation to help cancer patients.

*The city is purchasing metal awnings for the administration building, and Baker hopes the city will have the money improve the windows on the second floor.

On the wish list, Baker hopes to eventually replace the sunken crosswalks in the downtown area. He hopes a new sound system will enhance this summer’s Saturday-night movies, and he encourages citizens to use the city’s Facebook pages to communicate their needs to him and the members of the City Council.

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