TALLADEGA -- The City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to spend just over $41,000 to begin implementing the 10-year stormwater improvement plan recently developed by Neel Schaffer Engineering.

According to a report presented to the council, “The three major drainage basins of the city were analyzed and improvement recommended based on the severity of their need. Some items were identified that were classified as ‘heavy maintenance,’ tasks for which the city does not possess appropriate equipment to address. These include various areas of the Isbell Branch Basin and the Johnson Creek Basin that require significant removal of sedimentation and debris.”

In addition to Isbell Branch and Johnson Creek, the third watershed involved in the study was Oak Hill Creek.

The study also recommends upgrading several undersized drainage pipes and overly long storm sewers. The areas to be improved were based on the areas that flood most frequently and where the floods were deepest. 

According to Mike Phillips of Neel Schaffer, “We rank areas of high benefit versus lowest costs. You also want to make sure there are no adverse effects downstream or upstream, and you generally want to work downstream to upstream. You’re also going to want to secure easements, which you will need for routine maintaince later on.”

The council voted on three different expenditures related to implementation of the plan. The first involved developing plans and bid specifications at a cost of $8,800; the second covered construction, engineering and inspection for $2,200, with the overall contract not to exceed $11,000. 

The $2,200 covers periodic and final inspection, but the council rejected the portion of the contract for daily observation, which will be conducted by the Public Works Department.

The other contract approved Monday involved improvements in the Avenue H area, particularly the detention pond. This project involves “field review, flow modeling, extensive survey work, design and services related to letting the project for bid,” according to the document. This contract will not exceed $30,568.

Both contracts fall under the category of professional services, and so do not have to be bid competitively. The cost of both projects is included in the city’s capital improvement budget.

Also Monday, the council:

• Voted 5-2 to name Trina Hammonds the public defender for municipal court. Council President Donnie Miller and Councilman Joe Ballow voted for Jon Adams.

• Approved a street light for Mountain View Road.

• Heard an update on the mosquito spraying program. Due to budget cuts, the only areas sprayed regularly are high-traffic, low lying areas or areas where people have complained. Substances designed to kill mosquito larvae are also available for areas with stagnant water.

• Read an announcement that Charter Cable was switching to an all-digital channel lineup.

• Announced that the state Historic Preservation Commission had awarded the city a grant to renovate the Otts Building, which burned several years ago and has an unsupported second floor façade. The city’s match is $8,500.

• Amended the budget for the current fiscal year.

• Approved rules and regulations for city parks.

• Declared a traffic signal shell surplus, and donated it to the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Equestrian Center.

• Approved the purchase of eight new vehicles included in the capital improvement budget.

• Agreed to waive the license fees for vendors at the farmer’s markets in the Chamber of Commerce parking lot every Tuesday.

• Approved a contract with Double Diamond Construction to rehabilitate the sedimentation ponds at the water treatment plant for $62,000.

• Approved a contract with Hurst Construction of Lineville to build and install a double lock gate at Mump Creek for $4,000. The city will begin selling fishing licenses for $50 each starting July 1.

• Announced that there will be a ribbon cutting at Veteran’s Park before the next council meeting, on June 23.