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Valley council donates to food bank

VALLEY — The City of Valley made a donation of $10,000 to the Food Bank of East Alabama at Monday’s meeting of the Valley City Council.

Mayor Leonard Riley said the food bank had been doing a great job of feeding people during the pandemic and even before that. The food bank has held two food drives in recent weeks at Valley Sportsplex and a third one is being planned.

The first two generated bumper-to-bumper traffic that stretched back a good distance away from the distribution center on the Sportsplex parking lot. The food was distributed at no cost to the recipients. Lots of volunteer help kept the line moving at a good pace.

The East Alabama Food Bank is a major provider for local organizations such as the Christian Service Center and the Interfaith Food Closet.

In other action on Monday, the council confirmed the costs of two recent demolitions and determined another property to be a public nuisance.

One of the confirmed cost sites is located on Highway 29 in Fairfax.

The home on Highway 29 was well known in the local area for its Spanish villa appearance. The home was gutted by fire several years ago in an action that was determined to be arson. Because of the home’s distinctive appearance, some thought was given to having it restored, but the interior damage was so extensive it would be cost prohibitive to attempt that.

What was left of the building was demolished with the debris being hauled away. The site is now completely cleared. The total cost was $14,351.53. A lien has been placed on the property by the city to recover those costs. Of the total cost figure, $10,900 was for the work done in clearing the site by the Henry Hudson Company, $1,561.53 by the Public Works Department, $940 for dirt that was hauled in, $200 for landscaping work by Ponder’s Nursery and $750 for legal fees.

Clearing up the property on 56th Street cost the city a total of $9,829.50. Of the total cost of the cleanup, $8,700 was incurred by the Henry Hudson Company, $291.50 by the Public Works Department, $60 for dirt that was hauled in, $100 to Ponder’s Nursery for landscaping work and $750 for legal fees.

The council unanimously approved a resolution determining a public nuisance and authorizing action to clean up property located at 1708 55th Street.

“This site is just a mess, and we are asking for permission to move forward on it,” said Building Inspector Reid Riley.

Riley said the owners were notified and given 45 days to clean up the site on their own but have failed to do so. On big screen TVs inside the council chamber, Riley displayed video images of the dilapidated house.

“There’s extensive roof damage, the exterior of the home is not in good shape, and there’s a lot of junk in the yard,” he said.

In a unanimous action, the council authorized Riley to demolish and remove the structure from the property and clean up the site. The council could later take action to impose a lien on the property to recoup the cost.

The council agreed to enter into a contract with Red Sage for a new website design. Riley said the Alabama firm had been recommended to him and that the work to be done will likely fall in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.

The council authorized the use of an electronic vote-counting system to be used in the Aug. 25 municipal election. Qualifying for the election begins at 8 a.m. EST on Tuesday, July 7 and continues until 6 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 21.