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Valley council awards contract, approves new rezoning request

VALLEY — The Valley City Council on Monday awarded a contract to do some sewer line work on 61st Street and 60th Place in the Langdale community. The contract is going to Crawford Grading and Pipeline, Inc. for just under $855,000, which was the lowest bid received. The city sought this work on behalf of the East Alabama, Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District.

61st is the street that tops a hill beside the Lafayette Lanier School, and 60th is at the top of the hill. The project involves putting a new sewer line behind the houses going up the hill.

Mayor Leonard Riley said the work would necessitate tearing up the street but that the city will repave it once the work is finished. He urged local residents to be mindful of the work that will be taking place and to be careful when driving in the area.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, public hearings took place to hear a rezoning request off Mapp Road in the River View community and to confirm the cost of abatement for six separate properties in the city.

There was no one present to express opposition to the rezoning request. An ordinance to do this was unanimously approved on its first reading in the council session that followed. The property is bordered on one side by the CV Railway Trail and the Peach Orchard Branch on the other side. It’s bordered on the north side by Myhand Street and on the south side by Trail Road. The zoning is changing from R-2 (medium density) to R-4 (medium density residential district).

The properties abated were on MLK Drive, School Street, 19th Avenue, Gibson Street, 20th Avenue and 58th Street.

The abatement on MLK involved removing a large amount of household garbage that had been piling up outside the residence for the past three years. The person living there had allegedly not paid their garbage bill since 2017, and trash and been piling up on the property ever since. Nearby neighbors had been complaining about the smell for some time. City work crews hauled off the garbage at a cost of $425.15. A lien in that amount has been assessed to the property owner.

The other abatements involved cleaning up dilapidated properties. The house on School Street had been condemned for some time but had people still living in it until the recent past. A lien in the amount of $5,350 has been put in the property to recover the city’s costs in cleaning it up.

A lien in the amount of $5,650 has been assessed on the property on 19th Avenue, $3,650 on the Gibson Street property, $3,650 on the 20th Avenue site and $8,300 on the 58th Street site.

The council approved a resolution recognizing the weekend of Feb. 26-28, 2021, as a Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday. Items that can be used during storms (flashlights, batteries, rain gear, etc.) will be exempted from state and local sales taxes that weekend. In his report to the council, Chief Tommy Weldon said that it does not appear that foul play was involved in the recent deaths of Lola and Judy Pruitt.

“It’s still under investigation,” he said. “It’s unusual for two people to die in the same residence at the same time. We will release the autopsy results once we get it.”

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said that youth basketball would be offered at the Community Center this year. Registration is now underway and will continue through Nov. 17.

“We are excited to be able to have a recreation event coming back to the Community Center,” she said.

Valley Parks & Recreation will be hosting a Halloween-themed drive-through event at Valley Sportsplex on Saturday. “We are still looking for businesses, churches and civic groups to help us with it,” Blount said.

Blount said that a Valleywide Christmas Parade would be taking place on Dec. 10. This year’s Merry Go Round would begin on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

“This will be the 64th year of doing it,” he said. “We don’t want to be the ones to stop it.”

Blount said that she’s expecting a very busy day at the Community Center on Tuesday, which will be election day. “Those who are planning to come to work out that day need to know there will be lots of people voting that day,” she said.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt said that more street paving would be taking place in the near future.

“We’ll start back up in two to three weeks.,” he said. “Two layers will be going down. We will be putting down Permaflex first and then the wearing surface. We’ve been slowed down some by the rain. We have been battling wet grounds.”

Riley thanked Council Member Cassie Carlisle for her council service. She was appointed to fill the balance of the term of Lana Wiggins, who died in office. She chose not to run for reelection in August.

She thanked him for that and thanked fellow council members for having been good to work with.

“Valley is a great city to live in,” she said. “I want to thank River View residents for supporting the petition to bring some new playground equipment to the community. I hope this comes to fruition. I want to thank Patrick (Bolt) for the new sign on Newton Road.”

She wished her successor, Kendal Andrews, good luck in his upcoming council service.

Carlisle received a standing ovation from the council and from the audience present in the council chamber.

The next council meeting will be taking place on Monday, Nov. 2nd. The meeting will be taking place inside the Community Center’s Community Room, where there’s ample space for social distancing. The new council will be sworn in to new four-year terms. Andrews will be the only new member. Returnees include Riley and council members Jim Clark, Jim Jones, Randall Maddux, Marquetta Madden, Henry Cooper and Jimmy Gilson,

The new council will have its first regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.