Albany City Council held its regular meeting Tuesday evening, February 7 with all councilmen present except Steve Lawson. It was also the first meeting back for Albany Mayor Nicky Smith after a some time off due to open heart surgery he underwent recently.
Mayor Smith opened the meeting by thanking everyone for the cards, calls and prayers on his behalf during his hospitalization and subsequent recovery.
City street department employee Brooks Ferguson had presented the council with a report on the trash pick-up efforts that department is now undertaking on a monthly basis and Mayor Smith commended the street department for that work in helping keep the streets of Albany free of litter and debris
The report, for the month of January, showed that 151 large bags of trash had been picked up by street department employees, covering some 28 city streets and roadways inside the city limits. Anywhere from one bag of trash all the way up to 16 bags, were cleaned up with one bag on the square to 16 bags from North 127 in Albany to the high school.
Areas with the most concentration of trash collected and disposed of, other than the aforementioned area, was 14 bags on Virginia Avenue; 12 on East Cumberland Street; 10 on West Cumberland Street; nine each on both Dawson Street and Hwy. 738 to Norris Avenue and eight bags on South Hwy. 127 from Dos Amigos Mexican Restaurant to East Harper Street. Anywhere from two to six bags were cleaned up in the other areas of downtown Albany.
Ferguson said some of the debris cleaned up included syringes, beer bottles, etc. and noted the department intended to continue the city roadside trash pick-up on a monthly basis. The council also discussed the need for street department employees who do the clean-up to have gloves available when picking up such items as used syringes.
The council also voted unanimously to approve renewal of its interlocal agreement with the Recreation Park Board for a three-year period. The council voted 4-0 on a motion by Tony Delk and seconded by Frankie Stockton to renew the agreement, with Carl Ferguson and Tonya Thrasher also voting yes. Council member Leland Hicks, who is a member of the park board, abstained.
In discussions on a proposed water tank project in the Bald Rock area to alleviate low water pressure problems in that area, especially in the summer months when more water is used, mayor Smith noted that although the state had approved a project for a new tank, he was in discussion with engineers on an alternate solution.
The mayor said engineers were now considering installing a lift station instead, noting that would probably allow water to flow to the affected area just as well and at a lower cost than the estimated $50,000 cost of installing another tank.
In other business at last week’s meeting:
* It was noted the lift station on Hospital Street has now been repaired and back in operation.
* Discussed seeking grant funds for purchasing and installing new fire hydrants in some areas of the county where current hydrants do not work.
* Noted that a new “Welcome to Albany” billboard would soon be erected at the south entrance to the city.
* Briefly discussed seeking grant funding for new police cruisers.
* Discussed seeking funds for sidewalk construction, primarily from Mountain View Park, past the high school to the city limits on North 127 and from Hwy. 738 to the Albany Manor area, as well as the need for guardrails in some of those areas.
Mayor Smith said he would discuss funding needs for the sidewalk and other projects with out state representatives prior to their next extended session of the General Assembly.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, council members and others present observed a moment of silence in remembrance the former Albany Mayor Lanny Bowlin, who passed away earlier this month.
The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 at 5 p.m. at Albany City Hall and is open to the general public.