Citizen becomes upset during city council meeting, is removed by Albany City Police

Posted February 13, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Albany City Council held a busy meeting last Thursday, February 7 with all members present and several water line related issues, as well as project estimates, being discussed.

The meeting was the first regular session of the new council, which saw all members present and a rarity occur when a resident addressing the council, making a request, was eventually escorted from the meeting.

A local resident, who addressed the council requesting they draft a letter to the state to help him get water supplied to his residence from Cumberland County led to a rare occurrence in which he was eventually escorted from the meeting by Albany City Police officers.

Aaron Beaver, who lives near the Cumberland County line, addressed the council about a water line situation that apparently began several years ago when lines were laid in that area. Apparently, due to the location of the properties, the water itself to the property would have to come across the lake and be supplied by the Cumberland County Water District.

Beaver said that the wrong size water line had been installed and Cumberland County had rejected the proposal to supply the water but would run the water if the city was granted a waiver from the state.

The line itself is in Clinton County.

City legal advisor Norb Sohm told the resident he would look at the paperwork he (Beaver) has on the project and make a recommendation as to what the council should do.

In further discussion, Beaver at one point said there could be some people indicted and even used the phrase “misappropriation of funds.” Apparently the 13,000 feet of line in question was laid by the city and funded by the county, all under past administrations.

Beaver also said there was only one person on the existing two-inch line at this point.

Council person Tonya Thrasher said that if the problem could be solved by writing a letter to Frankfort, then that would be the simplest step, but also inquired if Cumberland County should co-sign the request.

Other council members felt the Clinton County Fiscal Court should also co-author such a request.

Sohm again, however, indicated to his knowledge there were no “city records” recording that the line was owned by the city and was also concerned about possible penalties and liability to the city. He again requested to see Beaver’s documentation prior to the city taking action.

At that point, Beaver basically threatened to sue in federal court the next day and get his attorney on the (speaker) phone while the meeting was in progress.

Sohm advised that ifBeaver was going to contact his attorney, he should “step outside (the meeting)” to do so. However, the resident actually dialed his attorney while the meeting was in progress and city officials authorized city police officers, who were in attendance, to escort Beaver out of the meeting.

The discussion ended with no action by the council being taken on Beaver’s request.

In other business

The council also heard from Sandra McClard and two other residents who live on Hwy. 558 where water lines to the new Marina at Rowena have been installed.

Although contractors initially made repairs to the areas where the line work was done, including resewing grass, the residents said some driveways where the repairs were being made was beginning to wash completely out. “It is getting to the point of being dangerous in some areas,” McClard stated.

One of the residents showed the mayor and council members photos taken on his cell phone on what the problem areas looked like.

The council discussed several options in making repairs, but eventually decided that the contractors who did the work, Harris Construction, would need to make permanent repairs to the upset areas.

The council discussed possible putting rock down in the areas disturbed and a possibly tile to avert the water drainage, but eventually vowed to make temporary repairs and in the meantime, contact their engineer and the contractors to have permanent repairs made, since there is contingency funds to be used to repair disturbed areas where the line were laid.

After hearing some updates from different departments, including the water and street departments and ongoing work to upgrade the city’s water billing system, mayor Lyle Pierce informed the council that Monarch Engineer David Bowles had given him estimates on a couple of much need projects.

The mayor noted Bowles had given an estimate of approximately $2.1 million to fund a water line project along the U.S. 127 Bypass to around Hwy. 738, where grant money and low interest loans are apparently available to be used for the project.

The mayor also said it was estimated by engineers that the total cost to completely upgrade the water system in the Duvall Valley area, which has been experience a long period of no water or low water pressure, was $2.5 million.

Again, it is hoped grants and loans could help fund such a project as the mayor said the residents in that area desperately needed water accessibility. Several poultry growing houses are located in that area as well.

The council also addressed problems with repairs needed to John Tuggle Lane, which is apparently in very poor condition.

During the discussion, mayor Pierce said he felt that any repairs to the street should be shared by the school district, since they apparently erected signs near the CCHS football field diverting traffic onto that street.

It was agreed to get estimates on repairing the street and bring them back to a future council meeting for consideration and possible action.

The approximate 40 minute meeting was then adjourned.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for March 5.