LaFayette to hold special election

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2018

LaFAYETTE — The city will soon be holding a special election in order to fill a city council seat that has sat vacant since late June.

Matthew Hurst had served as the District B representative since 2016, but resigned earlier this year. The council was scheduled to choose his replacement at their Monday night meeting, when Mayor Barry Moody was prepared to do so.

“The mayor and the council have the challenge tonight, if we do it, to nominate, vote for and approve the next member that will serve in Matthew Hurst’s position,” Moody said. “This will not be easy tonight, it’s a difficult position.”

Email newsletter signup

After the Mayor shared his opinion on who he thought was best for the position, narrowing the prospects down by sharing their qualifications, the rest of the council had other plans.

“We haven’t had any input,” said District E Representative Tammie Williams, speaking to Moody. “It seemed like you just kicked the rest of them out of the bucket. I would say to be fair to everybody we should have an election.”

The rest of the council, through nodding heads and mutters of approval, displayed their agreement with Williams.

“It has been almost two months since former council member Hurst left,” District D representative Michael Ellis said. “We have had 60 days to appoint somebody, but not once did we get together to say that we should have a work session to discuss these candidates. I say let the citizens elect through their vote who they want to represent them.”

On this statement, members of the audience rose a chorus of “amen” and “absolutely” in agreeance with a possible election.

For an election to happen, a letter will be sent to Gov. Kay Ivey’s office, giving the city an extended amount of time to determine who will fill the District B seat. A motion to do so was made and passed, with Mayor Moody having the only dissenting vote.

“There are a lot of details to work out with an election and I think we need to have a meeting really quickly to determine those things,” said City Attorney Joseph Tucker. “You have to have your election officials in place and you have to figure out where the money is going to come from to pay for it. Elections are going to be relatively expensive.”

Details on when the election will be are not yet available.

In other actions at the meeting, the council was addressed by David Peacock, a citizen concerned with his water bill. During May and June of this year when LaFayette was under a boil water noticed caused by ruptured water lines, Peacock’s water bill almost doubled.

“The only catastrophe that happened during that time was when the fire hydrants ruptured,” he said. “I flushed my water lines for three days. When I came home I turned on the water and it looked like coffee, with matter in it.”

His grievance with the city was that any extra water used was something the city should not burden him with, but rather pay for themselves.

Water and Wastewater Superintendent Richard Chapman agreed to check Peacock’s water meter to determine if the issue was the city’s.