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LaFayette Council approves alcohol sales, still shaping budget

LAFAYETTE – Alcohol sales will be officially allowed in LaFayette on Sundays after 12 p.m., beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving as the LaFayette City Council formally approved an ordinance Thursday after residents voted in favor of the change in the election.

A referendum regarding Sunday alcohol sales passed Nov. 6 with 65 percent of the vote. The city council had to pass its own city ordinance to comply with the county law.

LaFayette City Councilman Toney Thomas said recently that since surrounding areas can sell alcohol on Sunday, there is no reason LaFayette should be left out. Also, he said since the voters want it, that’s another reason to move forward.

“The people have voiced their opinion and I support it,” he said. “Everybody else is doing it in the surrounding areas, so why not us?”

The council met Thursday in a special city council meeting that replaced Monday’s meeting. In that meeting, the council also heard Electric Superintendent Randy Norred and Water Superintendent Ann Gleaton regarding their needs for this year’s budget.

Norred said his biggest budget item will be upgrades to the city’s Substation No. 1. He said when that station is online, it will save the town from experiencing city-wide blackouts in the event the power goes out. Instead, smaller segments may see reduced power, but the whole city won’t be in the dark.

Mayor Barry Moody agreed that was an important item. He went on to say when approving budget items, there are certain things a city can’t ignore.

“There are wish-list items, and there are realities that we just have to do,” he said.

City Clerk Louis Davidson said the contract has already been approved for upgrades to the substation, but the city is waiting on engineers to move forward with the project. The upgrades will cost about $73,000.

Gleaton asked the council to consider a 90-day trial to install a new water system that would improve the quality of water from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. She said the system can be installed for a trial period to see if it works before the city has to pay for it. The new system would cost about $10,000 after the trial period.

The council didn’t make any decisions about funding levels Thursday, as it has been hearing from each department head during budget work sessions before actual meetings.

Davidson said the city adopted a level funding budget in October and there isn’t a timeline on when they will be able to describe what the city will fund this year accurately.

“We are working on the budget that will more accurately describe what we plan on doing this year,” he said in an email. “No definite timeframe, but we definitely want to get it wrapped up soon so that we can move forward on whichever projects, capital outlay, etc., that the council approves.”

The city works on a budget of $7,966,250 in revenues and $7,815.690.14 in expenditures.

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