Valley passes $11 million operating budget

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, September 25, 2019

VALLEY — On Monday, the Valley City Council approved an $11 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1. The coming year’s spending plan includes an across the board 3 percent pay raise for city employees.  Under the new budget, the Valley Police Department will be getting three new vehicles at a cost of $90,000 and new fingerprint equipment which will cost $19,000.

The Public Works Department will get a tractor with boom at just over $113,000, a zero turn mower for $10,000, a service truck for $30,000 and a bat wing for $15,000. Items in the new budget for Valley Parks and Recreation included security cameras costing $18,000, a new metal storage building for $13,000, basketball goals for $12,000 new flooring for the Community Center at $14,000 and improvements for the racket ball area for $6,320.

The city will be spending around $750,000 for paving next year. Just over $375,000 of this will come from the general fund, $168,000 from a state fund, $45,000 from the Rebuild Alabama fund and $80,000 each from the four-cent and the seven-cent funds.

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City hall will be getting $17,500 for new computers, laptops and TVs and $9,500 for a software update.

“It’s a good budget,” Mayor Leonard Riley said. “I want to thank our department heads for staying within their budgets this past year. We will start the new year with over $900,000 in reserve for the year and $2.3 million total. All accounts have positive balances. We are completing a very good year and heading to a good one in 2020.”

In other business, Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said that volunteers are needed for the upcoming State Masters Games, which will be hosted at the Valley Community Center from Oct. 7-10.

“It’ a fun event,” she said. “Over 500 seniors from all over the state of Alabama will be here. You can help keep score for the games they will be playing or help out in the kitchen. We can find something for you to do, and you will enjoy being there.”

The opening ceremony will be taking place at 4 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 7. It’s a grand Olympics-like spectacle with a torch lighting and teams from every corner of the state. The Community Center is one of the best facilities in Alabama for hosting the state games. Except for golf and bowling, every event can take place at one location and those two events can take place close by.

Among these events are dominoes, shuffleboard, free throw shooting, softball throw and swimming.

Blount said that over 200 people had signed a petition on the city’s Facebook page requesting a grant for new playground equipment. She said a public hearing would be taking place at the community center for this in October. She encouraged local residents to continue signing the online petition.  The annual Fall Festival will be taking place at the Sportsplex from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31. Parents are invited to bring their children dressed in Halloween costumes.

Blount said there will be farmers market sessions on Friday, Nov. 15 and Friday, Nov. 22. Fresh picked fall garden items will be available just in time for Thanksgiving.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt reported on the land clearing taking place on the city’s industrial park land.

“We’ve been clearing off on the Combs property across from the Public Works building,” Bolt said. “We have two or three more weeks of grubbing the stumps, and we should be ready to burn debris piles. Right now, we are under a no burn order due to lack of rainfall. When we get some rain, we’ll burn the piles.”

Bolt said new street signs would be going up near Valley High, Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary School and in River View. The speed limit near schools is 25 mph between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The council agreed to a negotiated bid for an upcoming erosion project on the section of Moore’s Creek that flows through Langdale Meadow. North State Environmental agreed to do the work for $293,066.17. They were the only bidder for the project and offered to do it for just under $400,000. They will be doing a scaled-back version from the original plan. The city will be reimbursed for its cost from a grant received by Auburn University. Planning and Development Director Travis Carter told the council that this project will involve straightening out channels and sloping banks to help prevent erosion.

The council delayed action on an abatement issue after hearing from code enforcement officer Reid Riley. A former tenant in a house that’s been condemned will be given 10 days to remove her belongings. The house will then be declared a public nuisance. It will be torn down and the site cleaned up.

In another situation, people are living in a house on School Street that’s been condemned. In the near future, they will be served with an eviction order. Once they move out, the house will be torn down.

Council Member Jim Clark asked residents of his district to consider attending a public meeting on littering that will be taking place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Shawmut Church of the Nazarene. Council Member Randall Maddux asked city residents to show courtesy for neighbors when hosting parties with loud music.

“I’ve gotten some complaints from people with small children having people in their neighborhood playing loud music with vulgar language,” he said. “They don’t want their children exposed to this.”