Entire Valley Council meets first time since March

Published 7:15 am Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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VALLEY — On Monday, the Valley City Council had its first meeting with everyone present since March. Social distancing was still being practiced and a couple of council members were wearing masks, but this meeting was much closer to normal than the two meetings in April, which took place during the peak period of the local coronavirus outbreak.

For a county its size, Chambers County was among the harder-hit counties in the state in terms of confirmed cases and deaths.

Two people who had been quarantined as a safety precaution, Planning and Development Director Travis Carter and Council Member Marquetta Madden, were present and both were glad to be back.

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“I want to thank everyone for their prayers and their concern,” Madden said. “I especially want to thank the healthcare workers for what they do, and I want to encourage everyone to be safe.”

Police Chief Tommy Weldon said that three people in his department had tested positive and that one of them had lost over 20 pounds in the ordeal. All are either back at work or should be soon.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt reported to the council that his department had been very busy with grass cutting, pothole patching, street paving and Clean Up Valley Week.

Bolt said that not as many electronic items were gathered as in past years, but there was still enough to fill up two trailers. A total of 28 pallets were filled with various items including more than 100 TVs and 150 other electronic items. A total of 392 tires were collected along with some refrigerators and stoves and 13 old car batteries. More than 1,000 pounds of recyclable paper was shredded by the shredder truck.

The Public Works Department assisted Chris Clark Grading & Paving in getting four streets paved, including 31st and 33rd Streets, 15th Avenue and 48th Street.

“On Thursday and Friday, we will be on the portion of Hopewell Road that’s in the city,” Bolt said. “We’re asking everyone to be patient with us. We will get the traffic moving as best as we can.”

Weldon said that he’s still waiting on the arrival of three new Ford Explorers for the police department. The vehicles have been purchased by the city but have been delayed by the coronavirus shutdown. Weldon said that he’d checked on them with King Ford and was told that the factory where they are to be manufactured will resume production next week.

“We have six vehicles, and five of them are running right now,” he said.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said that Valley Farmer’s Market will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. EDT this Friday. There will be social distancing under the pavilion.

“We are asking people to be patient and to not crowd the tables,” she said. “We need to keep people six feet apart.”

Valley Parks & Recreation is looking at having some kind of baseball and softball play this year as long as they can play without touching.

Mayor Leonard Riley said that city hall is now open to the public. 

“We have tape on the floor indicating social distancing, but we’d prefer that you pay your bills by using the dropbox,” he said. “We’ve done some work on it and it’s easier to use.”

Council Member Jim Clark thanked residents of his district for cleaning their yards and leaving the debris by the curb for pickups by the city. He also thanked the doctors, nurses and other hospital workers, police, fire and EMS personnel for the work they always do, and especially during the current crisis.

“Let’s all remain careful,” he said. “Chambers County is currently No. 7 in cases and No. 5 in deaths in the state. Let’s be mindful of social distancing, frequent hand washing and all the other safety precautions.”

The council will next meet at 6 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 26. It will be a day later than normal due to the Memorial Day holiday.

American Legion Post 67 is planning to have a Memorial Day program at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25. It will be scaled back from what’s normally done and will be done with social distancing. All local veterans and invited. People are encouraged to wear masks.