Lanett City Council buys limb truck among other deals

Published 7:15 am Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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LANETT — In a busy session on Monday, the Lanett City Council approved a change in retirement benefits, renewed a contract with the Chambers County Emergency Communications District, set the qualifying fees for those who wish to seek a seat on the Lanett City School Board and agreed to the purchase of a grapple/limb truck.

The change in the retirement benefits plan brings all city employees on par with one another. Previously, those who had been hired after 2013 were in tier one and those hired before that were in tier two.

“We have been talking about this for some time,” said Mayor Kyle McCoy. “This change gives everyone the same benefits.”

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Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen explained to the council what was at stake with the EMA renewal. The new contract includes a two percent annual increase to be paid to the Chambers County Emergency Communications District by the cities of Lanett, Valley and LaFayette, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, the East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District, the Huguley Water Authority and the Chambers County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association. The two percent increase will allow the Chambers County EMA to hire another full-time dispatcher, thereby decreasing everyone’s workload.

McCoy said it’s better for the budgeting process to have a two percent increase every year than to go several years without one and then be hit with an eight percent increase.

The city’s auditor, Phillip Morgan, CPA, of PM & Company, Birmingham, was present at Monday’s meeting to report on the city’s most recent audit for the fiscal year 2018-19.

“It’s a good report,” he said. “There are no new findings or reportable conditions. The books are in really good shape, better than when you guys took office. All bank accounts are reconciled, and your records are in much better shape.”

Morgan thanked City Clerk Deborah Gilbert and her staff for helping make his job much easier.

Morgan said there had been a small increase in the city’s debt, largely due to the issuance of some warrants to refinance old debt at better rates. He said that the city had benefitted from two major federal projects, one to enlarge the airport and one to improve the downtown area.

Morgan said the city had come within $167,000 of breaking even on a $16.8 million budget and that’s not bad for a town the size of Lanett.

“This is a good, clean audit,” he said. “Some significant improvements have taken place in your financial record keeping. We got all the documentation we requested, and nothing was out of place.”

McCoy said the city was within one percent of a balanced budget and “that’s pretty good for a $16 million budget.”

He commended Deborah Gilbert and Kelly Walton for the work they are doing at city hall.

“We are proud of them and our department heads for keeping their budgets in line,” McCoy said. “Chief Allen (LFD) and Chief (Johnny) Wood (LPD) in particular are paying close attention to what’s being done.”

The council had a second reading of and approved a resolution setting a fee of $50 to run for a seat on the city school board. The municipal election will be taking place on Tuesday, August 25.

A grapple, or limb, truck is being purchased for the Street Department. It’s being purchased from RDK Truck Sales, Tampa, Florida, for a total of $140,300. It has arrived and will go in service soon.

The council approved a retail beer and retail table wine license for Marathon Lanett, located on Broad Avenue. The business was formerly known as Jet Pep. The license is now in the name of Keshavlal Mohanlal Tadhani of Winter Garden, Florida.

McCoy and members of the council commended this year’s recipients of $2,500 scholarships from the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA). It’s a long-time practice of the AMEA to award scholarships to deserving high school graduates whose parents live in cities served by the AMEA. This year’s recipients include Cayla Cheyenne Nelson and Jordan Bennett Plank of Springwood School, Shamesia Ashanti Pruitt of Lanett High and vocational student Judson Dennis Garner.

In other action, the council reappointed Kay Pippen to the Lanett Housing Authority Board.

“I want to congratulate our graduates of the Class of 2020 and wish them well in the future,” said Council Member Angelia Thomas.

Springwood School had its commencement at Wildcat Stadium on Saturday morning, May 23, and Lanett High had its ceremony this past Saturday morning, May 30, at Morgan-Washburn Stadium.