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City of Valley approves budget amendment

VALLEY — In its final regular meeting of calendar year 2020 on Monday evening, the Valley City Council approved the purchase of some vehicles for the Public Works Department and received news on new vehicles needed by the Valley Police Department.

The council unanimously approved a budget amendment to purchase three vehicles from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) service yard. A 2015 pick up truck and two flatbeds are being acquired for $85,000. The truck will be replacing a 1993 model.

“This is something we really need,” said Public Works Director Patrick Bolt.

Bolt added that paving on 65th Street had been completed and that the paving on Cleveland Road could be finished this week. A portion of Columbus Road and 29th Boulevard would then follow.

The good news with the police department vehicles involves confirmation that orders are in for three new Ford Explorers. It’s expected that the early orders should speed up delivery compared to last year when three needed vehicles didn’t arrive until late summer or early fall.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said that the hours at the Christmas Merry Go Round have been expanded from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day to noon until 9 p.m. This is being done because school groups aren’t coming this year in the early afternoon hours due to COVID-19 precautions.

Blount said there had been a good crowd Sunday afternoon at the merry go round and that she was hopeful of continued good attendance heading toward the end of the season at 5 p.m. EST on Christmas Eve.

She said she had been pleased that people had been wearing masks, maintaining some social distancing and being patient between rides as the merry go round horses were being sanitized.

“We are pleased just to be offering this for a 64th straight year,” Blount said. “Hopefully things will continue to go well through the rest of the season.”

Blount said that a new piece of playground equipment had been installed in a city park, located in Langdale across Fob James Drive from city hall.

“It’s really cool,” she said. “We’re inviting everyone to come and check it out.”

The new item is fun and safe to ride and was purchased for public recreational use by the Valley Junior League.

After hearing a report from Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley, the council declared a structure on Denna Drive a public nuisance. Riley said that notices had been sent to five different people who had had a stake in owning the property in recent years and that a notice to clean up the site had been placed on the property. Riley said the house had been abandoned for a long period of time and that neglect was showing in the form of decaying facia boards, a sagging roof, broken windows and debris all over the yard.

With the council having unanimously declared the house and its lot a public nuisance, the city can now take action to take down the house and clean up the lot. The cost of the clean up will then be placed as a lien on the property. The present owner has a couple of years to pay it off. The lot can then be sold to a new owner and the city can recoup its costs in this way.

Mayor Leonard Riley and council members took turns wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Even with COVID-19, the mayor said the city had had a good year both in terms of new businesses opening and the city preparing for growth in the new industrial park. Riley hopes improvements in water pressure and volume will serve to attract new business or industry. It’s also expected that planned subdivisions off Combs Road will help the city both in terms of future population growth and an increased standard of living.

John Soules Foods will be going into production next year off Towel Avenue. This will mean over 200 new jobs at the start-up and more than 500 jobs when two additional production lines are added a few years down the road.