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Valley council takes action on two houses

VALLEY — The Valley City Council took action Monday evening to declare two dilapidated properties public nuisances and to authorize action to have them torn down and the lots cleaned up. There’s a problem with one of the houses, though — somebody is still living in it.

“I don’t see how anyone can live in that house,” said Mayor Leonard Riley after viewing images of it on one of the big screen TVs in the council chamber.

At the suggestion of City Attorney John Ben Jones, the action on 50th Street house was delayed until the person living there could find other arrangements and leave the premises.

Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley said the house was in really bad shape and that the person living there wanted to move out.

“The neighbors want to help him, and there are some public resources available that can help get him moved somewhere else,” he said.

The other house the city is taking action on is located on Myhand Street.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount reported that youth baseball and softball registration had just about ended and that she was very pleased with the response.

“We missed out on last year because of COVID-19,” she said, “but in 2019, we had 297 people sign up. We have had 295 so far this year. That’s really, really good considering we are still with covid.”

Valley Sportsplex will be playing host to some upcoming youth baseball and adult softball tournaments. The first of three senior tournaments will be taking place there this weekend. On the weekend of March 20 and 21, the Sportsplex will host a 30-team youth baseball tournament. A total of 30 teams will be taking part.

Blount reminded everyone that Clean Up Valley Week will be taking place in early April. Registrations are being sent out to area churches and civic clubs for volunteers to pick up litter along selected roadsides on Saturday, April 10. Taking place during Clean Up Week will be a citywide yard sale.

“With lots of them taking place on the same day, we are hoping people from out of town will be coming to it,” Blount said.

Saturday, April 10, will also be the day Valley residents can take old appliances, unwanted electronic items with a cord and old tires to the Farmer’s Market Pavilion. A truck will be there to dispose of these hard-to-get-rid-of items.

Council Member Jim Clark said that Valley had a major littering problem and something needed to be done about it. He said that Exits 77 and 79 off I-85 were a problem along with Fob James Drive.

“It doesn’t give visitors to our city a good first impression,” he said.

Riley said he shared that frustration but didn’t know if anything could be done about it.

“You could pick up litter 24 hours a day, seven days a week and still have a problem,” he said.

Something that may help this year is that the city’s public works crew will be picking up litter along the road ways before they cut grass.

Jason and Carmen Turnham, owners of The Skatin’ Rink on Fob James Drive, were present to explain their request for a beer and wine license. These sales, they explained, would take place between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. on the weekend.

“The kids will be leaving at 10 p.m.” JasonTurnham said. “We are trying to give adults something to do. We’re looking at having cornhole tournaments. We have visited other skating rinks to see what they are doing. There’s not much drinking going on. Most of them want to skate.”

Riley asked Police Chief Tommy Weldon if he was okay with the request. Weldon said that he was. Riley then recommended approval, and it passed unanimously.

The council approved a proclamation recognizing March 7-13 Arbor Week in the city. Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, members of the city’s Tree Board will be giving away trees to Valley city residents. Apple, plum and mulberry trees will be given away this year.

The council approved a contract in the amount of $109,493.60 to Hydrofire Automatic Fire Protection Systems, of West Point, to replace the fire sprinkler systems at city hall and at Valley Police Department. The action was approved in a 6-0-1 vote with Council Member Kendall Andrews abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Five items were approved on the consent agenda. These included an expenditure of just under $21,000 for some updated servers at city hall (contract awarded to Acom Integrated Solutions, Columbus, Georgia); an expenditure of $31,400 to Curb Appeal Construction, of Valley, for a metal building needed by Valley Parks & Recreation, and a budget amendment for expenditure in the amount of $39,500 to purchase an eight-foot-wide mower to cut grass. Also approved was a memo of understanding that commits the city to participate in a debris-removal program. The council authorized Riley to be the city’s voting delegate at the Alabama League of Municipalities’ annual business meeting to be held on May 14.

The council approved a resolution amending its personnel policy to permit some code enforcement officers to have a weapon. Under the present policy, those who are not sworn officers cannot have a weapon while on duty.

“Sometimes things can happen out there when a code enforcement officer needs a weapon to defend himself,” Riley said.

Weldon would have to approve the weapon being issued.

The council suspended the rules and adopted on first reading the sale of a city-owned lot to Johnny Baker for $4,000. The lot is located on Williams Boulevard.