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Valley City Council amends budget, increases health/life insurance expenses for city employees

VALLEY — The Valley City Council on Monday amended its recently approved budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year to include a 5.9 percent increase in health/life insurance expenses for city employees.

“That’s not a bad increase for health insurance,” Mayor Leonard Riley said. “It was not as bad as we expected. We got this information just one day after we’d approved the budget.”

The city pays 95 percent for single coverage and 70 percent for family coverage.

The news was not so good with the approval of a grant from the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, Anniston. It’s $20,000 less than what was expected.

This is the grant that funds the Valley Senior Center and its meals program.

The council suspended the rules and adopted on a first reading an amendment to its business license ordinance. It’s for Section 75, which is for insurance companies other than fire and marine. It increases the fee from $15 a year to $20 a year.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount reported to the council that VPR had hosted a soft opening on Saturday for the like-new playground at Valley City Park.

“We have four new pieces of playground equipment, and the city provided the mulch and the ground work,” she said. “We will have a bigger grand opening in the spring.”

At that time, a Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course will have been added to the playground. It’s something both kids and adults can enjoy.

The city’s annual fall festival will be taking place this year between 6 and 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 30. Like last year, it’s going to be a Halloween-style drive-through event at Valley Sportsplex. Local businesses, churches and civic groups can help by having booths where they can give out candy to children whose parent/family member are driving them through.

Blount said that VPR hosted a softball tournament last weekend at the Sportsplex and another one is planned for this weekend.

During tournament weekends, the city makes money off concessions and sales tax revenue from out-of-town guests staying at local hotels, shopping in stores and eating in restaurants. Valley Sportsplex is becoming a regular destination for hosting these tournaments in the spring and summer seasons.