LaFayette City Council awards scholarships, receives Rockingfest update

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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At the LaFayette City Council’s special called meeting on Tuesday, May 24, two LaFayette High School students, Ariana Rene Story and NyAsia Chambers, were awarded scholarships from the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority.

“Each year, the city of LaFayette and the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority partner up each year to give out a scholarship in the amount of $2,500,” said LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines before giving the students their awards.

The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, Carrie Royster, updated the mayor and council on the GVACC’s progress with its third annual Rockingfest on the Square festival planned for Nov. 19.

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“The layout will pretty much stay the same,” she said. “Last year, we added “Touch-A-Truck” on the side street beside Farmers & Merchants Bank. We plan to keep that there and grow that a little bit.”

Royster said the event will have a skating rink and inflatables such as the Everest Climb N’ Slide like it did last year. This year, it will add “Snowzilla JR,” which Royster said is 90 feet long.

“It is the second to the largest attraction that this company has, so I have been waiting and waiting my chance to get my hands on this, so I’m proud to say we have reserved it for this year,” she said.

Royster said the event would still have food and arts and crafts vendors.

“Right now, we’re doing early bird as far as registering vendors,” Royster said. “So we have sent that information out to the 75 vendors that we had last year in hopes that this will get them going and get them registered before they register for any other event.”

Royster said vendors would have until July 31 to complete their early bird registration, which will give them a discount.

“As the time gets closer, I’ll meet with the department heads and the mayor and Louis [Davidson] to do the logistics of it,” she said. “But until then, we’re going to keep moving forward with planning this event.”

In other business at the meeting, LaFayette citizen Virginia Wright complained to the city council that she had been charged for city sewage even though her house had a septic tank. She said she bought the house in 2016, unaware that the tank was there. She said everyone she contacted about the issue has given her “the runaround.”

“Nobody responded back to me, period,” she said. “When I texted or called, everybody [was] busy. I want to know, can I get my money back?”

Wright said she had discussed the issue last year.

Councilmember Toney Thomas said Wright had contacted him and that she was getting charged for services she wasn’t being rendered.

“I feel that it’s only fair that the city that we reimburse Ms. Virginia for her money because how can you charge someone for some services that were not provided for them?” he said.

Wright said she had received a letter saying she had violated a code.

Councilmember T. Shannon Hunter said that, as he understood it, the city hadn’t been able to locate the building permit for Wright’s house.

“So we don’t know under what conditions it was built, whether it was… the septic tank was a known fact or whether it was something that was sneaked in,” he said. “We don’t know if the ordinance was in place at that time, so this is a little bit confusing.”

City Attorney Joseph (Mac) Tucker said the ordinance Wright’s property violated was passed in 1993. George Green, superintendent of Street, Sanitation, and Cemetery, said the house was built in the 1970s. Tucker said that in 1993, every house was required to hook up to the sewer system.

Thomas and Councilmember Tammie Williams brought up the fact that there were people in the city whose properties weren’t connected to the sewer system. Tucker said the sewer system was in the street right next to Wright’s property line, so her property wasn’t an exception to the ordinance.

Tucker explained that the ordinance says that a person violating the ordinance would owe the city for their lost revenue.

“That would prevent us from refunding her money,” he said.

The council decided to table the issue until Richard Chapman, superintendent of water distribution, could look into when the sewer line was put in near Wright’s property.

On Friday, Hunter issued his resignation in an email to the mayor and council.