Lanett taps Ronnie Tucker for District 3 council seat

Published 11:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2022

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LANETT — The City of Lanett is getting a new member of the city council. At Tuesday’s meeting of the council, former recreation director Ronnie Tucker was named to succeed Charles Looser, who resigned earlier this month. Looser is planning on moving from Lanett to Auburn, where he can be near his son and his grandchildren. In the August 2020 municipal election, Looser retained his seat by defeating Tucker in the District 3 race.

Tucker will be sworn into office on Tuesday, July 5.

His swearing in will be a historic event as for the first time in the city’s history, the mayor and city council are all Black.

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Mayor Jamie Heard told The Valley Times-News that he was not expecting to name a new council member on Tuesday. Discussion of the issue came up late in the meeting, and Council Member Tony Malone nominated Tucker of the vacant position. The council unanimously backed it.

Heard said he had intended to ask the council to vote on the new council members on July 5.

He said he didn’t have a problem with the nomination but was looking to have a couple of weeks for District 3 residents to express interest in the council seat.

In business at the Tuesday meeting, the council approved a resolution to award a contract for the First Street portion of the downtown streetscape project. Chris Clark Grading and Paving, Lanett, was awarded a contract in the amount of $702,881. Because he has work to catch up on at other locations, it might be this fall before work can commence. The section of First Street from Highway 29 to Eighth Avenue at W.O. Lance Elementary School will be getting the streetscape look. Grants have made up a big portion of the costs of having this look downtown and along North Lanier Avenue.

A resolution was approved authorizing the city’s Electric & Gas Department to seek a USDA grant to help purchase a new excavator. The piece of equipment is a Takeuchi with an angle blade and a 24-inch ditch bucket. If approved, the grant would provide $50,000 of the $91,000 cost.

Also approved was a resolution to utilize American Rescue Plan funds to install some switches for dark fiber. This would be used by the Detective Division, located in the blue top building at the L.B. Sykes complex. The service could be installed by Acom Integrated Solutions and WOW! The first three months of service would cost a total of $4,754.58.

Another resolution approved by the council seeks funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for some safety improvements in the city’s natural gas system. Funding is available under the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization Grant Program and can provide up to 100 percent of eligible project costs.

Heard said he’s continuing to get calls from citizens who are upset about their garbage service.

“I have to tell people that we don’t have a garbage service anymore,” he said. “We have a private contractor doing it, and they are getting complaints from all over. It’s not just a Lanett problem. My phone is full of messages from people who want to know when their garbage is going to be picked up.”

During the noon hour on Wednesday, Heard met with engineering consultant Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood to discuss the airport project. Joining him for the discussion were council members Tifton Dobbs and Angelia Thomas.

The mayor said he’s hopeful the airport will be reopened before the end of the year. The fuel tank that served the former airport is being cleaned out and refurbished to meet the needs of incoming planes. There’s also a need to clear some more trees on the approaches to the airport and to address an erosion problem on the south end of the runway.

“We are still looking at hiring an airport manager,” Heard said.