Members of the public bring several concerns to LaFayette city council

Published 9:00 am Thursday, January 12, 2023

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In addition to the city business discussed during Monday’s council meeting, many citizens spoke in a public hearing before the council members on animal abuse, repairs for Dixie Youth Little League Field and LaFayette Main Street.

LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines announced a proclamation for an annual Human Trafficking Awareness Month in LaFayette. Vines said the first step in ending the crime is by educating the community on what human trafficking is and how to avoid it.

“The city of LaFayette, Alabama, is committed to ensuring that our community remains on the frontline of combating this deplorable crime,” Vines said during the meeting.

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LaFayette Main Street President Jimmy Stewart introduced new Executive Director DeAnna Hand to the council and mayor. Hand spoke about her hopes that LaFayette will prosper in the future. 

Hand said LaFayette Main Street is planning a Love Our Town event in February to promote downtown businesses as well as networking and building relationships.

“We’re really excited about the future of Main Street and what we can do for the city of LaFayette,” Hand said.

During the meeting, LaFayette Waste Plant Manager Ann Gleaton presented the current contract between a portapotty company and the water treatment plant to the city council. The contract allows the company to dump waste for 10 cents per gallon for 400- and 800-gallon tank trucks.

The company dumps waste every Tuesday and pays once a month. In June 2014, the council members voted to approve a $100 flat fee per septic tank truck. Because the company employs trucks with smaller tanks, they proposed the offer of paying 10 cents per gallon rather than paying per vehicle.

“If you figure up a big septic truck, 1500-2000 gallons, they pay less than 10 cents a gallon. They actually pay more like 5 cents a gallon,” Gleaton said. “So, basically, they would be paying us more. They just wouldn’t be dumping as many gallons.”

The council members made a motion to reject the current contract and form a new one to offer the waste charge by the March 1 deadline. The city will honor the old contract until March 1.

During the public hearing, LaFayette High School Softball Coach Jenna Bailey addressed the city council to request repairs to the Dixie Youth Little League ballfield. 

“Due to the unknown of what next year holds — which nobody knows what’s going to happen — they want this year to be a little bit special,” Bailey said. “And I want to be able to make that happen.”

According to Bailey, because of the planned consolidation, the softball players want to play home games in LaFayette this year so their family and friends are present. 

Bailey said that they would like for the field to be usable by the first home game on Feb. 23. According to Bailey, it has been two years since the team has been able to practice on the field.

After Bailey spoke, Stewart said that LaFayette Main Street would commit to helping in that beautification endeavor. 

Councilman Michael Ellis said he would like to repair both the girls and boys little league fields. Bailey said the LHS girls team would volunteer to help clean up the field as part of a team-building event.

Also during the hearing, LaFayette citizen Chuck Blanton addressed the council about the practice of perpetually chaining dogs in citizens’ yards in LaFayette. Blanton said the act is inhumane and creates both physical and psychological problems for pets.

“Besides the fact, that it’s just horrible to me to see an animal doing, you know, life without parole, chaining the dog like this creates not only physical but mental problems with the dogs,” Blanton said.

Blanton has been in discussions with Dantzler Frazer, president of the Chattahoochee Humane Society, about the issue. He said he hopes that with the help of Frazer, the city can adopt code ordinances to help citizens move away from the practice.

City Clerk Louis Davidson made an announcement that the Alabama Municipal Electrical Authority AMEA Scholarship deadline is approaching on Feb. 13. According to Davidson, the scholarship usually awards four students every year a scholarship of $2500.