Riding in style: Lanett senior center receives new vans

Published 9:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2024

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LANETT — As people were arriving for Tuesday evening’s Lanett City Council meeting there was a most impressive multi-passenger van parked outside city hall.

Inside the council chamber, those attending the 6 p.m. meeting were told that the new van is one of two that arrived in Lanett on Monday. They will be used by the Lanett Senior Center to transport meals to the homebound every Monday through Friday and to transport active seniors to various events.

Each van can carry up to nine passengers. They are equipped with camera systems and are handicap accessible. They were acquired through a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 80/20 grant with the federal government picking up 80 percent of the cost. The city’s 20 percent share was $16,500 per vehicle or $33,000 total. It was made possible through the USDA’s Rural Development Program.

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Valley Senior Center has acquired new vans through the same program.

Building Inspector Johnny Wood told the council that the city will be eligible to seek a similar grant later on this year for a 15-passenger van.

At the Monday meeting, the council approved resolutions seeking USDA grants for two new police vehicles and needed equipment for the Cemetery and Grounds Department.

The two new police vehicles being sought are 2025 Interceptors. They will have direct injection V6 engines with 10-speed transmissions. The total cost will be just under $123,000 with the USDA grant, if approved, covering $50,000 of the cost. The city’s share would be just under $73,000 to have two of the best law enforcement vehicles on the road today.

The two Interceptors would be acquired of the state bid list from Stivers Ford Lincoln in Montgomery.

The piece of equipment being sought for Cemetery & Grounds is a Takeuchi TL12R2 eighty-four inch smooth edge bucket and Fecon BH74 mulcher. Department head Rocky Bolt explained to the council that an aging skidder is presently in use. It breaks down a lot and is often in the shop undergoing repairs. 

“We are in need of something new,” he said. “This will enable the city to do a much better job than what can now be done with the equipment we have.”

The new equipment can be purchased through a 55/45 USDA grant. It will cost slightly over $130,000. The USDA will pay $50,000 and the city a little more than $80,000.

Council Member Angelia Thomas asked Bolt if the city could purchase equipment that could get the job done but at a lesser price. Bolt said it was the lowest cost that could be found for the type of equipment needed to do the job.

The council approved resolutions authorizing Mayor Jamie Heard to make applications for these grants through USDA Rural Development.

The council also designated Mayor Heard as its delegate at an upcoming conference at the Alabama League of Municipalities meeting set for May 15-18 in Huntsville.

Also at the Monday meeting, resolutions were approved to confirm the costs of tearing down two dilapidated houses and cleaning up the lots. An abandoned house located on South 1st Avenue cost $7,400 to take down and clean up the lot. A smaller house in East 3rd Avenue cost $3,900 to remove and clear the lot.

Amanda Carpenter, victim services coordinator, and Arden Young, student intern, both with Rape Counselors of East Alabama, Auburn, attended the meeting to receive a mayor’s proclamation in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It’s observed in April and calls attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and affects everyone in the community.

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month aims to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities about how to prevent it,” the proclamation reads. “Jamie Heard, mayor of the City of Lanett, along with members of the Lanett City Council join advocates and communities across the country in taking action to prevent sexual violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Each day of the month – and every day throughout the year – presents an opportunity to create lasting change for the future.”

Mayor Heard recognized the Lanett Restoration Committee members who were present at the meeting and thanked them for hosting a clean-up day this coming Saturday, April 6th. Volunteers will be meeting at 9 a.m. at city hall this Saturday to head out and clean up litter from city streets. Anyone is welcome to take part.

“We are hoping for a good turnout,” Mayor Heard said. “Let’s try to keep our city clean.”