Alabaster Mayor Frings to negotiate for property

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New municipal facilities could be a step closer to reality for the city of Alabaster as the result of special council action taken Monday night.

Also, following discussion in a Monday night work session, an early warning system in times of crisis and code enforcement in the city’s police jurisdiction will be on the city council’s Aug. 1 regular meeting agenda.

And Council President Rick Walters has asked that the public be given a chance to speak before a gate is removed between two Alabaster subdivisions.

Councilmember Tommy Ryals cited the &uot;dire need&uot; for new city facilities at the special meeting held Monday night.

To that end, the Alabaster City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor David Frings to enter into an agreement to purchase a piece of property that city officials would not identify.

Ryals called the council action a &uot;first step&uot; in the direction of new facilities.

He said the city has a plan for a city center. And he said it appeared that what the city wants would fit on the property in question.

Ryals later explained that the city recently approved the creation of a mixed-use district for residential, retail and municipal buildings. He said a city center could include a city hall, library, recreational facilities, park, office, retail and residential properties.

The resolution approved by the council authorizes Frings to enter into negotiations to purchase property and pay $25,000 in earnest money to hold that property for 180 days to review data such as existing geotechnical information about the property and determine if the city wants to purchase it.

Frings said he would keep the council informed about the negotiations and would not spend the $25,000 in earnest money if he did not feel the purchase of the property were a possibility.

Following the special called meeting, the council went into a work session during which a contract for electronic filing of sales taxes by city businesses with the Alabama Department of Revenue was discussed. The electronic filing would cost the city 50 cents per transaction.

The council also discussed code enforcement in the police jurisdiction and agreed that action on the matter, which has been delayed, deserves an up or down vote. As a result, that matter will be included on the Aug. 1 council agenda.

In addition to nuisance enforcement, Frings said code enforcement in the police jurisdiction would give the city the right to review building plans with regard to flooding hazards.

Another matter to be placed on the Aug. 1 agenda will be a telephone warning system that could call city residents in time of crisis at a cost to the city of 12 cents per call.

Council President Rick Walters asked that the public be allowed to speak before action is taken to remove a gate between the Summerbrook and Shalimar subdivisions.

Alabaster Fire Chief Frank Matherson pointed out that the gate, which has been up for about 10 years, is a violation of a 2003 code and stated that one cannot barricade a fire access road.

Matherson said he was &uot;concerned about the safety of citizens, the preservation of property and the liability of the city.&uot;

Matherson said options include an automatic gate or the city could vacate the street. The gate was not th issue, he said, indicating the issue was the lack of accessibility.

While City Administrator Tony Rivera suggested signs could be erected stating &uot;no through traffic&uot; or &uot;local traffic only,&uot; he said that would not stop traffic.

And Matheson said such things as just leaving the gate unlocked would still slow response time.

In another matter, councilmembers agreed that the council’s Economic Development Committee should interview candidates for openings on the Industrial Development Board