Pelham solves park bathroom dilemma

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham will pay about $18,500 to tie a pair of currently non-functioning bathrooms at Pelham City Park to the city’s sewer line after the City Council voted in favor of the motion during a Feb. 7 meeting.

The council voted 4-1 to approve tying the bathrooms on the southern end of the park to the city’s sewer line. Council members Steve Powell, Teresa Nichols, Karyl Rice and Council President Mike Dickens voted in favor of the project, and Councilman Bill Meadows voted against it.

The bathrooms have been non-functioning for several months, after the septic tank serving them failed and was removed.

The City Council had been debating how it would bring the bathrooms back to working order for several weeks.

A city ordinance requiring those with access to the sewer line to tie into it prevented the city from reinstalling the septic tank, and the original cost estimate to tie the bathrooms into the sewer line came in at about $50,000.

During its Jan. 24 meeting, the council considered changing the ordinance to exempt the city and any other entities meeting certain guidelines from the sewer ordinance.

The city’s current ordinance exempts single-family residences from tying into the sewer line if doing so would cross a road, if the property is larger than two acres or if it meets other criteria.

The council considered changing the ordinance to make the exemptions apply to all property types meeting the criteria during its Feb. 7 meeting until Powell told the council he was able to find a company willing to tie the bathrooms to the sewer line for about one-third of the original cost estimate.

“If this would work, this would be a great way to do this,” Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall said after Powell told the council the Helena-based CR Management Maintenance and Construction company could tie the bathrooms to sewer for $18,500.

“He said he could begin immediately, and it would take about a week to complete,” Powell said of CR owner Chris Ramsey.

Meadows said he was against tying the bathrooms into the sewer line, and said he would rather the council amend the ordinance and reinstall the septic tank.

Council members previously said it would cost between $8,000-$10,000 to reinstall the septic tank.

“I can’t vote for this because of the fact that we can do it for $8,000,” Meadows said. “That’s $10,000 on the table.”

But Powell said the city would be getting a better value by tying the bathrooms into the sewer line now.

“There are recurring costs, like pumping fees, that you would have to incur periodically with a septic tank. Eventually, (the septic tank) cost would become equal to this (sewer tie-in) figure,” Powell said. “We’re not talking about the same thing for $8,000 and $18,500.”

In other business, the council:

Voted unanimously to rename First Alabama Bank Drive to Tony Holmes Drive in memory of the former Shelby County Regions Bank president.

Holmes, 58, died in September 2010 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was on the board of the Shelby County YMCA, the Alabaster Industrial Development Board and was a board member for Shelby County Work Release Commission.

Received a large, heart-adorned sign reading “Thank you Pelham City Council for supporting Valley Intermediate School” from the school’s Student Council. The council recently donated $24,296.65 to VIS.

“We are glad to support our schools,” said Pelham Mayor Don Murphy. “Our students are our leaders of tomorrow.”

Voted to allow the Pelham Police Department to secure a loan to purchase seven 2011 police cruisers.

Appointed Gwen Kaminski to the Pelham Beautification Board. Kaminski’s term will expire on Sept. 30.