Town hall meeting draws about 100
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
About 100 Pelham residents packed a banquet room at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena on March 7 as the city’s elected officials answered questions on everything from litter pickup on U.S. 31 to addressing Pelham’s sewer rates.
During the town hall meeting, residents had a chance to share their opinions and concerns with Mayor Gary Waters and members of the City Council, and heard updates on several city projects.
“I am overwhelmed and enthused that we had to go get more chairs,” Councilman Maurice Mercer said, noting the city is planning to hold the meetings quarterly. “Tonight is about us hearing from you.”
Waters updated residents on the actions he and the City Council have taken since they took office in November 2012, and said he is preparing to submit an ordinance to the City Council aimed at modifying the way the city charges its residents for water usage.
If passed, the new ordinance would tie residents’ water bills to the amount of water they use from October-March. The council likely will vote on the ordinance during its March 25 meeting, Waters said.
Waters also said he is planning to ask the council to authorize the purchase of speed monitors to help curb speeding in the city’s neighborhoods and a vehicle to allow the Pelham Public Works Department to pick up litter U.S. 31 and other busy city roads.
Residents also asked about the status of widening U.S. 31 and Shelby County 261 – both of which are projects in the Alabama Department of Transportation’s long-term plans.
Council President Rick Hayes said Pelham, Hoover and Helena must “band together to get that (Shelby County 261) project pushed back up the list.”
Councilman Ron Scott said ALDOT held a public meeting a few years ago to outline a plan for widening U.S. 31 from Alabaster to Hoover, and said the agency will pursue the project as funding becomes available.
Waters said the city is working to purchase a pair of billboard advertisements for the Civic Complex along Interstate 65, and mayor’s assistant Paula Holly encouraged businesses to submit their information for a business directory on Pelhamonline.com, which is set to launch in late April.