Cody Sumners focuses on 3 core areas in campaign
Published 11:34 am Monday, August 15, 2016
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer
CHELSEA – Cody Sumners has spent the last 18 years of his life working for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office handling everything from patrol to the drug task force.
Now Sumners has decided to give back to the community that has given him and his family so much and run for Place 1 on the Chelsea City Council. It has to come as no surprise that the main focus of his campaign will be on public safety.
“After going to a lot of City Council meetings, primarily over the last year, I sat back and saw a need for more emphasis on public safety throughout the city,” Sumners said. “Primarily on law enforcement and fire and rescue. That is the main thing that got me into the idea of running, as well as making a difference in my hometown.”
He mentioned several different ways to solve issues, but focused heavily on the city’s contract with the sheriff’s department. Right now the contract keeps one deputy assigned to Chelsea city limits 24 hours a day.
The city is currently paying for a total of nine deputies, four that work patrol during that 24-hour span, while the rest are school officers.
“I would like to see the contract increased, eventually bringing us up to two deputies on the road at all times, an investigator for the city and a supervisor that is essentially a chief of police,” Sumners said.
He said that you could pull something off like that for a third of the cost that it would take to start Chelsea’s own police department, but even hinted at redesigning police cars that patrol Chelsea to give them their own identity. He also said that the city would get much more out of an increased contract with the sheriff’s department than it would out of starting its own police department.
While Sumners wants to stay contracted to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, he does feel that it is time for Chelsea to have its own municipal court.
“The Municipal Court is what can enforce municipal ordinances in the city,” Sumners said. “If we want to do the things a city should be doing we need a municipal court to enforce those ordinances, not only for the citizens but the businesses. If you own a business or house in Chelsea you don’t want somebody moving next to you that won’t abide by the ordinances because right now they aren’t being enforced.”
He said if they were enforced, it would help increase the feel of safety and comfort for all citizens and businesses.
His last focus of public safety was on the fire department, saying that he has seen fire departments all over the county and Chelsea has one of the best.
“We need to make sure we can hire, train and retain these people because I’ve been to council meetings where they announce that somebody from the fire department is leaving to take another job,” Sumners said. “I don’t want that. I don’t want us to train people to go somewhere else. I want them to stay here and make this a destination job. There is no reason somebody shouldn’t be beating down the doors to work in Chelsea.”
Sumners has two other areas of his campaign that are part of his three core focuses, traffic issues and business growth.
He mentioned the speed limit being dropped down to 50 mph for a stretch of one mile on U.S. 280, but said that isn’t enough and would like for it to be lowered all the way up to County Road 51.
“We need to put a plan together and then go meet with ALDOT,” Sumners said. “That way we can explain to them why we need this done and why it will benefit us as a city.”
He also said the same thing needs to happen with things like putting a light at Chelsea Park and fixing the railroad crossing in front of city hall.
“The railroad crossing in front of City Hall is high on my agenda as well,” Sumners said. “This is all stuff that we can’t do unilaterally, the city and the county have to be on the same page. The county has just as much interest in Chelsea growing because they are getting some of the sales tax too.”
Sumners said a long-term plan needs to be put in place for that crossing, whether it’s re-working it for a city center or something else, but something needs to be done long-term.
“The other night we got a call of a burglary in progress, the officer was on 280, but the burglary was on the other side of 36. He was sitting there with his lights and siren on stopped by a train and couldn’t get around,” Sumners said.
Building off of everything, Sumners said that they have to bring new businesses to the city because Chelsea’s revenue is based off of sales tax.
“We need to look at getting a recruiting firm that can come in and help us with recruiting business that we want here,” he said.
He then mentioned the most popular topic in this election, the sewage tap in fee.
“If we want to build a business park or something of that nature, all of those people are going to have to have somewhere to eat and right now restaurants are staying away because of the sewer fee,” Sumners said. “Right now I think it’s $81 a month just for sewer costs, while you compare that to a place like Alabaster who only pays around $35 a month.”
He said it hasn’t affected growth yet, but it could in the future.
“Chelsea is primed for growth and we need to get together with the county and others to help that happen.”
Sumners said he feels that being the only candidate with a background in public safety is important and something that every government leader should possess.
The Chelsea elections will take place Tuesday, Aug. 23 at City Hall from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.