Alabaster Council asks governor to reconsider business closures

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council at its meeting on Monday, May 4, approved a resolution requesting that Gov. Kay Ivey consider lifting all orders closing businesses.

Ivey declared a state public health emergency on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and on March 28, in conjunction with the state health officer, issued orders for entertainment venues, athletic facilities, restaurants and close contact service providers such as barbershops, hair salons and gyms to remain closed.

Meanwhile, large box retailers, grocery stores and pharmacies could remain open at 50-percent occupancy with social distancing and sanitation guidelines in place.

“The blanket closure of businesses deemed non-essential by the orders poses a significant threat to the ultimate survival of those businesses and our city’s and state’s economy,” read the resolution. “The City Council and mayor of the city of Alabaster find that each of its businesses is essential to the health and well-being of the citizens of the city and state of Alabama and that each can individually determine its ability to open to the public while taking the same ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with reduced occupancy, social distancing and sanitation guidelines.”

The orders disproportionately affected small business owners, restaurants, hair salons and gyms without acknowledging that such businesses have less foot traffic and are equally able to take steps to comply with the guidelines, according to the resolution.

City Councilman Russell Bedsole said the resolution was a “very respectful plea.”

“We’re just asking for consideration so that hard-working business owners and employees can get back to work,” Bedsole said.

In other business, the Council:

  • Awarded a $7,500 bid for the demolition of structures located at 965, 967 and 969 Simmsville Road to the lowest bidder, Cornerstone Tree Service.
  • Awarded a $10,000 bid for the demolition of city-owned structures located at 1655, 1693 and 1715 Old Montgomery Highway (Old Hwy. 31) to the lowest bidder, Cornerstone Tree Service.
  • Approved a resolution to allow the mayor to enter into a power and maintenance agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for lighting located at Interstate 65 Exit 238.
  • Approved a resolution acknowledging exemplary performance by city employees during the COVID-19 pandemic that also allows the mayor to financially compensate each employee “in the amount she determines commensurate with the level of hazard undertaken by each.” The hazard pay will come from the city’s reserve fund, which has a balance of more than $3.5 million that is intended for use during extreme circumstances. “It’s set forth for times like these, and it’s a nice thing to be able to do for our employees,” Councilman Scott Brakefield said.
  • Approved a resolution to grant a utility easement to Alabama Power at Veterans Park.
  • Approved a resolution to renew a $2.5 million line of credit at a 2.95-percent interest rate at Central State Bank for a term of 12 months.
  • Approved a resolution agreeing to a memorandum of understanding with Shelby County for the use of county equipment for the 2020 municipal election.
  • Approved a resolution to submit the Municipal Water Pollution Prevention program 2020 annual report.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing the Environmental Services Department to purchase emergency stationary backup pumps for $287,373.
  • Approved a resolution to enter into a contractual agreement with Engineers of the South regarding immediate and long-term planning for the city’s environmental services for $39,750.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing a supplemental expense of professional services relating to the Alabama 119 expansion project in the amount of $87,270. The supplement is for additional work related to modifications to the design of the multi-use path and studying the feasibility of phasing the project.