Helena thanks Valenti for years of service, swears in new fire chief

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, September 28, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

HELENA – The Helena City Council recognized Fire Chief Pete Valenti for his decades of service to the city during a regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 25.

“We are always eternally grateful and thankful for you and the way that you have led the city and the fire department,” Mayor Brian Puckett said. “Congratulations on your upcoming retirement and (more than) 35 years of service.”

During the meeting, the council also recognized the swearing in of Chris Miller as Helena’s new fire chief, who will take over the position upon Valenti’s retirement effective Sunday, Oct. 1.

Councilmember Chris VanCleave was among those on the council that took a moment to recognize Valenti’s service to Helena.

“I want to thank Chief Valenti for his years of service and dedication to the city and for helping to provide that blanket of protection we all sleep under every night,” VanCleave said. “I know (he) will do big things in (his) retirement. We are all looking forward to seeing all that (he) does.”

VanCleave also made a point to mention that Valenti, incoming Chief Miller and the rest of Helena’s first responders carry a great reputation.

“I think it is interesting to note that the people of the Indian Ford Fire District made a major decision to annex into the city (and that it) speaks to the level of trust that they have in our ability to provide them with emergency services,” VanCleave said. “By a 75 percent margin, they voted to come into Helena—that speaks volumes not only for our police and fire protection but for the quality of life that we all enjoy and share every single day.”

Prior to this, Puckett also provided residents with project updates related to a number of parking lots and their subsequent lot upgrades and refurbishments.

“The Lee Springs parking lot lights are officially on and have completely changed the dynamics at night going into Lee Springs,” Puckett said. “Penhale parking lot is now complete and it is amazing that they were able to fit 132 parking spots there. Hillsboro Trail—with the paving and the sealing—we’re about 90 percent complete on that and should be wrapped up here in about the next week or so.”

It was also confirmed that the parking lot at the public library has been completed and the lot now has new lighting.

Puckett also mentioned that the paving and sealing of lots at the Helena Sports Complex are currently underway but are being done in sections as to best allow the use of the complex’s facilities during the sports season.

The schedule for work planned along Joe Tucker Park Road was also announced, with the road’s closure planned for roughly a six-day period beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

In other news the City Council also approved the following:

  • A city street paving project bid (opened on Sept. 21, 2023 at 11 a.m.)
  • Immediate approval of the annexation of 4899 South Shades Crest Road into Helena
  • Immediate approval of the annexation of 1201 Highway 93 into Helena
  • Immediate approval of the annexation of 9122 Bluff Ridge Road, Bessemer AL into Helena
  • Postponement of the approval or denial of a wildlife rehabilitation license to Georgie Waldrop for 60 days
  • Updates to the bylaws of Helena’s Diversity and Inclusion Board