Mayor Waters declares May 20 as Tom Seale Day in Pelham

Published 10:18 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council was provided a front row seat to a surprise proclamation that honored City Clerk/Treasurer Tom Seale at a regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday, May 20.

All was proceeding according to the schedule at the night’s meeting until Pelham Mayor Gary Waters announced his intention to issue a surprise proclamation that did not appear on the meeting’s agenda. Prior to reading his proclamation, Waters motioned for the family of City Clerk/Treasurer Tom Seale to enter the room as unexpected guests.

Seale’s wife Brenda, son Jonathan, and future daughter-in-law Joy took front row seats in the room while Waters celebrated the important contributions of professional clerks by declaring the week of May 20-26, 2024 as Municipal Clerk’s Week in Pelham.

He further continued the proclamation by specifically designating May 20 as Tom Seale Day in the city.

Seale has served the City of Pelham for a total of 19 years and was Pelham’s first finance director. For the past eight years, Seale has continued to serve in the dual roles of City Clerk/Treasurer.

“It was a group of our employees who actually recommended that we do a Tom Seale day,” Pelham City Manager Gretchen DiFante said. “I think that speaks highly of him.”

DiFante praised Seale’s responsiveness, determination and gratefulness, and continued her comments by extending her own words of appreciation toward Seale, whom DiFante said she has worked with longer than anyone else in her entire career.

“I have had the opportunity to work with Tom since first coming (to Pelham) almost seven years ago,” DiFante said. “I will say that I felt like a fish out of water and had it not been for Tom—I don’t know that I would have made it. I have never met anyone—hands down, who is as dedicated and committed to their job, but also to their family, to the people that they work with and to the Lord (as Seale is).”

Waters further made comment that sought to bring Seale’s work with the city into perspective when Waters pointed out that while the city of Pelham has only had five mayors, Seale had served three of them.

A humble and surprised Seale was asked to speak by DiFante and Waters and took the podium following their comments.

“I don’t know what to say,” Seale said. “I’m totally surprised and appreciate working with you guys for the past 19 years—and hopefully for a few more. To the mayor and Gretchen, it is a pleasure working with you guys and to my future daughter-in-law—it is great to see you here. Thank you.”

Prior to Water’s surprise announcement, the council opened the meeting by unanimously passing a consent agenda that included resolutions providing for the following:

  • Entering into a service agreement with Credit Bureau Systems, Inc., doing business as Ambulance Medical Billing, to provide the billing and recovery cost for the city’s EMS transport services
  • Issuing of a special use permit to AT&T for modifications to an existing telecommunications facility located at 7052 Highway 11
  • Accepting the annual Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Program report prepared by Municipal Consultants, Inc.
  • Accepting a bid from Mark Johnson Construction, LLC and authorizing the mayor to sign the notice of award for the Business Center Sewer Lift Station improvements project. This was a budgeted project for the 2024 fiscal year
  • Entering into a contract with Perry Weather for a weather alert system that will serve to detect lightning at Pelham City Park. This was a budgeted project for the 2024 fiscal year
  • The declaration of Pelham City Park’s old playground equipment and fence as surplus following the completion of the new playground facility

Following the Mayor’s proclamation, DiFante delivered the city manager’s report which mentioned the opening of Oak Mountain State Park’s renovated campground and success of the Xterra competition. The report also focused on the work being done to overcome recent challenges suffered by the Cahaba Solid Waste Authority, and its provider Amwaste.

Vestavia and Pelham’s decrease in service levels, from 99 percent to 97 percent, has been tied to two neighborhoods in particular—which have accounted for 91 percent of all reported service issues.

According to DiFante, the issues stem from recent route changes brought forth by the elimination of Saturday trash collections.

“It may not seem like a large increase, but to those residents in those two locations it has been significant for them,” DiFante said. “Obviously, we want to see it improved drastically.”

DiFante also reported that AmWaste has identified drivers adjusting to new routes as the primary cause for the issues being seen by residents.

As a result of route changes, roughly 45 percent of drivers have seen route adjustments implemented. AmWaste hopes that recent changes and upgrades will better allow drivers to adjust to the changes and improve overall service.

“They are implementing new software in all of their garbage trucks which allows management to see real time progression of where the trucks and take photos of pickups at each location,” DiFante said. “That’s going to allow them to deploy resources when they have a problem.”

DiFante also credited AmWaste’s new route manager in Pelham for their communication.“We’ll be meeting with them every month until these situations are resolved,” DiFante said. “We want regular updates from them and to have members of the authority able to ask them questions on a regular basis together.”

At the conclusion of the city manager’s report, the council further approached a number of new business items which included the following:

  • Denial of an ABC license application for a Lounge Retail Liquor-Class II Liquor License for applicant Al Dolah, Inc. operating under the trade name Pelham Liquor Store located at 3569 Pelham Parkway, Suite 10.
  • A first reading for the repeal of Ordinance No. 429 regarding the occupancy requirements for residential structures.
  • Set the date and time for two public hearings to take place at the June 3 council meeting

The Council also unanimously approved the declaration to donate property owned by the city to the Alabama Department of Transportation as a part of the Alabama Highway 261 widening project. That property is located at the intersection of North Chandalar Drive and Alabama Highway 261.