January 2016 City Council Work Session Meeting Minutes


January 26, 2016

The Bessemer City Council met for a work session on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at 3:30PM in the Council Chambers of City Hall.  Proper notice was given.

Call to Order

Mayor Becky Smith called the meeting to order and thanked everyone for attending.

Members Present

Mayor: Becky Smith. Council Members: Dan Boling, Kay McCathen, Joe Will, Howard Jones, Alfred Carpenter, and Donnie Griffin were all present.  Also present was City Manager, James Inman, and department heads.

Department Head Reports

Public Works- Jamie Ramsey, Public Works Director, was absent.

Water- Assistant Public Works Director, Melinda Beard, was absent.

Finance- Finance Director, Diane Jenkins, updated City Council on year-end reports and the City’s audit.

Parks and Recreation- Parks and Recreation Director, JoD Franklin, reported on the upcoming Down Home Festival Meeting and the Father Daughter Banquet which will be on February 6th.

Planning/Zoning- City Planner, Jeffrey Kirchner, reported on the demolition scheduled for the City’s property at 118 West Virginia Avenue for the downtown park.

Police/Code Enforcement- Police Chief, Tom Ellis, and Deputy Code Enforcement Officer, David Taylor, discussed an issue with the property at 404 East Indiana Avenue with possible minimum housing issues.  Dave Taylor expressed that he wanted direction from City Council.  By consensus, Council directed Mr. Taylor to issue a 30 day repair order.  If the owners do not comply with the order, then the City will look into requiring the occupants to vacate the premises due to minimum housing concerns.

Economic Development/Clerk/HR- Economic Development Officer/Human Resources Officer/City Clerk, Joshua Ross, reported on a downtown business moving to a new space in the central business district, available incubator space at the Bessemer City Area Chamber of Commerce building becoming available, and the plans for Bubble Baths and Beyond, a business located in downtown Bessemer City, to start the Façade Improvement Grant (FIG) Program.

ABC Board Appointment

Council Member Dan Boling stated that he believes family members should not be on paid boards, including the ABC Board.  Mr. Boling stated that it looks bad in the public eye to appoint family members to paid boards.  Mr. Howard Jones stated that he believes it is discrimination to not allow boards to be open to any citizens, including family members of City Council.  Mayor Becky Smith stated that it appears unethical to appoint family members to paid boards.

Additional discussion was held regarding Council’s regulatory control over the ABC Board and what is mandated by State Statue.

Mr. Boling made a motion to not allow immediate family of Council Members on paid board appointed by City Council.  The motion passed 5-1 with Dan Boling, Kay McCathen, Joe Will, Alfred Carpenter, and Donnie Griffin voting in favor.  Howard Jones voted in opposition to the motion.

Council Member Joe Will made a motion to table the ABC Board Appointment for another meeting.  Mr. Will stated he believes that the same pool of people are appointed to boards in the community and would like to see a more diversified candidate pool for appointments.  The motion passed 5-1 with Dan Boling, Kay McCathen, Joe Will, Alfred Carpenter, and Donnie Griffin voting in favor.  Howard Jones voted in opposition to the motion.

City Council discussed setting up new criteria for board appointments in the February Planning Session.

City Manager’s Report

Downtown Park- City Manager, James Inman, explained the plans for the downtown park including the projected budget.  Mr. Inman provided Council with a preliminary plan for the space.

By motion of Joe Will and unanimous vote, City Council approved to pursue the plan for the park.

Suggestions made by Bessemer City Downtown Development (BCDD) were also presented to City Council for consideration as the project progresses.

Committee Members- City Manager, James Inman, expressed concerns he has for some members that currently serve on City committees because of their actions and negative comments made about the City.

Council General Discussion

Mayor Smith opened the floor for Council general discussion.  There was none.


Being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:05PM by motion of Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote.

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