Archived Story

Getting ‘a new start’

Published 12:40pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Benson Community Center granted provisional business license for six months

Benson Community Center was granted a provisional business license for six months at Monday night’s city council meeting.

The vote passed 4-2, with District 6 Councilman Tony Goss and Council President Bob Howard voting against.

District 1 Councilman Bobby Tapley said he, District 2 Councilwoman Sherry Ellison-Simpson and District 4 Councilman Billy Ray Wall visited with center owner Jeffrey Benson on Friday, March 1 to tour the facility. Tapley reported that Benson’s security surveillance system records both inside and outside footage and that Benson has purchased a sound meter to make sure music is kept within the guidelines of the city’s ordinance on decibel levels.

Tapley said he and Ellison-Simpson also spoke with people who live near the community center.

“Everyone we talked to didn’t have a problem with Mr. Benson or the community center having a license to operate,” Tapley said. “I did have one person call and protest … but most I spoke to spoke in favor of it.”

Howard said he voted against the measure as per the Alexander City Police Department’s recommendation.

“Let’s consider this a new start,” said District 5 Councilman Jim Spann. “Let’s see how things go, and if things go well then we can extend that. If not, then the city council can revoke it.”

The council also:

- authorized Mayor Charles Shaw to execute an agreement with Enitachopco Falls, Inc., owners of Byers Field, so the baseball/softball league’s 43 teams can use them as a practice field. The six-month lease fee was $1.

“It will be good to see (the fields) used again,” Goss said.

- tabled a request to waive business licenses for vendors on the opening day of baseball/softball season. License Inspector Ward Sellers said he opposed the measure, saying the city has formed a habit of waiving licenses at Oktoberfest, Jazz Fest and other city events.

“I question if it’s getting a little out of hand,” Sellers said.

- authorized $5,700 to cover the cost of repairs and fencing at the city cemetery

- authorized Shaw to dispose of two unneeded vehicles: a 1998 Ford F800 aerial bucket truck and a 1986 Grumman aerial ladder truck

- amended the capital budget for the Parks and Recreation Department by $11,000 to cover the cost of a spring floor system for the gymnastics program. The department already had $4,000 in its budget, and the estimated cost of the floor is just shy of $15,000.

- awarded a bid for a new dump truck to Gulf Coast Truck of Mobile for $135,657. Though the company’s bid was highest, Wall explained that the company was the only one to submit a bid meeting the correct specifications.

- amended the personnel authorization list for the police department, converting one patrolman position to a sergeant position and upgrading two dispatch positions to communications training officer positions

- voted to allow the Alabama Lakes Area Chapter of the Red Cross to give out red carnations to drivers and ask for donations on March 15.  Volunteers will be posted at the post office intersection from 10 a.m. to noon and at the bowling alley intersection from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

- voted to co-sponsor the Alexander City Celebrate Freedom event July 3 with Marshall Street Church of God

- voted 4-2 for a new off-premises retail beer and wine license for AGW Enterprises, LLC, at the In and Out located at 2688 Dadeville Road. Wall and Tapley voted against the application, citing its proximity to a church located across the street.

- unanimously approved a license for off-premises retail beer and wine for AGW Enterprises, LLC for Happy Food Mart, located at 192 Broad Street

-  unanimously approved a transfer of an off-premises retail beer and wine license for Allen Food Mart at 4880 Highway 280

- unanimously approved a transfer of a lounge retail liquor license for Allen Food Mart doing business as The Liquor Store, located at 4880 Highway 280