Archived Story

Council mulls remedy for invasive plants

Published 10:26am Thursday, August 1, 2013

One resident worried last week that if something isn’t done soon, Dadeville might be lost in an onslaught of invasive plant life.

Dadeville resident Jerry McGukin asked the council if he could work with them to develop a plan for dealing with the steady encroachment of invasive plant species — “especially kudzu,” he said — on picturesque Dadeville.

McGukin, a certified arborist, told council members of his continuing efforts to control kudzu, privet and wisteria on his property, and he’d noticed the plants beginning to take over the city at large. When such plants are allowed to thrive, they crowd out all other species and “create a monoculture,” McGukin said.

“It would be sad for someone to come through one day and say ‘there used to be a little town here under that pile of kudzu,’” McGukin said. “‘They called it Dadeville.’”

He said there would likely be a need for the city to invest in equipment and chemicals to battle the invasive species. Another frequent struggle when battling invasive plants, he said, was the refusal of landowners to allow their properties to be sprayed, letting the invasive plants continue to grow and spread.

McGukin described his professional efforts to eradicate “Tree of Heaven” at a military base near Atlanta, a grueling process that was ultimately successful. He added that he’d noticed Tree of Heaven gaining a foothold around the Dadeville High baseball field.

In other business:

– Council member Patricia Potts shared a resident’s quiestion about the policy for burials at the old portion of the Dadeville City Cemetery, “on the right side” of Columbus Street, as Potts described it. Reynolds, the city attorney, said there is a “box full of deeds” at city hall, from where plots had been purchased in the past. But it’s been a challenge to sort out duue to the less vigilant record-keeping over the years. The cemetery is also the subject of “pending litigation,” he said. But, he added, there are no more plots to sell in the older portion of the cemetery, “unless someone can provide proof they bought a plot in the past.”

– Councilman Foster reported on progress with a proposed “dog ordinance.” he said he was joined by councilmen Frank Goodman and Billy Monroe and Police Chief Barbour in a meeting to discuss the proposal. But various liability issues, public and private, will make any effort “a sticky situation.”

– Councilman Mickey Tarpley praised the return of monthly financial reports at last week’s meeting, adding that he and city clerk Mike Gardner had been working together to prepare the document and “beating up on each other” about it in some cases. He said there were some expenses that make it look like the city is strapped for cash, such as the purchase of the McKelvey Building intended to become Dadeville’s new city hall. But much of the price tag can be recouped, Tarpley said, once the current city hall is sold following the renovation and move. Tarpley said sales tax collections in June were the most the city has collected since one very good July in 2008.

He hopes to have the city’s accountant prepare an amended budget that better accounts for similar discrepancies in the next few weeks.