New Site is one step closer to a medical clinic on town property.

The town council unanimously approved awarding the low bid of $724,500 to Alexander City contractor AAA General Contractor. The bid comes in over what officials were estimating at $550,000 but they will now see what can be eliminated to lower costs.

“We are approving to go ahead and negotiate to try and get a lower price,” councilmember Michael East said. 

Councilmember Michael Carter said, “We are not going to fund the project yet. We are approving the low bid and negotiate from there.”

New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame said architect Walt McKee of McKee and Associates will get with the contractor and come up with ways to trim the project. Blasingame said before the project is trimmed and funded a work session will be scheduled with the council so members can discuss it with McKee and the contractor.

The council approved fiscal year budgets for the general fund and water department.

Blasingame said he is optimistic about revenues for 2020 but is reserved in the budget.

“We are budgeting conservative,” he said. “We are budgeting lower revenue for next year but expecting better.”

Blasingame said the budget for general fund includes $390,000 in revenue and year to date for 2019 the town was already at $415,000 with another month to go. Expenses would be $387,000. Water was expecting $408,000 in revenue and $406,000 in expenses for 2020.

The council approved the moving of the town’s operational financial accounts to River Bank & Trust. Blasingame abstained from discussion and the vote. Councilmember Leslie Wingler made the motion for the move and councilmember Billy Daniel seconded it. The measure passed 4-0 with Blasingame abstaining.

Blasingame said he had spoken with engineers at Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) about the resurfacing of Highway 22 from Hillabee Creek to the end of the four lane on the east side of town.

“Our four lane is still on the docket to be repaved next year,” Blasingame said. “It will start early spring.”

Blasingame said he spoke with Tallapoosa County Board of Education superintendent Joe Windle about Highway 22 and other security measures at Horseshoe Bend School. Blasingame said ALDOT engineers are going to look at traffic flow around the school and what can be done with to help with an auditorium coming to the school’s campus. The work might be done with the resurfacing project.

“If (ALDOT does) something, they are looking at doing it the same time as the roadwork,” Blasingame said.

The council approved gifting the Horseshoe Bend Youth Football League $500 to go toward a trip to play in the Mercedes Benz dome following an Atlanta Falcons game Dec. 15. The group asked for less.

“They said they had all of the funds but $300,” Blasingame said.

The council wanted to make sure the organization had some monies left in the coffers.

In other action the council also:

• Approved the moving of three certificates of deposit from the water deposit to River Bank & Trust as they expire in the next two weeks. River Bank & Trust quoted 2% on 13 months and Valley Bank quoted 1.75%. Blasingame abstained from the vote.

• Tabled allowing elected officials to participate in the Local Government Health Program to allow councilmember Toby Hanson who was absent a chance to enter the discussion.

• Heard a report from Blasingame the town received a grant in the amount of $15,000 from Coosa Valley RC&D Council for the Big Woods Road Water project. With grant monies and funds left over from the other water project the town will have little money invested in the project.

• Was reminded the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission will hold an annual meeting Thursday, Nov. 7 in Anniston with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. 

The next meeting of the New Site Town Council is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.