New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame

New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame updates the council on the grant processes for a new medical clinic and senior center.

The New Site Town Council discussed salary increases for the mayor and council for the next term, but no decision was made Monday.

The next term begins Nov. 1 and raises must be decided by Feb. 25, according to New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame.

“We’re not voting on this (Monday),” Blasingame said. “We’re giving this to everybody because I think in fairness to everyone who’s considered running — whether they’re incumbents or whether they’re new — they need to know what the pay scale is and the pay.”

Salaries for the mayor and council were last raised in 2000 and 2008, respectively. Blasingame said the city researched similar-sized town councils’ pay scales to compile a list.

New Site’s mayor’s salary is currently $275 a month and councilmembers are paid $120 a month. Mayor salaries of similar-sized towns range from $200 a month in Powell to $600 a month in Wadley. Councilmember salaries of comparable towns range from $100 a month in Wadley and Magnolia Springs to $200 a month in Somerville and Eva.

“I think we need to adjust it to some degree because in 19 years, things have changed considerably,” Blasingame said.

The council will further the discussion at its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The council also furthered its medical clinic and pharmacy project by unanimously approving a 2.88% fixed rate for 16 years on $375,000 for construction with River Bank & Trust.

“We do need to go ahead and notify the (bank) we want to go with so we won’t lose that rate,” Blasingame said. 

Councilmember Mickey Carter made the motion to approve the loan at that rate and councilmember Billy Daniel seconded it. Blasingame abstained from voting because he is a River Bank & Trust relationships manager in Alexander City.

“That’s a cheap rate and, (like the mayor was saying), we need to vote on the amount and who we’re going to use (Monday) and get this thing off (the ground) because we sure don’t want it to rise because there ain’t no way it can go any lower right there,” Carter said. “That’s really great.”

Blasingame updated the council on the grant process for the medical clinic and pharmacy. To ensure it is not on burial ground, the town sent letters of interest to tribes Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town and Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas to ensure.

The town can proceed with the grant if it does not hear back by any of the tribes by Jan. 23. After that, the town will post an environmental assessment notice in three public places that says the site it plans to build on has no perceived negative impact for 18 days.

“Right now we’re just sitting there waiting on this time to run off,” Blasingame said. “Then we’ll be back on track.”

The town will be able to start work on the building in the latter part of the year, according to Blasingame.

In other action, the New Site Town Council:

• Was updated on the senior center grant process. Blasingame said it doesn’t need tribal approval and the city was given a timeline to be finished with it by Feb. 1.

• Unanimously approved accepting sealed bids for a town 2010 Chevrolet Impala. The minimum bid for it is $2,500.

• Declared council seat Place 4 vacant due to former councilmember Leslie Wingler’s resignation. Wingler resigned due to health insurance concerns Dec. 16.

The council is now accepting resumes and town clerk Shelia Fuller will go over the town’s insurance with applicants.

“We don’t want to go through what happened with Leslie here because it was not his fault at all,” Blasingame said. “He was just a victim of circumstance, but now we’re well versed on this local government insurance.”

Applications are due Jan. 16 and council will vote on a new councilmember Jan. 21.

• Was updated on the 2018-19 audit is now complete. A presentation for it will be held Jan. 21.

• Unanimously approved a $385 advertisement in the 2020 Parade Magazine.