Council hears from Bruce Drive residents

Residents of Bruce Drive in Scottsboro were present at the last Scottsboro City Council meeting, held on Monday, April 4, 2022, to bring attention to a water drainage problem that has been plaguing their property for years now. The couple first moved onto the property in 2006, and until 2018, there were no problems with the water runoff draining expediently and efficiently from their property into a drainage/service ditch that runs alongside their property.

One day in 2018, after heavy rainfall, the water was not draining like it used to. The entire front yard became flooded, with it taking days to subside and even longer to dry out. The problem is still persisting to present day.

Leslie Jordan stated there have also been holes opening up under the property, with the first one appearing just in front of her mailbox. Another hole, she stated, is about four feet deep.
Jamie Jordan, her spouse, stated they have installed a culvert and had gravel added to their drive, just to be able to enter and exit the property in their vehicles. He said that after a lot of rain, the grass will be bowed up with water underneath it, and when it dries, it sinks into the ground. It was also stated their driveway now pitches to the left. After a meeting with Scottsboro WS&G, the sewer department came out and checked the lines for any leaks.

A leak in one of the city’s water lines was eventually found and repaired, but the underground damage was already done, as the misguided water had found the canal of the existing sewer line and followed that, carving the earth out even more, underground, causing instability above. The Street Department did come out to the property and repair some things; however, the problem is still persisting, if not worsening.

Ms. Jordan stated it is now 50 feet into her property from the road, and another 50 feet will put it at the foundation of her home. She also stated she would like a French drain or some drainage update installed to allow the water to flow into the service ditch beside their property as it did before.

City Attorney Stephen Kennamer advised the couple to go before the Water Board in person and present their problem there.

Mr. John Dietz of Mountaintop Dispensary was present to introduce himself and his business that should be opening this month on Willow Street in Scottsboro. Dietz stated he hails from Missouri where he spent most of his life working on a farm alongside the Missouri River. He later pursued a degree in computer science and engineering from Missouri University before obtaining a Masters in biology, focusing on organic chemistry. Dietz stated he and his family have been residents of Scottsboro for one year, and he chose Scottsboro because of its charm, its growth and its core values.

“It kind of reminds me of where I grew up when I was a kid, and its really good, down-home, Americana presence,” stated Dietz. “This place is not only where one can feel that they can succeed in a business venture, again, but also help others, and that’s the main core philosophy in our business.”

Dietz stated the dispensary’s demographic for customers are men and women from 52 to 86 years of age who are in pain, have neuro disorders, terminal illnesses and others trying to combat opioid addiction. He stated this demographic is followed by men and women aged 35 to 48 years who are currently in physically demanding trade work. Lastly, Dietz stated, parents with children aged 2 to 16 who may suffer from autism, are severely bipolar, have attention deficit disorder, children with epilepsy and those with a cancer diagnosis.

“On or about September 1, 2022, the Cannabis Commission here in Alabama has been ordered by Governor Kay Ivey to outline the framework for the medical cannabis field in the state. In which we tend to apply for license. Such license would allow us to grow, harvest, process and dispense in this state. Our personal stance on smoking is that when it’s combusted, it’s carcinogenic and thus negating its medical quality. In the coming months we plan to work closely with medical professionals and pharmacy owners here in the Northeast Alabama area to focus on correct dosages for their patients and consult with the medical community when the need arises. Medical cannabis in our state will be available to treat 16 different conditions including cancer, PTSD, Parkinson’s, MS and epilepsy, just to name a few.”

Dietz stated it is projected by Whitney Economics that when cannabis is legalized nationwide, most of the cannabis industry could support 1.75 million jobs across the United States. He said that currently, the United States cannabis industry supports 428,000 full-time jobs as of January 1, 2022, and about 280 jobs per day were filled just last year on average.

“Most jobs are in the $18-$24 an hour range, with a full range of benefits. Those 428,000 jobs include direct jobs like cultivation, retail sales, jobs in the media, technology platforms, public relations, lobbying, non-cannabis products suppliers and industry associations. Come September, this will by far reach a multitude of Alabama,” Dietz stated.

Dietz then requested three things of the councils members:
• That if no age restriction has yet been set in the city for hemp products and cannabis products, that the City Council consider an age restriction be made and placed in a city ordinance stating that all retailers must adhere to a strict 21-and-over policy unless directed by a medical professional.
• That they do not want to see any childlike imagery and would like to see a marketing policy set forth in Scottsboro and county to not allow imagery like gummy bear, cartoony looking characters on people’s shelves.
• Dietz finally asked the city’s consideration to open up dialogue to decriminalize simple possession to a ticket.

“Recently, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley recommended to Tuscaloosa City Council to lower its penalties on low-level marijuana offenders. It’s reported that two hours on average to return to the field after making an arrest, which creates a strain on resources that would be alleviated in a big way if officers are given a discretion to issue citations in certain instances. Also, potentially relieving the court system in a burdening docket. Data shows the state of Alabama spends $22 million in taxpayer money every year for enforcing simple marijuana laws that are becoming increasingly archaic when compared to laws that are existing currently in other states,” Dietz stated.

Other items presented to Council included a tourism grand application in the amount of $5,000 to benefit the Scottsboro Jackson Rescue Squad’s 11th Annual Fishing Tournament. Council moved this to the next meeting.

A budget amendment for the city’s IT Director’s vehicle was presented, as was a budget amendment for the additional Building Inspector’s salary in the amount of $9,057. City Accountant Rick Wheeler stated that because this employee was already employed with the city and earning that salary, his salary will stay the same. Currently, the city follows a policy that states in cases such as this, their salary will stay the same if it is at or above the amount approved by Council for a new position.

Recreation Director Donnie Wood was present to request $9,305 to go toward a repair for the splash pad’s electrical panel. Wood stated that with Council’s approval, this should allow for a Memorial Day weekend opening.

A tourism grant application was presented by Scottsboro’s Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Katie Kirkland for two Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School fishing tournaments that will be held in November of this year and March of next year. The grant will be $4,500 and will cover seven hotel rooms, one night each.

An invoice from the Alabama Department of Transportation was presented to Council by City Engineer Josh Littler in the amount of $8,721.26. This invoice covers three separate projects, Porter Road, Clemons Road and Ridgedale Road, from 2015, 2016 and 2018.

All of these items were moved to next week’s meeting.


by Martha Smith

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