Council hears WSG; RecCom grievances

Scottsboro Water, Sewer and Gas (WS&G)Manager Jim Green was present at the last Scottsboro City Council meeting held on Monday, August 1, 2022 to discuss ARPA funds on behalf of the WS&G Board. Green stated WS&G is looking at running a new 16-inch water line from Randall’s Chapel on Crawford Road all the way to Sequatchie Concrete at the Industrial Park in Hollywood.
Green stated, “In 1960, we built a water plant , ran a 16-inch line through the town, and that kind of covered the town for a few years. In 1972, with Highway 72 was being developed, we ran an eight-inch water line up 72 to cover the growth. We started growing more and more. In the 90s, we saw some weaknesses where Maples was growing, 72 was developing, and we were adding more things going out 72. We ran a 12-inch line all the way to the Hollywood city limits. Well, in the 2000s, Scottsboro decided they wanted to build an industrial park in Hollywood, so we went out there and ran infrastructures to carry that same 12-inch line, that 10-inch line together out to Hollywood.”

Green continued, “As we’ve been studying modeling and our facilities, we’ve discovered that with our current growth and future growth that we already have developing out there, we may have some water issues. We’ve tried to look into putting a 16-inch line up Crawford Road over to 72 and replace a line on 72 that we laid in the 90’s because it is plastic, and it has ruptured several times. This should cover the growth that we have existing now and future growth.”

According to Green, when industrial recruits come to Scottsboro, two of their first questions are regarding highway access and the water system. Green proposed the city take $1.6million in ARPA reserves and enter into a joint venture with the WS&G Board to complete this project. He stated the cost for materials only and the bore underneath 72 would come to $1.6 million, with WS&G covering any overages. WS&G would also install the piping. There is also a Lambert development that will be able to tie into this new water main and be provided more than adequate water for the future growth there.

There are a couple of hitches. The first being, Crawford Road is slated with the city to be repaved with ARPA funds, and the work must be under contract by next June. The second is this water line project would best be completed before Crawford is paved, but there will be a delay until a purchase order is placed, and that will be when the timeline is presented. Delays in receiving supplies, like the 16-inch piping, is also an issue.

“We have had several discussions about this,” stated Mayor Jim McCamy. “This does have a direct impact on future industrial growth. We do have one defense contractor that is located in our part of the industrial park with some other interests. I think you’ll see a lot more up that way. Also, with ARPA, the original intent was for infrastructure, which is exactly what this is.”
This was moved to the next meeting.

Three terms are expiring this month on the Industrial Development Board. Anyone interested should apply in writing to the City Clerk’s office by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2022.
Jim Olyniec was back to further discuss the proposed $300,000 – $400,000 pickleball complex that would be installed just off of Heroes Drive next to the tennis courts in Scottsboro. Olyniec presented parts of a letter written by Dr. Gary Spears who was not able to attend the meeting. In the letter, Spears stated Innovate Alabama’s Supplemental Grant Program could help to cover the complex due to the underwriting of the program that states installations of recreational activities are covered.

Spears’ letter also states, “As a former city councilman and retired educator, let us use the resources available to make Scottsboro and Jackson County the best place in this region to live, work and play. I support the development of the pickleball courts.”

Hoyt Harbin was also present to speak on behalf of the complex. Harbin stated he is currently driving to Guntersville two days a week to play pickleball, meeting players from Arab, Madison, Huntsville, Albertville, Scottsboro and Langston.

“They’ve got over 120 people on their roll, and this is in a town half Scottsboro’s size,” Harbin stated. “Obviously we’ve got a beautiful complex over there: baseball, soccer, walking trails, track, dog park. I think this pickleball complex would fit perfect right in there. It’ll bring men and women together in our town, old and young, and I do believe it would be good for our town.”

Next, Rick Roden with the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce spoke from a business and industry perspective, stating, “Without a doubt, it’ll be an asset. When we can provide amenities to our business and our industry, whether we’re recruiting them or people moving into this town, any type of asset like this that we can add is a benefit; it’s going to bring more people to town.”

Olyniec stated, “I would hope that a final decision on this pickleball complex would be based upon the recreation and sports merits that this new facility would offer to the citizens of Scottsboro; the additional recreational and sports amenities offered by the city that are represented by the Chamber of Commerce, the EDA and business recruiters that are attracting new business; and the favorable visitors’ impressions of our city that lead to further growth.”

Councilmember Ralph Dawe stated, “I’m all for pickleball; I think it’s a good idea. We’ve got budget hearings coming up for our next fiscal year. I just find it hard to go forward with pickleball courts when what we have is not being taken care of.”

Dawe continued, “I don’t know what it is, if it’s manpower or not, or lack of motivation – I don’t know. But as a result of citizens’ complaints, employees’ complaints and personal observations by myself, coaches not getting background checks – this has been ongoing since April. Bathrooms are not clean, the grounds are not kept or manicured. There’s a $3million baseball field with mildew on the walls. It’s obviously not being maintained. I think we’re having a hard time taking care of what we have now.”

Dawe followed this up with his concern for the budget hearings, wherein Council members are looking at raises for city employees based on their incomes. Dawe stated at the moment that will be his priority.

Council President Richard Bailey stated he was in agreement with Dawe with some exceptions.

“I understand where you’re coming from with some of those situations,” Bailey stated, “but I also think that, financially, this is the time to do it if we’re going to do it, and we shouldn’t be the last ones.”

Councilmember Nita Tolliver stated she visited some pickleball courts in Huntsville and Madison and liked what she saw. It was the engagement of the different generations engaging people of all ages, including children, that drew her focus on bringing the sport to Scottsboro. However, Tolliver had exceptions of her own.

“I am 100% with this; I think this will be great for our community,” Tolliver stated, “but as Mr. Dawe said, we need to fix some things. I don’t see a problem going forward with this, but I do want to clear up that we need some things fixed at our rec center.”

This was also moved to the next meeting for a vote.

Scottsboro City Schools Boardmember Lee Benson attended the meeting and spoke to the Mayor and council members about a grievance with the Rec-Com’s Recreation Director Donnie Woods and his coaching installment practices, along with grievances about Rec-Com teams and competition practices. The heated conversation can be viewed in its entirety on the Scottsboro City Council’s YouTube page at here at the 35:28 time stamp.

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