During the “visitors’ comments” portion of Tuesday’s Piedmont City Council Meeting, local resident Brett Shields, gave an impassioned speech calling on the council to become a state leader in banning discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. He asked that the council lead the way by passing a resolution supporting fair and equal treatment of all persons, including those of the LGBT community.
Shields said that he was spurred to action following Council Member Kenny Kelley’s use of a derogatory word on social media. Kelley later apologized.
Joining Shields at Tuesday’s meeting were about 10 local residents, identifying as both gay and straight, all of whom echoed his sentiments. The group included the mother of a gay son, who after being discriminated against because of his sexuality, committed self-mutilation and even attempted suicide.
Mayor Baker assured Shields and the group that no one on the council wants to see anyone hurt or discriminated against. Baker said the council would consider his request and would bring it up again at the next council meeting.
In other business, members of the council expressed concerns over the previous decision to allow the historic Ruby Roberts House to be relocated to city property. After agreeing to donate the land the Piedmont Historical Society, the council learned that the deal may present legal issues. City Clerk Michelle Franklin said that she was informed that the city could only sell the land to the society after first being declared surplus property.
Council Member Frank Cobb added that he was concerned that the home may not even fit on the property. “I just think we need to back out of this,” said Cobb. Such a motion failed to pass after four council members abstained from the vote. The council will now wait for the results of the ongoing land survey before making any further decisions about the property.
Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $505,247.63 in addition to a payroll amount of $125,308.65 for a total of $630,556.28 with Council Member Frank Cobb abstaining. Additionally, as of June 30th, there was a total of $1,403,276.73 remaining in bond accounts.
The council tabled a vote to vacate a cul-de-sac on Crimson Trail at the request of a Piedmont couple, who plan to build a house at the end of the street.
Piedmont’s annual public transportation resolution was passed, committing $35,693 as a local match for capital, administrative, and operations funding during the Fiscal Year 2016. The vote also authorizes an agreement with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission related to transit services.
Through the city’s abatement process, the council authorized the clean-up of properties on Centre Avenue and Cedartown Highway with the property owners being responsible for all associated costs.
The next regular Piedmont City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4th, at 6 pm.