Following a lengthy discussion, the Piedmont City Council, on Tuesday, unanimously agreed to authorize the relocation of one of Piedmont’s most historic homes to city-owned property.
Local dentist, Ben Ingram, approached the council about moving the historic Ruby Roberts house, which had been saved from demolition, to the approximately 1 acre parcel of land that the council had previously agreed to purchase from the Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Corporation.
The move would come at no cost to the city, thanks to the $55,000 currently raised by Ingram and the Piedmont Historical Society. Ingram said that he received $25,000 in grant monies from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, with the other $30,000 having been raised through private donations.
Ingram added that several options are being considered, such as potentially utilizing the house as a bed and breakfast, to make the home financially self-sustainable. “If that model proves to be a success, that could be a model for other homes in Piedmont,” Ingram told the council.
Addressing the council’s concerns that the house would be an added expense for the city, Mayor Baker said that the council would discuss ways to provide aid, if possible, but that the house would ultimately be the responsibility of the historical society.
At the request of Municipal Judge Brent Morrison, the council unanimously passed an ordinance, which was postponed at the previous meeting, that will allow the local court to raise the maximum fines for certain repeat misdemeanor offenses, as previously defined by the Alabama State Legislature. Morrison contended that the court isn’t trying to raise additional revenue with the fine increases, but insisted, “We need to have a little more bite to our penalties.”
Also, the council voted to purchase three reconditioned voltage regulators for $5,000 each in addition to two new ones, which will be covered by insurance. The city will however, pay a $5,000 deductible, bringing the total to $20,000 for the regulators. This is in response to the recent power outage, which was cause by equipment damaged by a squirrel.
Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $399,066.54 in addition to a payroll amount of $184,083.91 for a total of $583,150.45 with Council Member Brenda Spears voting “No,” citing concerns about the bills totaling over a half-million dollars.
The next regular Piedmont City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21st, at 6 pm.