Tuesday’s meeting of the Piedmont City Council became heated at times, primarily when discussing city spending.
It began with Council Member Greg South revealing that the city struggled to pay the bills last month, requiring city leaders to dip into a reserve fund set aside by the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA).
According to city officials, the reserve fund is city money that is set aside by AMEA for unforeseen utilities related expenses.
Mayor Bill Baker reminded the council that dipping into the reserve was nothing new, nor was it a growing trend, as the city must access the funds each fall, a time when the city’s utility collections are down as a result of cooler weather.
However, Council Member Bobby Hardin expressed his concern that if the trend continues, eventually, the city may need to borrow money to pay the bills.
Council Member South then made a motion for the city to always pay the utilities first each month. If the city were to come up short after first paying utilities, this would in effect force the council to make budget cuts, as the AMEA reserve fund could not be used to pay the remainder of the bills.
The measure failed with a 4-4 vote
In other business, the council approved a registration fee increase for the city’s park and recreation department sponsored sports for 2018.
The increase will affect youth basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and football, but will exclude the city’s civic center and aquatics center at this time.
Registration fees for basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer will see an increase from $45 to $50, while football will increase from $75 to $100.
The council voted to spend $1,000 for the city to participate in the upcoming Cheaha Challenge bicycle ride along the Chief Ladiga Trail.
Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $518,102.93.
The next regular Piedmont City Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 7th, following the work session, which is set for 5:30pm.