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Bill Baker Conducts First Piedmont City Council Meeting as Mayor

Piedmont City Council“We can’t move forward, if we keep looking backwards.” Those were the words of Piedmont’s newly appointed Mayor Bill Baker during his first city council meeting as mayor on Tuesday night. Baker’s efforts to conduct a professional meeting were successful, with several measures being passed.

Following a tied vote from the council, Baker named Council Member Mary Bramblett as mayor pro tem, a position previously held by Baker, who was selected to serve as mayor, following Rick Freeman’s resignation. As mayor pro tem, Bramblett would act as mayor during Baker’s absence.

The council also began the process to fill the District 6 seat, also left vacant following Baker’s move to the mayor’s chair. After a somewhat lengthy discussion concerning when to hold the vote, it was decided to compile a list of those interested in the position before voting during the November 19th meeting.

The council approved bills for payment, which totaled $246,253.58 in addition to $110,623.37 for payroll for two pay periods. As of September 30th, there was also a total balance of $2,000,623.03 remaining in bond accounts.

In a 5 to 1 vote, the budget for 2013-2014 fiscal year was passed, with Council Member Brenda Spears voting “No.” Spears’ motion to table the vote, died on the table with the lack of a second.

During the Council Reports, Spears requested the balance of several bonds, which she said was missing from the reports during the last meeting. Spears went on to note that numerous work orders and other requests that she turned in were not given to the proper department heads nor given proper attention, which she said was “not acceptable” to her or those she represents.

According to Mayor Baker, Charlie Fagan has offered the city the opportunity to purchase Fagan’s Park in the amount of $200,000. Council Member Spears voted to accept Fagan’s offer, but the motion failed without a second.  Feeling that the asking price was too high for a property that wouldn’t generate any revenue for the city, the council voted to counter with $100,000, following a motion from Council Member Frank Cobb. The measure passed in a 3 to 2 vote with Spears and Council Member Ben Keller voting “No” and Bramblett abstaining. Baker said the city would pay for the park with money from an existing bond issue, but it’s unclear if Fagan will accept the offer. Citizens are concerned that an unnamed salvage company, which may be interested in purchasing the park in addition to the old mill nearby, may use the site for dumping.

Also approved was the sale of 2.5 acres of city property to a city resident in the amount of $14,000.

The Piedmont Fire Department has received notice that the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) will be coming to Piedmont on November 20th, to rate the fire departments for the first time in ten years.

Mayor Baker read a proclamation that declares the next week, October 23rd to 31st, as “Red Ribbon Week and encourages all citizens to participate in alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention programs and activities, making a visible statement that we are strongly committed to a drug free city.”

The council also wanted to remind everyone that the Downtown Country Fair is this Saturday, October 19th,  from 9am to 3pm, featuring arts and crafts, antique cars, tractors, and more.

The next regular Piedmont City Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th, at 6 pm.

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