Anniston council certifies election, approves potties
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Oct 17, 2012 | 4084 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Outgoing Anniston Mayor Gene Robinson waves to the audience at the Anniston City Council chamber Tuesday. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
Outgoing Anniston Mayor Gene Robinson waves to the audience at the Anniston City Council chamber Tuesday. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
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The Anniston City Council on Tuesday certified election results and ended up rehashing a discussion about installing port-a-potties at Benny Ray Park.

At the end of the special meeting, Councilman Ben Little chastised City Manager Don Hoyt for not putting port-a-potties at the south Anniston park after the council’s discussion of the issue at the Oct. 9 meeting.

“This council asked you, and pretty much everyone at that time on the board said they agreed that port-a-potties should be put at Benny Ray Park,” Little said. “To this day it has not been done.”

The council had discussed a youth football team’s request for the portable toilets at its informal session.

The request was never brought up for a vote and the issue was clouded by a city ordinance requiring proof of insurance for organized sporting events at the parks.

The team making the request was organized under the umbrella of the Northeast Alabama Football League. Its coaches have not produced any proof of insurance to become a member of Anniston’s league, said Steven Folks, the director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. That could put the city at risk if any players were injured during a game at the park, he said.

Hoyt said he was just following the city’s ordinances.

“I talked with the individuals that said they were the coaches or the leaders of the group,” Hoyt said. “I asked them if they had insurance; they said they did.”

Hoyt said he asked those leaders to bring proof of insurance to City Hall, but they never have, he said. The team should not be allowed to use the park, he said.

Councilman Herbert Palmore said the issue of port-a-potties should be separated from the issue of the team using the park. Councilmen Jay Jenkins and Marcus Dunn didn’t believe that was possible, though.

“The reason that we need a port-a-potty there is because the team’s out there,” Jenkins said. “When the team is not out there, the crowd is not there.”

Other teams have complied with the city’s rules, Jenkins pointed out.

The city should require proof of insurance as a condition of providing port-a-potties, Dunn said.

But city attorney Cleophus Thomas said the city’s non-action on the issue thus far — the season will end in a few weeks — had in essence given the team permission to continue using the field. The city has rules to prevent the team from playing there, but chose not to enforce them, he said.

“You let them go out there, so they’re there,” Thomas said.

The council voted 3 to 1 to install the port-a-potties with Jenkins voting no and Mayor Gene Robinson abstaining.

The council members also unanimously certified the results of the Oct. 9 runoff elections, which chose David Reddick for the Ward 2 council seat and Millie Harris for the Ward 4 seat. Those two new members and the others elected Aug. 28 will take office Nov. 5.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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