Piedmont's next administration eager to work
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Nov 02, 2012 | 2634 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PIEDMONT — If the second of two meetings meant to prepare for the change of guard in Piedmont city government was any indication, the new city council and mayor-elect are like a fresh team of horses champing at the bit to get to work.

During Thursday’s meeting, Mayor-elect Rick Freeman readied the four new council members and three returning members for the swearing-in ceremony, to take place Monday at 6 p.m. at the Clyde H. Pike Civic Center. (The meeting was originally planned to take place at the Piedmont High School cafeteria, but was later moved to the Civic Center.)

Mixed in with talk of recruiting business and about changes to the city’s abatement code, Freeman tried to set the tone for the next four years.

“I feel like we’ve got a great bunch,” Freeman said during the meeting. “And we’ve got some big decisions ahead of us.”

One of those big decisions is to finalize the city budget, already partially completed by City Clerk Michelle Franklin. Mayor Brian Young chose to allow the new administration to have a say in the city’s finances for the coming fiscal year. The council will be discussing the budget in upcoming meetings, Freeman said, and he’s asked for input from each council member.

Reactivating dormant city boards is another topic likely to arise in the weeks to come. Freeman has asked that the abatement board be staffed with two persons from each of the city’s seven districts. The board is currently mixed with several from just a few districts. Other boards — like the Water and Gas Board and the Cemetery Board — haven’t met in many months, said Franklin.

With winter fast approaching, Freeman stressed the need to ready the city for possibly devastating weather events. A list will soon be made, Freeman said, of every piece of city-owned equipment, so that the information can be given to the Emergency Management Agency where it is kept in a database in case other local communities find themselves in need during an emergency. The list will also highlight Piedmont’s needs as well, Freeman said.

“We need to start getting ready for winter now,” Freeman said. “Not when a storm hits.”

The council’s Monday organizational meeting will include the administering of oaths to mayor and council by Piedmont Municipal Judge Bud Turner, and the elections of the mayor pro-tem and city clerk.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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