By Cady Inabinett, News editor
Montevallo’s City Council covered several topics during their brief meeting on Feb. 28. Topics discussed included police surveillance cameras, city delegates for the annual Alabama League of Municipalities Annual Business Meeting and a visit from James Spann.
During his usual report to the council, Montevallo Police Chief Jeremey Littleton reported that new Flock cameras that have been installed have been working well, saying that they have aided the department in recovering stolen vehicles.
Flock cameras are a brand of security cameras that, according to the company’s website, capture not just license plate numbers but also details such as vehicle make, vehicle color, if a license plate is missing or covered and if there is a paper license tag, as well as unique vehicle details like roof racks and bumper stickers. These cameras are becoming increasingly common in law enforcement use.
Council member Martha Eisenberg asked Littleton if cameras could be put in areas where there have been drug issues, specifically naming the Almont area. Littleton said that this area was outside of the departments reach, saying a jurisdiction would have to be approved for the department to cover Almont.
“My recommendation would be a negative on that, to go out on jurisdictions because we have enough to cover within the city. But we don’t cover Almont or any of them areas,” Littleton said.
Eisenberg then asked if cameras can be placed near “the drug house down on the corner down here across from the Chevron gas station,” referring to the Chevron station on County Road 10. Littleton said that there are cameras on that road, but that they are tag readers, not surveillance cameras. He went on to say that he would rather not discuss drug issues at a council meeting.
Eisenberg pushed on, asking, “But you can put up some cameras, right?”
“It depends on what you’re talking about and if it’s going to be effective,” Littleton said. “I mean, just because we have a camera up, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be effective. That would be something we would probably need to sit down and discuss at a later date.”
Littleton went on to point out that there are costs associated with installing cameras, and that the camera would need to be clearly beneficial, to which Eisenberg replied, “Well when it comes to people’s lives and people having to move because of the drugs in the area, I think we need to do something now.”
Mayor Rusty Nix intervened in the exchange, saying, “Let’s have this discussion not at a council meeting. We can meet with Chief and go over that.”
The new business agenda item on the agenda was a recommendation to appoint council members David King, Leila Mitchell and Kenny Dukes as voting delegates and alternative voting delegates for the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual Business Meeting in May. This motion passed unanimously.
The Alabama League of Municipalities is an association of nearly 450 towns from around the state. According to the group’s website, “Since 1935, the League has worked to strengthen municipal government through advocacy, training and the advancement of effective local leadership.”
Every year, the group hosts a convention and expo, “providing timely general and concurrent sessions, access to municipal vendors and state agencies as well as outstanding networking opportunities for municipal officials and employees.”
Elections for league leadership are also held during the Annual Business Session during the convention.
Executive Director of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce, Adele Nelson, provided updates on several events around town. First, she pointed out that meteorologist James Spann visited the new storm shelter in Stephens Park on Feb. 28 for a ribbon cutting. Nelson reported that social media posts the Chamber made featuring Spann received record amounts of engagement.
Next, Nelson announced that the American Village’s annual Festival of Tulips will open on March 5. The festival will be opened Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission will be $5 and tulips will cost $2 per flower.
As the meeting adjourned, council member Sonya Swords asked Nix if he was trying to beat his record for shortest council meeting, to which Nix exclaimed, “I did!”
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Citizens may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall.