By Madeline Burbank
At their Nov. 14 meeting, the Montevallo City Council accepted a proposal from the mobile service provider First Responder Network Authority, better known as FirstNet. FirstNet provides cell service aimed at serving first responders and city officials.
FirstNet was established by the federal government under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 to create and operate a broadband network that is affordable and powerful enough to help cities.
The network operates independently of consumer cell networks, using a different frequency band, and is run by AT&T. It aims to facilitate communication in crisis situations where information speed can be important.
City Clerk Steve Gilbert said that the Montevallo Police Department switched to using the network two years ago. Police Chief Jeremy Littleton reported no problems with it according to Gilbert.
Gilbert said he also spoke with James Suller, the Director of IT Services for the City of Calera, who “had nothing but great things to say about” FirstNet.
Several other nearby municipalities also use FirstNet with Gilbert listing Alabaster and Pelham in addition to Calera.
Switching to FirstNet from the city’s current provider will save $4,075 monthly billing credits according to Gilbert. Additionally, the plan would support upgrading 21 city cell phones to the iPhone 12 for $1 per phone.
Another concern brought before the council involved traffic infrastructure. Kurt Hamby, Montevallo director of public works, told the council that there have been two requests for additional streetlights in the city.
One streetlight was requested for the four-way intersection of Vine Street and Valley Street because the darkness makes it hard for drivers to see students crossing the road. The other was requested on Highway 119 for the entrance of the Heritage Trace neighborhood.
Councilmember Kenneth Dukes said that he and Mayor Rusty Nix would get a committee together and investigate the requested intersections.
The council also had proclamations during the Nov. 14 meeting. The city council inducted three new members into the Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. The three new members were Bradford Real Estate, Montevallo Family Dentistry and Regions Bank.
Bradford Real Estate has operated under a few different names in Montevallo since the 1970s offering what Nix described as a “superior standard of customer service and client loyalty.”
Montevallo Family Dentistry has operated since 2003. Nix described them as having a “comfortable family-oriented atmosphere” and “the best dental treatment possible” for each patient.
Regions Bank first started operation in the 1970s under Shelby State Bank and has maintained its support for Montevallo over the years according to Nix.
In relation to sports, Shane Baugh, speaking for Parks and Rec, said that he had been contacted by Grand Slam Sports Tournaments, the company that runs the city’s travel ball tournaments, with the proposal of bringing pickleball tournaments to the city. This would involve renting out the existing tennis courts.
In reference to future meetings, Nix said that voting on approving the audit of the 2021 fiscal year’s spending will happen at the next council meeting. The next meeting will be held on Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. at Montevallo City Hall and will be live streamed on the city’s Facebook page.
The later Dec. 26 council meeting was rescheduled to Dec. 27 in observance of Christmas Day.
Madeline Burbank is a contributing writer for The Alabamian. She's majoring in Computer Science with an undeclared minor. She enjoys video games and chatting with her girlfriend in her free time.