By Harrison Neville
The city council opened up its March 28 meeting with a discussion about district lines. Montevallo resident C.P. Pierson asked the council whether the district lines would be redrawn due to the national census and the redrawing of state lines for the census.
Pierson said he wanted an answer due to annexations that had happened since the census. Montevallo Mayor Rusty Nix told Pierson that the current lines were drawn in 2012 and he did not believe they needed to be redrawn every ten years. Nix explained that the districts were redrawn in 2012 because District 1 was twice the size of some of the other districts.
City Clerk Steve Gilbert explained that, while Montevallo has annexed some property since the last census, it was already inside the current city boundaries. He further explained that he had reported to the census that the city had not increased its boundaries, but had annexed additional property, and was waiting to hear back about what additional actions might be needed.
Another Montevallo resident, Greg Reece, addressed the council after Pierson and brought forward his own concerns regarding the current city districts. Reece explained that he had been looking at voter registration data and had noticed that District 1, which is represented by Council Member David King, had a far higher number of registered voters than other districts. This statement was backed up by King, who agreed it seemed likely.
Reece expressed concern, saying, “That’s a really big district and you only get one vote on the council.”
The council did not say whether they would look into the issue.
The council then heard reports from several community leaders.
Savannah Kitchens, the Director of Parnell Memorial Library, gave an update on library events and asked the council to support the library by paying for the services of A-Plus Wildlife Specialist to remove bats that had taken up residence inside parts of the library. A-Plus would also take measures to prevent bats getting into the library in the future.
Sarah Hogan, the director of Impact Montevallo – a drug prevention organization in the city – reported to the council that a webinar Impact presented called “Gas Station Drugs: The Hidden Dangers,” had been a success with the community.
Nix commented on the webinar, saying it had been an eye-opener for him.
Hogan also said that Impact’s semi-annual project report had been approved by the Center for Disease Control and the CDC had commended the organization for its collaboration in reducing substance abuse among youth.
The council also heard from the Montevallo Junior City Council’s Mayor, Olivia Gilbert, who thanked Nix, King and Steve Gilbert for speaking at the recent MJCC retreat. She reported that during the retreat students had planned four events for the city and approved them during a mock city council meeting. She explained that the event had given many of the city’s youth an opportunity to learn more about how the city functioned, and she considered it a great success. Additionally, Olivia Gilbert informed those in attendance that the MJCC would be holding a shoe drive in the future.
There were several announcements made during the meeting, including that the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce would be co-hosting the Washington update luncheon with Rep. Gary Palmer on April 11.
Other announcements included the 15th annual Montevallo Arts Fest which is scheduled for April 16, Friday Nights at the Cove, which are set to start April 29, the Spring Fling Family Food Truck Fest on April 23 and the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament on April 28 to raise funds for the Mary Lou Williams scholarship fund.
A new ordinance was introduced at the meeting to annex property on Shelby County Highway 12 at the request of the owners. If annexed, the property would be inside Montevallo District 5. The ordinance is set to be voted on at the next meeting.
The council voted to accept the recommendation from the library for purchasing the services of A-Plus Wildlife Specialist for a total cost of $2,250. The funds will come out of the city’s general fund.
They also waived vendor fees for the Montevallo Art Fests, Friday Nights at the Cove and the Spring Fling Family Food Truck Fest, which the council has done previously for these types of events.
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, April 11, at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Citizens may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall.
Harrison Neville is the editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.