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Adrian City Council continues discussions about financials

As in recent months, city financials headlined Adrian City Council’s latest meeting. During the group’s workshop and regular sessions on August 16, Mayor Wynola Smith and the five people on council hit on a variety of monetary discussions. One citizen participated in these discussions as well.

Nick Alfonso, an Adrian resident, went before the governing body two weeks ago and spoke about funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). He also asked about bank reconciliations and the city’s charter update project that has been underway for many months now. In response to his inquiries, City Attorney Paul Calhoun informed Alfonso that the charter is close to being done for review.

Mayor Smith then spoke on the ARPA funds. Specifically, she stated the City of Adrian is still waiting on the list of rules and guidelines of how to use those dollars, and she asked council to be mindful of what the city could use in the future once the federal dollars are received.

This particular discussion on behalf of the mayor took place during Unfinished Business.

Another financial discussion that took place in this portion of the meeting addressed an EPA grant. Mayor Smith stated that during a July meeting, the first step to do so was completed. As of the meeting two weeks ago, the City of Adrian was still in the process of applying for the grant, and the city expected to be able to qualify for it.

In New Business, city leaders reviewed a visit from certified public accountant Keith Waters. According to the August minutes, Waters had visited Adrian in July and obtained all information for the 2019 audit with plans to move on to the 2020 audit thereafter.

Those same minutes state that New Business also included a discussion about employment taxes. Reportedly, “The IRS sent a letter for the 1st quarter of 2020 941. A 843 form was submitted to ask for forgiveness for penalties.”

During the regular session just after 7:30 p.m., council voted to re-enact the city’s COVID policy. The group amended that policy to include 10 working days of pay per incident, although employees must provide the required documentation.

Council also voted to give Douglas Baker a $1 raise. The vote was 4-1. Ed Brown, Jesse Yawn, Suzanne Hutchinson, and Michelle Love voted in favor while Julie Griffin opposed.

With the vote and subsequent raise, Baker’s probationary period was officially brought to an end.

In other news, Mayor Smith delivered various updates to council and the handful of members from the public in attendance that evening.

Firstly, she gave the latest on the ice house and the Knapp building. Mayor Smith went on record publicly and recognized the sentimental attachments to those particular structures, following that recognition up by reiterating both of them remain safety hazards. She closed this update by stating there would be an effort to save the buildings’ fronts if possible.

Mayor Smith then revisited with council an agenda item that has been on the table for the last few months. The City of Adrian has been investigating the best way to update its weather alert system. In the past, the city used a weather alarm, and the current administration began, as early as January 2021, looking into replacing that alarm. During the August meeting, Mayor Smith stated she had spoken with another city at the Georgia Municipal Association Convention and in doing so, she learned about a phone call system that could send citizens alerts. She suggested at that time the city look into this method instead. No action was reflected in the minutes.

In the vein of the GMA Convention, Mayor Smith informed the council about her time there, stating there was a considerable amount of “good information available” and she hoped council could attend in the future.

Mayor Smith then delivered an update about the implementation of microphones for council meetings. She stated Danny Kirkland, the contact for the project, had stopped by but didn’t have time to look at the meeting location, the community center, to see what would best fit the area. Kirkland will return again when he has more time.

Lastly, she stated the City of Adrian, as of the time of the meeting, now owned the bank building.

Mayor and council did, at their latest meeting, entertain an executive session for the purpose of personnel, real estate, and litigation. The session lasted about an hour. Upon returning to open session, council voted on three matters: to accept the resignations of Chris Bonner and Dustin Renfroe; to interview a part-time police officer; and to advertise for a full-time police officer.