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Adrian City Council convenes for April meeting

During Adrian City Council’s April workshop and business meeting held Monday night, Mayor Wynola Smith said things are looking up for the city. The town’s software purchase for water bills is now paid in full and the city will be going through the hiring process for a new department head later this week.

Back in 2019, the City of Adrian authorized $35,000 to be used to purchase software to help with the process of billing for water usage. Adrian typically pays one payment per year, but in 2020, the city made two. Mayor Smith received a call from KS Bank recently asking about this year’s March payment. Adrian could either pay it as usual or wait to resume payment in 2022. If the payment was made this year, anyway, the City of Adrian would save approximately $1,000. Consequently, Adrian went forward with the payment to cover the entire balance of the account, which is now closed.

Also on Monday night, council voted to officially terminate Wardale Lovett, who left the City of Adrian a few weeks ago for another job elsewhere. Suzanne Hutchinson made the motion, Ed Brown seconded, and the vote fell 5-0.

On that note, the City of Adrian is now looking for a replacement to run the water department. Interviews will take place Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. with councilperson Jesse Yawn, water department employee Johnny Weathersby, Brown, and Smith sitting in on the screenings. In order to avoid waiting until the May meeting to hire someone, should the four-person committee find someone this week during interviews, council passed a motion to give Smith the authority to act on behalf of the city immediately to put someone on payroll. Yawn made the motion, Michelle Love provided the second, and the vote was unanimous. In the meantime, all members of council will be given copies of all applications to review.

Three members of Adrian’s citizenry went before council to speak during public participation.

First up was Zelda Sumner, a former councilperson. She inquired about a copy of the fire department’s contract with the city, to which Yawn stated he would provide her one. She also asked both Brown and Yawn to stop abstaining from voting so frequently and instead vote “yes” or “no” for the best interest of both the city and its citizens. Sumner also inquired of Brown if he had visited the district attorney’s office with a former employee involved in an investigation, Stephanie Jean, to which Brown stated he had not.

Second to take the floor was Nick Alfonso. In his address, he urged the City of Adrian to find the right hire to run the water department. This person, he said, should be accountable, responsible, and be a good manager. He also asked council about its plans to revise the city charter, specifically inquiring about if and how citizens will be able to provide input about the revisions. Lastly, Alfonso asked council to consider streaming its meetings and encouraged council members to network with the citizenry more.

Rounding out the slate of public speakers was Jason Bennett, who asked council to consider returning limb pick-up from citizens’ yards like in years past as opposed to having a drop site for those disposals. He also asked to be educated about the court fund and how it’s used, and he asked mayor and council to proceed cautiously in regard to seeking an EPA grant because the EPA’s presence in Adrian could cause more financial harm than good.

Under unfinished business, Smith stated that Southern Software is continuing to work on the city’s reconciliations, which should be returned soon. She also gave brief updates on the mosquito spraying, which has been postponed, the Knapp Building, the weather alarm system, safety and EPA grants, and ditchwork.

Under new business, council heard a suggestion from Smith about microphones to amplify the sound at meetings. The city is discussing with an IT professional about the best way to proceed. No action was required.

In regard to department reports:

• Yawn, on behalf of the fire department, stated that the radio repeater is out. He gave a cost estimate provided by Motorola to fix the outdated repeater. No action was required as his recommendation was to hold off on fixing the equipment or purchasing new equipment until the best way to proceed could be determined.

• Brown, on behalf of the street and water departments, stated that all was going well, with the exception of the broken-down tractor, which is being addressed.

• Julie Griffin, on behalf of the recreation department, gave an update on the potential installment of an in-line water heater. She also mentioned that she is speaking with members of the public to possibly put on a cornhole tournament to raise funds for the rec department. In closing, Griffin advised she had created a Facebook page, Adrian Area Lost Pets, for area residents to post in when their pets have gone missing.

• Hutchinson, on behalf of the safety department, stated that this past weekend was extremely busy for the city due to a drive-by birthday party and two funerals. She expressed her thanks on behalf of the City of Adrian for the public safety officials who worked professionally to ensure these events went off without a hitch.

• Love, on behalf of the rec department, told council she had been approached by a homeschool mother who wished to see the city organize a “day in the park” for kids. Love continued, saying she would get a date together and begin the planning before revisiting the matter with her fellow legislators with more information.

Before adjournment, Smith gave a shoutout to Kyle Strickland, chief of the police department, for his constant good work. In his absence due to a family emergency, she presented an appreciation card given to him by a citizen.

Council unanimously voted to amend the agenda to include an executive session in regard to personnel. Love made the motion, and Hutchinson gave the second.

Council also unanimously voted to accept the minutes from the March meeting. Hutchinson made the motion, and Yawn provided the second.

Lastly, council unanimously approved a motion set in place by Yawn to enter executive session. Love made the second. Upon returning to open session, no action was taken.

Council will next meet May 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Adrian Community Center.

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