The Alma City Council met Thursday to discuss future solar panel plans and various department reports.


A resolution extending temporary powers for the mayor was also tabled for the time being. The resolution stated that Mayor Jerry Martin is given temporary emergency power.


"It’s to keep us moving employees around, and keep essential services running," said Martin.


He previously had these powers, but due to expiration, they were up for renewal if need be. In the event that employees were moved to different departments, he would need these powers to allow for that.


Councilman John Ware tabled the resolution after stating that the previous granting of powers must have had an expiration date for a reason, and the community may not be happy with giving more power to the local government.


Solar panels


A resolution and an ordinance were approved by the council regarding a solar panel project.


Resolution 2020-5 states that a deed of dedication from Rosemary Blasingame and Mardell McClurkin is to be accepted. The land is located adjacent to Mountain Grove Road in Alma.


Ordinance 2020-5 deals with an unused portion of Mountain Grove Road that would benefit the project. The ordinance asks that the mayor receive authorization to close those unused portions and incorporate them into the solar project.


Both the ordinance and resolution were approved.


Rebuilding economy


Because of the economic impact of COVID-19 a resolution to call on Congress to allocate fair and direct federal support to all of America’s communities. This addresses the issue that municipalities all over the country will have financial problems after the pandemic.


Alma itself, as stated in the resolution, has furloughed six employees, closed a water park, has not filled an opening for a patrol officer, stopped the purchase of a badly needed police car, and made other drastic budget cuts to help meet the revenue shortfall.


Alma has lost approximately $76,000 in court revenue and is trending for a total loss of approximately $140,000 and is already down 15% in state Turnback.


An amendment was made regarding the court revenue as it previously stated that $85.000 was lost. The resolution was adopted as amended.


Public Works


Mark Yardley of the Public Works department updated the council on the capital improvement projects in the city.


Projects on Collum Lane, Fayetteville Avenue, and West Cherry Street were completed along with the completion of the design on the sidewalk construction. Current projects in the works are street lighting that is currently being designed by Morrison Shipley engineers. The project will be divided into local street lighting and commercial highway lighting. Also, the streetscape project is continuing construction. Landscaping will be installed later this month, and construction near the railroad tracks will be completed by the end of next week.


There have been 15 wayfinding signs placed around the city with seven more planned for the future. The signs will point visitors and locals to various popular destinations around Alma.


Other business


Martin added that there has been some vandalism around town. City park has had bathroom doors broken from the inside as well as signs at Lake Alma broken and spray painted. He is currently working with the police to solve the issue.


On July 3 there will be a fireworks display in Alma. Currently, the logistics of the protocols around social distancing and the opening of parks has not been finalized.