The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 15, 2012

Letters to the Editor 7/15/12


The News Courier

The News Courier encourages letters to the editor. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and should include a name, address and telephone number for verification. Submissions that do not meet requirements are subject to editing. Send letters by noon on Thursdays to P.O. Box 670, Athens, AL, 35613, or email to kelly@athensnews-courier.com.

Regain control of city

Dear Editor:


We are facing city elections. Remember, we all suffer the consequences of our political choices.

The mayor says the challenge, in the next four years, will be funding for roads and other projects. The new Target and Walmart shopping centers in west Madison will reduce Athens sales tax revenues. He also says the police will be a major interest in the future.  Yet, during his tenure as City Council president, and mayor, he has never recommended a wage increase for them.

The mayor says paving projects are completed. Some neighborhoods have gone 40 years without having paving done and most districts still have serious paving needs.  He also says that there is only $2,500,000 in the bank to pay for the $5,000,000 to $6,000,000 new library. In the meantime, we are building a new $2,500,000 city hall, have spent $600,000 for land next to the Sportsplex that lacks engineering certification that it has no water drainage problem like the Sportsplex, and $500,000 for a Sportsplex parking lot.  The Sportsplex lost $600,000 in the first six months of this fiscal year, to operate.

Few vehicles are using compressed natural gas fuel; only three public fueling pumps are in Alabama. Huntsville chose to go with electric/gas vehicles with a $1,200 charger at city hall. Athens is spending over $100,000 for a slow fill CNG pump for city owned vehicles, and $573,000 for a public use CNG fuel pump! Is this another unwise use of taxpayer’s funds?  How is it all being paid?

A big mistake was the rush to approve the construction of AGL, LLC, oil distillery, which may cause major problems for the citizens of Athens and will hire only 20 people. The company has no business history, has no provision to get rid of particulates and contaminated water and has noxious odors and potential fire and explosion hazards.  Yet, it was approved to be built in the backyards of our minority citizens. Heavy, oil laden, tank truck traffic will also traverse the city with their dangers.

City branding? For years, the city has not required that the eyesore, dilapidated, buildings near the square be immediately renovated or demolished.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Wayne Reynolds, District 1 city council candidate, has a strong management and financial background with a marketing degree. Another excellent candidate to improve our city.  Our citizens must regain control of Athens and fiscal sanity.

Sincerely,

Quentin D. Anderson Sr.

Athens

Looking forward to audit report

Dear Editor:


In reference to the article in The News Courier subject “City leaders claim of a $ 2M deficit” dated July 10, 2012.

I did confirm again on Wednesday July 11, 2012, with Mr.. Feigley the city auditor that the information given at the City Council meeting was correct in that the fiscal year 2011 draft audit report stated that the city received a net revenue of $19,938,100 and expediters of $21,942,211, which resulted in a $2,004,031 deficit.

Mr., Feigley did also confirm that the reserve account was reduced from $4,884,741 to $3,005,400.

The city leaders claim that this deficit was the result of paying off a bank loan. I have always been taught that paying bills were just a part of doing business.

No matter what kind of  “spin” you put on it, the city has $1,779,341 less in the reserve account. It goes without saying that if you borrow more money you could show that as a increase in the reserve account.

Perhaps if we ever get a final audit report, we may be able to tell how the $1,779,341 was actually spent.

Sincerely,

Jerry Hill

Athens