One or more thieves have absconded with 10 storm sewer grates from various Athens streets.
Mayor Ronnie Marks asked residents during a pre-meeting work session Monday to be on the look out for anyone attempting to remove any other grates.
The theft became a City Council issue Monday because Public Works Director James Rich reported the problem to the council and said the missing grates would have to be replaced at a cost of about $5,000.
Rich said grates were stolen from the historic district, Clinton and Beaty streets. About three weeks ago, grates were also stolen from some private storm drains. He said the grates are of little value as scrap, no more than $10, because they are made from inferior metal. Therefore, he is uncertain why anyone would steal them. His department has temporarily replaced the grates with wood, but the grates will be replaced immediately.
Public Works reported the theft, and the police department is investigating, Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.
Anyone with any information about the missing grates or anyone who sees suspicious activities with regards to sewer grates is asked to call Athens Police Department at 256-233-8700.
“Call in the middle of the night if you want to,” Marks said.
During the regular meeting that followed the work session, City Council members voted 5-0 to appoint Jennifer Manville as an Athens school board member to fill the unexpired term of Pat Waldrop, who has asked to resign. His term expires in April.
District 2 Council President Harold Wales nominated Manville, who lives in District 2, after interviewing a few applicants.
“She is highly educated, she has a strong financial background. She is married and has children in school,” Wales said.
He also thanked Waldrop for his years of service to the school board, saying he did a “very, very good job.”
Marks said he, too, had interviewed Manville and believes she understands the role of the school board.
“I feel confident about her financial background and what she brings to the table,” the mayor said.
Councilman Joe Cannon said, “I think she will jump right in there and go.”