After the Community Advisory Council on Inclusive Recognition and Acknowledgment’s recommendation to the Pulaski Board of Mayor and Aldermen was approved for the United States Colored Troops (USCT) to be recognized at the Cave Spring Heritage Plaza, the CACIRA brought its next request to the board last week.
That recommendation, which the city council approved June 14, was for local sculptor Pamela Sue Keller to be commissioned to create the USCT sculpture.
“I want to thank all the aldermen and members of this committee for giving me this opportunity in order to pay back what I owe the citizens of Giles County and Pulaski,” 93-year-old committee member and sculpture benefactor Vivian Sims said.
“When I was the principal of Southside, I found out that African American male students were not living up to expectations in any way, and I believe it’s because when they were born, they were told they were descendants of slaves,” she said. “And I believe that if they find out they are descendants of great warriors who fought and died so that we would not be slaves anymore, that it might motivate them.
“Especially the male students, that this might have an impact on their lives and turn their lives around and make them the citizens we want them to be,” Sims said.
Sims presented Keller with a check for $27,833.33 to construct the sculpture.
Alderman Ricky Keith said there will be other work to do at the park.
“We want anyone in the community who wants to be part of helping or contributing in any way to be able to do this because this is a memorial that’s going to be for the community and be the first piece in the Heritage Plaza which we hope to add many, many more to as we go,” Keith said. “So, Mrs. Sims thank you for your part. I look forward to everybody else’s part.”
The city council recently approved a 5 percent raise for city employees and will now vote on a $2,000 bonus for regular full-time employees, excluding City Administrator Terry Harrison.
“I realize that we incorporated a nice across the board raise for our employees, but obviously with the economy the way it’s continuing to go, I’ll be honest with y’all, I don’t feel like it’s enough,” Pulaski Mayor Pat Ford said during the board’s work session Monday, adding he would like the board to consider a $2,000 bonus.
Alderman Pat Miles said that with the previous years’ 3 percent raises and the cost of living not going up that much, the employees have been “overcompensated.”
Harrison said the city had lost three employees in the last two weeks to places where they could make more money.
Keith said he felt it was “an excellent idea.”
“Keep in mind when we gave them that 5 percent, I wanted to give them seven,” Alderman Randy Massey said.
Ford said the bonuses would cost approximately $175,000.
“I think we ought to do all we can to help our city employees,” Massey said.
Ford said he was more in favor of a bonus as it would not affect the upcoming years.
The bonus will be on next week’s agenda.
Harrison urges those who have not paid their 2020 taxes to do so before extra charges are accrued.
He said the taxes will be two years overdue July 1 and, if it goes to court, you will pay more for court costs than for the taxes.
“Come in and pay your taxes,” Harrison said.
With the splash pad at the Pulaski Recreation Center receiving numerous visitors each day, there have been one- to two-hour waits.
The pad is limited to 175 people at a time, and Harrison said 400 people came on Sunday alone and 260 is the average for each day with two days of rain included in that number.
Harrison asked the board to allow Parks and Recreation Director Lane Rose to implement a pay scale to cut back on overuse and wait time.
“I made it very clear from the very beginning that I wanted to see it be free for this entire season,” Ford said. “I get why we might look at charging some day because you want to make it fair for everybody to be able to come and enjoy it.”
“My personal opinion is that’s an operational thing,” he said. “Lane should make that call not us.”
Residential living spaces in commercial buildings has been a recent topic of the board.
“I want to keep this on here and keep that conversation going until we get to some resolution of this is how we are going to define a residence and what’s allowed and not allowed,” Ford said. “Where it’s definitive and nobody has to make a guess at it.”
Keith said he wants to discuss it at the Pulaski Regional Planning Commission Thursday, since they have knowledge on the topic.
“I know it’s a complicated issue,” he said.
The board discussed the possibility of the rear portion of the street level floor being used for residential.
Massey said he would like to talk to other business owners about how they feel about street level residencies.
Ford said one consideration brought to him was sidewalks being used as a front porch.
The discussion was moved to the next work session to allow for further consideration.
“Under our zoning ordinance, any recommended change has to come from the planning commission,” City Attorney Andy Hoover said.
In other business during the June 14 regular session, the board:
• Approved the 2022-23 non-profit appropriations on first reading for a total of $635,806.
• Approved on first reading the 2022-23 budget and set a public hearing for Tuesday, June 28, at 12:05 p.m.
• Approved a resolution to ratify the MTAS speed study to lower the speed limit on U.S. Highway 31 South to 45 miles per hour from Chapel Road to the Bypass.
• Approved a resolution to authorize the mayor and city recorder to enter into a contract with Minor Hill Utility District for water.
Harrison said this request is a requirement for a rural development grant the district has received to build two water tanks.
“We’ve had a couple of contracts with them,” he said, adding that he recommended the contract be similar to the previous one.
• Heard a large air conditioner at the Pulaski Recreation Center went out, and the state’s emergency purchasing act allows for purchasing in an emergency situation.
With it being summer, the purchase qualified, Harrison said, and the lowest bid of $34,000 was accepted.
• Heard Alderman Hardin Franklin’s request for the city council to do a resolution to Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, stating that “we feel their pain, feel their sorrow.”
“Some time ago it happened in Giles County that it happened to us,” Franklin said. “And I just feel as a community then we can show our love and our concern through a resolution to them… I think it would be well received by another town in another location coming from us…,” Franklin said.
• Heard another concern about the July 4th celebration being at Maplewood Cemetery and heard that person had never heard of fireworks being shot from such a location. He then suggested for the fireworks to be moved to the Giles County Agri Park.
In other business during its work session June 20, the city council:
• Heard the Floodplain Ordinance needs to be updated.
• Heard a concern that the June 28 Boys and Girls Club fund-raiser at the Pulaski Recreation Center from 4-7 p.m. will not have enough parking, with the splash pad being open during that time.
• Heard Ford ask again for suggestions for the one appointment to the Industrial Development Board and the Housing Authority.
He said residency requirements were at question for one recommendation who is a business owner in this community but lives in Alabama.
Hoover said he would check on those qualifications.
The board will next meet at City Hall in regular session Tuesday, June 28, at noon.
Items on the agenda include:
• Second reading of the 2022-23 non-profit appropriations.
• Public hearing and second reading of the 2022-23 budget.
• Advertisement of bids for 2022-23 capital items.
• A sympathy resolution for the towns that have been affected by school shootings. The resolution will be sent with a cover letter from the City of Pulaski.
• Approval of funds for the purchase of two properties and flexibility for Harrison to conduct that business.