Council hears citizens

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Troy City Council on Tuesday heard from citizens regarding the District 5 vacancy and the situation involving misfiled statements of economic interests by several candidates in the municipal election.

The Rev. Jason Thomas addressed the council to request a special election to fill the vacant District 5 council seat.

“Recently, a series of meetings were held in District 5 to address the vacant seat on the Troy City Council in the district,” Thomas said. “We believe a special election would be fair and proper to fill this vacancy.”

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Thomas said that the special election would meet the letter of the law.

Included in a packet that he handed to the councilmembers was Section 11-44D-4 of the Code of Alabama, which lays out procedures for filling vacancies in a mayor-council form of government. The code says that a vacant seat with more than one year left in the term must be filled by special section.

However, Section 11-44G-1 of the Code of Alabama sets a different standard for Class 7 municipalities, which is what Troy City Clerk Alton Starling said previously governs Troy.

Councilman Johnny Witherington informed Thomas that the current council would not be filling the vacancy for the remainder of this term, but that the new council would take it under consideration.

Mary Helen Collins, a District 1 candidate in the recent municipal election, came before the council to ask for clarity on what will happen now that it was discovered that several Troy candidates were not technically qualified under state law.

Collins was the only candidate in District 1 that filed a statement of economic interest (SEI) before or on the day of qualifying for office. While some of the candidates in the state who failed to do this were disqualified from ballots in their respective municipalities, nobody was disqualified for this reason in Troy.

Witherington told Collins that the council had certified the election results and that the council had no authority to take any further action regarding the results.

The council also unanimously passed resolutions to deem an ambulance stretcher as surplus and approved $14,000 to go to the fire department to purchase a power-loading stretcher. Stephens said that making the manual stretcher surplus would allow it to be given for a $7,000 credit.

The council also approved off-premises beer and wine licenses to the Yogi Mart convenience store pending the store getting the building brought up to code. The store will be at the former Texaco station on Elba Highway.

The council also unanimously approved updated water and sewer specifications for the utilities department.

The council also appointed Evelyn Watson to the library board for a four-year term.

Mayor Jason reeves read a letter from Orangeburg, South Carolina, thanking the city’s utility workers for helping during Hurricane Matthew.

Reeves and the council also honored Witherington and Dunn on their last meeting as councilmembers.

The next Troy City Council meeting will be held on Monday, November 7 at 9 a.m. for the new council to get organized.