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Red Bay Council abolishes, rescinds Water, Gas franchises

In its regular meeting Dec. 15, the Red Bay City Council voted to authorize abolishing and rescinding Ordinance No. 98.10.05 and Ordinance No. 98.10.05A – approved Oct. 5, 1998, by the mayor and council in office at that time – which had granted a water franchise and a gas franchise to the Red Bay Water and Gas Board.

The length of the franchises, 30 years, had eight years remaining.

Mayor Charlene Fancher stated the only stipulation in the franchises the Board had to comply with was, “upon making any excavations of the streets, avenues, alleys, public ways and public places in the city, to restore the paving or other surfaces at the point of such excavations in substantially the same condition as such work was done, all as promptly and made as practicable and in a reasonable length of time thereafter.”

“I have documented at least 11 cuts in our streets that have not been repaired,” said Fancher, citing the Board’s failure to live up to the terms of the franchises. Fancher said another problem is that no fee was involved; a franchise normally has a fee, such as the cable franchise the city has with Max South, for five years – a period of time Fancher called “reasonable,” – and 3 percent of gross sales for the use of the city streets for their cable lines.

“We have gotten nothing in return from the franchises with the Red Bay Water and Gas Board,” Fancher said, “only streets that are being cut and unrepaired.”

The Council entered into an executive session to discuss possible litigation against the City of Red Bay. No votes were taken, and no decision was made.

In other business, the Council noted Jason Milam’s position on the Little League Board has been posted, the term being for one-year. Leah Torisky’s position on the Parks and Recreation Board has also been posted, and it is a three-year term with an expiration date of Sept. 15, 2024. Any interested person may sign up for either position.

Park and Recreation Director Dean Hubbard reported the new rec center is already seeing people walking there regularly, as well as expressing interest in wanting to play pickle ball. Hubbard said aerobics sign-ups are in progress, and classes are expected to start on Jan. 4.

The rec center is open to the public in general, not just the residents of Red Bay.

He also reported the new band hall should be finished around the first of the year.

The next regularly-scheduled Red Bay City Council meeting will be Jan. 5, with the work session at 3 p.m. and the meeting at 3:30 p.m.

The City of Red Bay will close at noon Dec. 23, and be closed Dec. 24 to observe the Christmas holiday. Friday’s garbage route will run Dec., 27.

The city will also close at noon Dec. 30 and be closed Dec. 31 to observe New Year’s Day. Friday’s garbage route will run Jan. 3.

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