City Council meeting, June 23, 2014

Work is frantic inside the Mi Pueblo Mexican grocery as it prepared for the June 27 grand opening.

Work is frantic inside the Mi Pueblo Mexican grocery as it prepares for the June 27 grand opening. The business is moving from a neighborhood market space down the street to the vacated Food World–the same move the Rivera family made with their store in Pelham.

The council tonight approved the Ward 2 representatives’ choice for their district’s seat on the Homewood Board of Education, Jill Kimbrell, a Homewood City Schools Foundation President and member and officer of the Hall-Kent PTO, among other leadership roles, or as council president Bruce Limbaugh said after the meeting, “She’s done everything.” Kimbrell was one of five applicants, including Don Little, whose third and final term with the park board recently expired; Bernard Mays, Jr., who in 2012 ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Fred Hawkins for a Ward 2 seat, Gina Squires, a banking manager (spouse of Homewood Public Services Director Berkley Squires), and resident Kirk Mills.

In under an hour, the council marched through two dozen other business items, which included outlawing “jake braking”  in the city limits, welcoming Mi Pueblo Mexican grocery to the former Food World store on Green Springs, and shuffling approximately $188,000 from various funds in various departments, of which $118,000 was to cover overtime in police, fire and corrections.

Members present: Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Jenifer Champ Wallis, Heather Reid, Richard Laws, and Bruce Limbaugh, council president. Also present was Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Members absent: Michael Hallman and Peter Wright

Staff present:  City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Building, Engineering and Zoning department staff Greg Cobb, and Vanessa McGrath.

Audience attendance:  7

Dropped emergency stormwater drainage repair bid:  The matter has been dropped temporarily; the repairs were complicated by proximity to sanitary sewer, which is under Jefferson County’s jurisdiction.

Approved a split-rail fence in Hollywood:  The council agreed to allow a split-rail fence on a side yard that faces Hampton Drive.

Approved a Herzing University sign on an 8-1 split vote:  The vocational college at 280 West Valley Avenue — now a university–argued its case for more signage to the Special Issues committee, saying students were having a hard time finding the building. A lot of discussion was spent in committee. Tonight, not everyone seemed to like the large illuminated sign proposed across the top of the building. Most did, however. The variance allows signs on three sides of the building.

Voting no:  Britt Thames voted no, saying after the meeting that he thought that signs on three sides of the building were too many.

Declared a residential property a public nuisance: Someone mowed the front yard at 3016 Firefighter Lane, but then failed to clean up the back yard–or answer notices about excessive weeds growing in the back and side yards.

Declined request to donate funds or free police services to an event: The council turned down a request from the Nov. 1 Homewood Rib Run/Fall BBQ Race to pay a $1,000 sponsorship fee or provide police services free of charge. The event is already approved. 

Authorized the mayor to enter contracts for the Oxmoor Road improvements:  The two agreements are commitments to move forward on right-of-way acquisition, utilities and construction for improvements on Oxmoor Road from Green Springs Highway to Barber Court, intersection improvements at Barber Court and Oxmoor Road and I-65, and a continuous two-way turn lanes in the City of Homewood under the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Approved a telecom contract: No one understood the IT director’s jargon, but they approved “the tw telecom contract/services to add COS QOS to all locations” anyway.

Postponed action on traffic islands on Sterrett Avenue: The Public Safety Committee was in favor of constructing speed-calming islands on Sterrett Avenue, but neighbors’ new concerns persuaded them to take another look at the matter. The matter now goes back to the Public Safety Committee.

Established a no parking zone on Linden Avenue:  The exact location wasn’t clear. Details to come.

Prohibited the rumbling truck “engine compression” sounds of “jake braking” in city limits:  Originally worded to outlaw “jake braking” only in West Homewood, near the I-65 ramps, the city attorney advised to make the boundaries clearer by expanding them to include the whole city. The penalty will be $500.

Committee referral agenda:

In one vote the council referred these items to various committees:

To Public Safety – Consider a state beer/wine sales license application for Mi Pueblo grocery store (in the former Food World building).

To Finance – To allow the mayor to enter a non-binding contract with GOVT PORTAL,” a credit card merchant company that allows court fines to be paid by phone or online.

To Special Issues – A continued review of the current sign ordinance for possible amendments.

Will seek a federal Community Development Block Grant to fund Rosedale sidewalks: The measure passed tonight authorizes the mayor to enter an agreement to fund sidewalk construction in Rosedale. The federally funded CDBG program, administered through Jefferson County, will pay for certain infrastructure and other services in neighborhoods or serving people who meet low income and other criteria.  This project would be to fund sidewalks already in design and ready to be bid out this summer. Phases III and IV are in the design and paperwork stages of development, respectively.

Paid the bills:  The council approved payment of invoices from June 9-June 20, 2014.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned before 7 p.m.

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