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Wayne Clark | Times-News FRESH START: Valley Mayor Leonard Riley shakes hands with the newest Valley City Council member Jim Clark after Monday’s council meeting.

Valley gives full-time city employees a three-percent raise

VALLEY — The City of Valley’s full-time employees will be getting a Christmas present this year in the form of a 3 percent cost of living adjustment, or COLA.

The city council unanimously approved a resolution for the cost of living increase at Monday’s council meeting.

“We didn’t do this last year, but we will this year,” Mayor Leonard Riley said. “It’s an across-the-board increase, and it will go to our about 70 full-time employees. We’d previously discussed this at a work session.”

The mayor said the city’s health insurance had seen an increase that was higher than expected. A rise of around 3 percent was expected but will be around 4.9 percent.

The city will continue to pay 70 percent for family insurance and 95 percent for individual health insurance.

The pay increase becomes effective with the December payroll.

Also, in December, the city will be having the Christmas Merry go Round for a 63rd consecutive holiday season. The council awarded a contract to Tinsley’s Amusements of High Hill, Missouri to have a three-abreast carousel in Valley for the 2019 Christmas holiday season.

It will once again be set up on the old tennis court in front of Langdale Mill. The council agreed to a $1,000 increase for Tinsley’s to have it here this year.

The contract will be going from $25,000 to $26,000.

The Christmas Merry go Round is a tradition that goes back to 1956.

About 80,000 riders take part in it each Christmas season, and the overall total is close to three million riders.

In other business, the council purchased some property in the Langdale mill village from Teresa Striblin Cook for $1,500.

A 14-item consent agenda approved by the council on Monday imposed liens on 10 separate properties.

This will allow the city’s Public Works Department to clean up the sites and have a means of paying for it.

These lots are owned by Martha A. Carroll, Bobby and Janice Bowen, Daymark Trustee LLC, Alice Marie Summers, David Foster LLC, R. Heath Hamby, William H. Leverett Jr., Corene Wells, Tina Yates and Darrin Brand.

The council agreed to install three new street lights on Four Star Drive, located off Valley Industrial Drive, and agreed to renew a contract for AVENU Insights & Analytics LLC, Birmingham for business license recovery processing.

A Spirit 800 upright bicycle was declared surplus and can be sold to a high bidder. It had been in use at Valley Community Center. It has been replaced by a new bike.

The council authorized Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount to seek and apply for grants for new playground equipment.

Council Member Randall Maddux read a proclamation recognizing Family Day/Week in the city.

Family Day will be taking place on Monday, Sept. 30 and Family Week will run from Sept. 30 through Oct. 5. The proclamation notes that every year an estimated 40,000 children in Alabama experience court-ordered visitation with one parent for only two to six days a month.

“Family Day in Alabama,” reads the proclamation “has grown to promote the importance of family interaction and connecting with kids throughout the day/week, and to stress that children need both parents, and during Family Day/Week we honor the devotion of parents and recognize their critical role in teaching children positive and healthy behaviors.”

Riley announced that the council’s Gun Ordinance Committee would be meeting at 10 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept.17 at city hall to hammer out details in the city’s first gun ordinance.

“We don’t have an ordinance on this,” Riley said. “We are looking at two different ordinances right now. The public is welcome to provide input into this.”

Calls for such an ordinance have been made following gunshots being fired in the Shawmut mill village. Gun ordinances being considered would ban gunfire in densely crowded neighborhoods.

Also at the meeting, the Valley council discussed the following:

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt said that paving had been taking place this week on the lower end of the CV Railroad Trail in River View.

“We should finish up tomorrow,” he said. “We will be putting up the new bollards to keep vehicles off the trail.”

The final section of Trail to be finished is the portion that runs in front of Langdale Mill. Paving is being delayed due to some work to be done there by the East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District.

“We are also holding off on striping at Cleveland Road, which is going to be paved,” Bolt said.

The mayor wants the public to be aware of a new anti-littering law that will be going into effect in Alabama on Oct. 1.  “The penalties for this have been increased,” he said.

Councilman Jim Clark thanked Bolt and his department for doing some work in his district to repair a cave-in that had taken place on a drainage ditch. Councilwoman Marquetta Madden expressed thanks for Public Works dealing with an issue on Whitesmill Road.

Blount sought voluntary help from council members or the public for the upcoming State Masters Games, which will be hosted by Valley Community Center.

“Everyone’s invited,” she said. “Seniors from all across Alabama will be here from Oct. 7 through Oct. 10. We will need people to help serve and to keep score in the different games.”

Blount said that local churches, businesses and civic clubs could help with this year’s Fall Festival which will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 31 at the Sportsplex.

Children dressed in their Halloween costumes will be collecting candy being given away at booths set up on the baseball fields.