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Clanton Council to consider budget, ambulance contract

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing editor

The Clanton City Council is set to vote on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and a contract with Regional Paramedical Services for ambulance service during its Sept. 13 meeting.

The budget was presented to the council during a work session on Sept. 9.

City Clerk Jonathan Seale said the nearly $13.7 million budget is balanced and includes $212,000 in surplus in the case of emergencies. Seale said he likes to have the equivalent of three to four months of operating budget set aside.

Revenue projections are lower than last year. Seale said the city’s revenue has been “much, much higher than average” during the pandemic, presumably because people are shopping closer to home.

“I anticipate that falling off a little next year,” Seale said.

The budget includes a 3% “cost of living raise” for employees and an increases to cover additional costs for city-provided health insurance.

Seale said he did not include anticipated additional American Rescue Plan funding because it was not yet a definite.

The city also has about $2.7 million in investment accounts.

In the past year, Seale said, the city has purchased a lot of new equipment, hired many new employees and created new positions.

“Now with this budget, we are turning our attention back to the citizens of Clanton trying to do some good capital projects,” Seale said. “We have several paving projects … a pedestrian bridge as well as the engineering to go with that out at Ollie Park, resurfacing some basketball courts out at E.M. Henry Park, installing a pickleball court and the restroom facility over at Ollie Park.”

The budget includes $750,000 in paving.

Three paramedic positions, in anticipation of a contract with RPS, were also included in the budget.

“We are really excited about that,” Seale said. “It is going to be a really good opportunity.”

The anticipated plan is for the paramedics to be city employees, but the drivers and the ambulance would belong to RPS. Equipment would likely be funded by both RPS and the city.

Seale said the memorandum of understanding to be considered had been reviewed by the city attorney.

Clanton Fire Chief David Driver said it has been revised by the city attorney and the RPS attorney multiple times.

“That should be the final copy,” Driver said.

Council member Mary Mell Smith asked if the council could require the ambulance to take patients to St. Vincent’s Chilton whenever possible.

“In times past, we had to take a patient where they requested to go,” Driver said.

This applied even if it was out of the county.

“Now, with COVID restrictions, they are trying something a little new,” Driver said. “The closest hospital that can serve the patient, they can take them there, regardless of where the patient wants to go, but there are still some stipulations … they are doing that as a trial trying to get that put into the EMS rules that you can do that.”

However, Driver said there are some things that cannot be treated at the local hospital.

The council thanked everyone who had worked on putting the budget together.

Other items on the Sept. 13 agenda include:

  • Supporting naming Interstate 65 from Exit 205 to Exit 208 in honor of Clanton Police Officer Richard Buckner, who was killed in the line of duty 30 years ago. A resolution would be sent to the state for approval.
  • A presentation by Alabama Farmers Federation/ALFA President Jimmy Parnell.
  • Approving the usual annual bids as well as bids for paving downtown streets and the parks.
  • A rezoning request public hearing for a daycare.
  • An ordinance establishing the zoning district new mini warehouses would be permitted. Existing warehouses would be grandfathered in.
  • An ordinance requiring a masonry facade on new metal buildings. This would apply to the whole city, but exceptions may be possible by applying to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
  • Purchasing more than 300 new residential garbage cans to replace those that are damaged and to accommodate new residents.