Town clerk position to be posted, White Hall Public Library to be recognized by APLS again

Published 6:24 pm Friday, June 3, 2016

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The White Hall’s public library will once again be recognized by the Alabama Public Library Service for state aid. And the town will advertise open positions for a new town clerk and maintenance position.
The White Hall Town Council voted unanimously to match state aid in the amount of $1,700 Thursday night to allow the town’s library to be recognized by the Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) and continue to receive state aid, which had been frozen.
The vote was subject to a budget to be provided to the council, as well as  to the APLS by the White Hall Library Broad.
Nancy C. Pack, director of the Alabama Public Library Service, said she was invited to appear before the council to explain requirements for the town library to be recognized as a “public library” to receive state aid and why it had not been getting the aid.
Following the meeting, she told the Signal, the library is now “eligible” for state aid. She said the council voted to support the library, and, “Once that is done in good faith, then we can release their state aid.”
Pack said the White Hall Library Board will have to send a budget to APLS Board as to how they are going to spend the state aid. She said the White Hall Library had only received about $400 of the state aid they were eligible for this year.
Pack told the council that Alabama State Code requires municipalities to fund their libraries in order for them to be recognized as a “public library.”
She told the council, “Right now the municipality is not giving them any funding that we know of. So, we have held their state aid check.”
Pack said the library is eligible for $1,700 this year and probably up to $1,800 next year. However, to receive the money, she said, guidelines require the municipality to provide at least as much as the state aid.
She told the council, “I have been to your library and do feel that it is very much needed in your community.”
Pack said, “It meets the requirements of having a building and being open 16 hours a week. But it needs your financial support.”
She said only 50 percent of state aid could be used for staffing (personnel), and it cannot be used for building construction or utilities. She said the municipality must support the infrastructure of the library.
She said state aid would be paid quarterly. And, she said, the municipality must pay the utilities… the water, the sewer, telephone and salaries of the staff.
Pack stressed that the librarian must be paid some kind of salary.
She said without municipal funding, the library would be recognized only as a reading room, community center room, or just a library service not expected to grow.
Pack said the deadline for the town to act would be Oct. 1.
She said the White Hall library building and books are nice and people are using the library.
When White Hall Mayor James Walker asked if the library could get funding from other sources, Pack said they could receive what she called “soft money,” but said libraries are required to receive funding from their municipality.
Walker said it was left to the council to come up with the amount of funding.
Prior to the a vote to approve the matching funds for the library, Council member Joyce Barnfield suggested the amount of $1,700, and Walker said, “If we are going to give matching funds, I would like to see a budget myself.”
In another matter, Walker told the council, “I think at this point Ms. (Felicia) Perry is doing an excellent  job in maintaining the town” and that he had not considered a new town clerk at this time. However, after discussion, Walker asked Perry to place an ad in the Signal to post the position of town clerk.  And he told the council he was responsible for recommending a town clerk to the council.
Council member Ruby Rudolph said that the town council had already hired a new town clerk prior to the mayor and council going to court and mediation. But Walker said, “We are not going to debate this issue.”
Also after discussion, Walker agreed to place an ad for an open maintenance position for the town.
Regarding the town’s pending sewage project, Walker restated that low income citizens eligible for free sewage hookup must sign necessary waivers proving eligibility. After discussion, he agreed that  Perry should send letters to those citizens informing them of the need for the signed waivers.
After Council member Ceodis Baker questioned title insurance on land purchased for the sewage project, Walker instructed Perry to make a note “that we must inquire about title insurance on that property… and revisit the deeds on the property…”
Walker told the council he will consider the town’s water board membership and will have something on that for the council to approve at the next meeting.
The mayor announced that qualifying for municipal elections will be July 5-19 with fees of $25 for council  members and $50 for mayor and that all positions will be open. He also said he will post the qualifying dates as required.

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Walker said he encouraged everyone in the community to run, and said, “I will be running.”

Regarding the town’s inability to access information on its computer due to lack of a password, Walker said he no longer had any authority over the former town clerk (Shanavia Sellers).
Again after another lengthy discussion, the council voted unanimously to wave town hall rental fees for three upcoming events, an Aug. 13th Graduating Class of 1992 for Central High  fun day for Ben Wallace,  who was born in White Hall in Lowndes County, who played basketball for Central High, who  retired from the NBA in 2012 and whose number was retired by the Detroit Pistons in January of this year; the Elmore Bolling Legacy Luncheon, set for June 18; and for Calvary Church for use of town hall the rest of the fiscal year.
Walker said he will have USDA Area Director Nivory Gordon meet with council members as soon as he is available regarding sewage project deadlines.
He also said he will have a representative of the company which recently installed a new chlorinator on the town’s water system present at the next meeting to talker about water system needs.
Perry reported  the town is caught up with the distribution of municipal court funds.
The council went into executive session concerning legal issues but took no action and adjourned.
The council also approved the minutes of its May 5 minutes earlier in the meeting before Council member Baker arrived.