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Local mechanic Davis is new Hayneville Town Council member

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Jimmie Davis, a resident and Hayneville businessman, is the new Hayneville Town Council member for District B. And, Town Attorney Michael Strickland is checking the legality of the town applying for USDA Rural Business Development Grant for a project to enhance local businesses on behalf of ACE Hardware.

Davis was unanimously approved to fill the seat left vacant by Cynthia McDonald and the grant resolution approved at a special called meeting of the Town Council held at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Present and voting for Davis were Council members Lula Tyson-Bailey, Justin Pouncey, Kim Payton and Mayor David Daniel. Council member Sharon Reeves was absent.

At the council’s Feb. 11 meeting, Hayneville Mayor David Daniel announced that McDonald resigned her position on the council on Jan. 28. He said at the time the council had 60 days to fill the position. And, he said for the March 11 meeting, the council should think of someone to fill the post.

Hayneville Town Attorney Michael Strickland also said at the time, “It’s up to you five council people and the mayor to appoint and vote on that empty seat.”

Davis is a resident and local mechanic in Hayneville who was recommended for the vacant council seat by Daniel along with resident Sheryll Phifer.

However, as Davis does mechanic work for the town of Hayneville, Daniel checked with Strickland to make sure there was no conflict of interest.

Daniel said, if there is was conflict, however, Davis was willing to “give up” what he is doing for the town of Hayneville to serve on the council.

Daniel said Davis was the council’s preference to fill the vacant council seat.

He also said Strickland’s research showed that if Davis was the only mechanic in Hayneville who could do work for the city and his income from the city did not exceed $3,000 annually he could serve.

The motion to elect Davis was made by Pouncey with a second from Payton.

According to a resolution also unanimously approved by the council on a motion by Tyson-Bailey and second by Payton, the RBDG grant application on behalf of ACE Hardware in Hayneville would be $77,000 for parking lot construction and $1,500 to cover expenses to the town “to implement and administer the grant.”

Daniel said the town of Hayneville would also receive some $3,000 per year, which he said the town could use.

However, following the council meeting Daniel sought Strickland’s confirmation that the action by the council to apply for the grant for ACE would be legal.

Strickland asked if the grant would be for a parking lot for a private enterprise? When Daniel replied, “Right,” Strickland said, “I’m going to have to look into that.” He said off the top of his head, he could not imagine it would be legal.

He said for new developments, a town could apply for infrastructure grants that would benefit a private entity. However, he said the area in question for ACE Hardware is developed and is an existing parking lot. He also said, if the town of Hayneville could apply for the grant, so could the county.

Strickland said the council’s action was approved pending the obtaining of “a legal opinion.”