Tourneys, park work planned

Published 1:32 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Regional softball tournaments, biodiesel, and a new park are among the things Andalusia has to look forward to in 2009, members of the Andalusia City Council learned Tuesday night.

City department heads spent time talking about the work of their employees and alerting council members of things to come as part of the meeting.

Director of Leisure Services Dwight Mikel said Andalusia will host four Babe Ruth Regional Softball tournaments in July.

“This means we’ll have about 50 teams in here,” he said. “It should be a big economic boon.”

As part of Tuesday’s meeting, the council finalized the engineering contract with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood for work in the new park planned for property donated by the Kirkpatrick family.

“We also are working on cost estimates for a rehab of Johnson Park,” Mikel said.

Public Works director Jim Hogg, who is responsible for streets, sanitation, recycling and the landfill, said his department will get the city’s recycling of cooking oil to create biodiesel fuel up and running.

The council should be especially proud of the city’s GIS (Geographical Information Services) mapping equipment, director of planning Andy Wiggins told council members.

Wiggins said the city has the capability of looking at property by owner, lot sizes, storm water runoff or easements.

In the coming year, he said, the department will work toward getting more tools on line.

“We want to put our permits and applications on line so people won’t have to come to the office,” he said.

Police Chief Wilbur Williams predicted the council will be pleased with year-end crime statistics expected to be released from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.

“I firmly expect that this year’s crime report will be good,” he said. “I expect to see the rates for some of our most troubling crimes to be down and I expect to see the overall clearance rates to be up.”

Jerry Williams reported that the city’s utilities departments will work toward completing its automated meter reading infrastructure this year.

“This will allow us to read meters on an hourly basis by using radio,” he said.

A thousand of the new water meters have been installed. Williams said there is about 1,000 more of those to be installed before the electric meters are installed.

Fire Chief Ethan Dorsey and City Clerk John Thompson also provided overviews of their departments.