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City changes voting schedules to comply with state voting laws

Voters in the City of Andalusia will wait one additional year before electing members of the Andalusia City Schools Board of Education.

In an effort to comply with recent changes to state voting laws, the city council on Tuesday voted to move the scheduled election of school board members up one year. The school board serves staggered terms with elections every two years. The BOE election scheduled for 2022 will be moved up to 2023 and the 2024 local election will be moved to 2025.

In March, the governor signed into law SB119, which moved municipal elections up one year to avoid having local and presidential elections in the same year. The law was lobbied by the Alabama League of Municipalities.

While the state moved the municipal elections, the legislature does not control rules regarding local school boards. Instead, cities were to consider that change and the Andalusia City Council voted unanimously to move the school board elections up one year.

The 2023 election features candidates for school board only while the 2025 election will include the remaining BOE seats, members of the city council, and mayor. All current members of the council, BOE, and the mayor will see their term extended by one year.

According to the new Act, “regular municipal elections in cities and towns shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in August 2025, and quadrennially thereafter.” Any runoff election will be held the fourth Tuesday following the regular election.

The law comes after a busy year at the polls as 2020 featured state elections, county elections, municipal elections and a presidential election.

Following are other items discussed by the Andalusia City Council.

• Two acres of property in the Andalusia Industrial Park was sold to Busby Andalusia, LLC at a price of $10,000.  The property is located on Progress Drive and the company looks to build there.

• The council approved ordinance for a lease agreement involving the former Sitel Building. Tellicos Services, Inc. is interested in moving into the vacant building and possibly hire about 40 people. The company produces military style accessories such as gun holsters and bandoliers. In order to pass the measure, the council voted unanimously to suspend the rules to allow for immediate approval of the lease. The company hopes to move into the facility right away in order to make certain improvements.

• The purchase of a new Quick Attack vehicle for the fire department was approved. The vehicle, described as a small fire truck, is used for many of the department’s calls due to its size and maneuverability. Fire Chief Russell McGlamory said the current vehicle is getting older and that repairs have become an issue. The new vehicle will cost $182,000 with half of that coming from the department’s ad valorem tax and the remainder being paid through the sale of the current Quick Attack and the city’s capital fund.

• The city will make a third attempt to land a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for the possible construction of a sidewalk around Andalusia High School. The latest application involves the proposed sidewalk to extend from the high school area to Three Notch Street and the bypass.

• A building at 619 Jackson Street was deemed dangerous by city officials and approved for demolition. Officials said attempts to contact the current property owners were unsuccessful.

The next meeting of the city council will be held Tuesday, June 1, 6 p.m., at city hall. A work session begins at 5:30 p.m. in the upstairs conference room.