Mayor: City to crack down on loitering, noise

Published 11:30 am Friday, June 9, 2023

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Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said during a council meeting Tuesday that local police will be working to curtail loitering, noise and speeding across the city.

Two residents who attended the meeting brought up their concerns about groups of people gathering and being loud into the nighttime hours in the parking lot of First Baptist Church of Andalusia. Others in attendance stated they have experienced the same problem.

“We are concerned about the noise level, reckless driving, and the speeding of vehicles that go up and down E. Three Notch Street. We want to know what we can do to make it better. (My husband) and I can’t be in our yard and have a conversation and actually hear what each other are saying. There are so many people walking that road now, there are little babies … all sorts of activity. We’re concerned for their safety and the image this activity presents to those visitors coming into our city,” said resident Maryanne Murphy.

Another resident of E. Three Notch Street, Pat Carlton, said she and her husband moved into their Andalusia home about two years ago.

“I see so many positive things going on in Andalusia. But, we are right across from the (FBC) parking lot and what we see there is not what we want in Andalusia. We can’t sit out in our yard a lot of times because of the vulgar songs, yelling and screaming, driving in circles. They drag race down (Tisdale Street). It has really gotten out of hand and is a detriment to what (the council) is trying to achieve here,” Carlton said.

The mayor said city officials are aware of the situation and are working to solve the problem.

“This is a continuing problem and it is not just at your location, but other areas of town as well. There are some things we can do, and will do. Unfortunately, we do not have a police department that is manned to patrol parking lots all night. When you disperse them from one parking lot they go to another one. It’s a continuous thing. We do have things we can try to get those folks moved out,” Johnson said.

The city does have a noise ordinance, but an officer must be present to hear the excessive noise.

“We are going to crack down. We’ll have some mad mommas and daddies, but that is OK. It’s a continuous problem that we may never fully solve, but we can work to get it under control,” the mayor said.

During the business portion of the meeting, the council discussed:

  • S. Cotton Street building renovations. The council voted unanimously to proceed with renovations on four buildings that sit across the street from the area where the future Heritage Park will be constructed. The renovations will allow the city to offer those buildings to possible business prospects once completed. The cost of the project is $46,000.
  • reimbursing the city’s utilities board for installing fiber network infrastructure. Mayor Johnson described the project as laying the “middle mile,” which will allow for businesses and others to tie-in to the network in the future.
  • update for the Andalusia Police Department digital radio system. Police Chief Paul Hudson said the current system is about eight years old and that multiple repeaters need to be updated. The council approved the project at a cost of $44,000, which will be paid through the CARES Act funds (COVID).
  • flooring, equipment, and other improvements to the Farmers Market building on Tisdale Street at a cost of $29,000.
  • amending a resolution from a May meeting relating to a loan from PowerSouth to construct a new spec building in the industrial park. The amount of the loan was changed from $1 million to $1.25 million.
  • naming Donna Raines as a member to the Board of Equalization for Covington County. The council unanimously approved the nomination.
  • abatement of three nuisance properties (weeds) located on S. Cotton, Dunson, and College streets.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, with a workshop at 5:30 p.m. and the regular session beginning at 6 p.m. at city hall. The public is invited to attend all sessions.