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Majority of city council going on DC trip

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Five of Hartselle's six elected officials and four other community leaders are making plans to visit the nation's capital to lobby for the funding of community needs.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley will head up the delegation. He will be accompanied by council members Kenny Thompson, Samie Wiley, Bill Smelser and Mark Mizell, District II Morgan County Commissioner Richard Lyons, Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce president Susan Hines, Hartselle Development Board chairman Bob Francis and Hartselle Utilities interim manager Ferrell Vest.
Their visit will coincide with the annual meeting of the National Waterworks Association. Vest plans to attend its meetings as a Hartselle delegate.
The group will fly to Washington, D.C. from Huntsville International on Sun., Feb. 6, and return on Tues., Feb. 8.
Meetings have been scheduled with Congressmen Bud Cramer and Robert Aderholt and Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions and their staffs on Monday and Tuesday.
Tankersley said the purpose of the visit is to request funding for several much-needed capital improvement projects. They include drainage upgrades, new street construction, downtown streetscape, industrial park infrastructure and emergency warning sirens.
"Our agenda closely follows the one the previous administration addressed," Tankersley said. "Plus, we have added two items: (1) a wireless network to facilitate the use of laptop computers in patrol vehicles and (2) airport improvements."
"I'm pleased that most of the council members are able to make the trip," Tankersley said. "With representatives of the county commission, chamber of commerce, development board and Hartselle Utilities, we will be able to show unity and support for the projects on our agenda."
He also said he believes it will help to address the city's needs with congressmen and senators early in the current congressional session. "We want them to know about our needs before appropriations decisions are made," he pointed out.
A summary of the items on the 2005 federal congressional agenda follows:
Transportation: (1) Continued support and funding for Alabama State Highway 36 extension and widening from Vaughan Bridge Road to I-65. Phase II-$3.5 million. (2) Provide funding for the construction of Veterans Parkway and (3) Continued support in the right-of-way acquisition and construction phases of the Thompson Road improvement project. $6.8 million.
FAA grants: Support and funding of our two FAA grant requests in order to construct additional hangar space and purchase land beneath our existing northern glide path. Hangars-$600,000, land purchase-$150,000.
Industrial park: Support a future grant application to extend and construct existing industrial park access roads and utilities to available adjacent land for new industry. $750,000.
Emergency outdoor warning system: Support and funding for17 additional outdoor emergency warning sirens to protect the health and welfare of its citizens. $210,000.
City-wide wireless network: Support and funding for the construction and implementation of a city-wide wireless network to further enhance the city's ability to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens. $200,000.
North-South drainage mitigation: Support the engineering and construction phases of a comprehensive drainage plan to reclassify the downtown area outside of the current FEMA floodway destination. $2 million.
Pedestrian safety sidewalk project:
Provide funding for the Historic Hartselle Downtown Landscape, which includes overhead sidewalk canopy restoration along with sidewalk extensions and rehabilitation for pedestrian safety. $450,000.