WINFIELD - The Winfield City Council discussed a number of issues dealing with local businesses at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Winfield City Hall. The mayor and all councilmen were present.
Before moving to those issues, the council voted to establish a crosswalk leading from the front steps of the Winfield First Baptist Church across Highway 43. Eddy Posey, chairman of deacons at the church, informed the council that the church is starting to have events that draw larger crowds and people are parking across from the church and walking across the busy state highway for church events. Posey said in the interest of safety, a crosswalk is needed.
Mayor Randy Price said he had spoken to Wes Spiller of the state highway department regarding the crosswalk. The only thing needed is the proper paperwork to go ahead with establishing the crosswalk, Price said. Price said in addition to the crosswalk, he would like to see Kirkwood Street, which borders the church on the north, paved and striped. The street leads down to church-owned property that the church bought from Robertson Ready Mix.
Streets to pave
The council also voted to allow Price to solicit bids from street pavers to pave city streets. “I get calls all the time from people around the city bringing attention to streets in need of repair,” Price said.
Price said that he would like to see the recently-awarded Hospital Tax lawsuit money from the Marion County Commission to go toward street paving. The city was awarded $130,757.04 from the suit.
Price said he has a made a list of streets that are some of the ones in urgent need of paving. “A lot of them are nearly gravel,” he said. A few of the streets on his list include Dogwood Estates, Dallas Avenue, Oxford Lane, Stratford Lane and Rainbow Drive.
The council voted to hire two new police officers and promote patrolman Brad Burroughs to Sargent. Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson made the recommendations. The new officers hired were Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies James Smith and Roger Morrison. Burleson said the new hires will bring the police department up to full staff—13 officers— the first time since August, he said.
Price then went to the next item on the council’s agenda, existing business incentives. It was a subject Price placed on the agenda because of his concern for retaining existing businesses who are thinking of relocating to another municipality. This is a subject that previous Winfield city councils and mayors have discussed, Price said.
Price said a lot of effort and energy is placed on attracting businesses and industries to Winfield. “They want to know what our incentives are what we have to offer for them to come here. I think we need to support our businesses that have been here and I don’t want them to think that we are trying to put them out of business by trying to get other businesses here.”
Price said he would like for the council to explore some ideas on how to retain local businesses if they are looking to relocate.
Price said later that he brought the subject to the council after Abby Nicole’s owner, Brandon Webster, decided to move his business to Gu-Win. Webster brought an expansion plan to the city that was turned down by the council.
“I wish there had been a better result than them relocating,” Price said. The mayor added that he wants local businesses to know that Winfield supports existing businesses. Price, who owns a business himself in Winfield, Price Wrecker and Tire, said he supports small businesses like Abby Nicole’s. “I’m a hard advocate for small businesses and I support them 100 percent.”
Price told the council that the city has had issues with business owners operating in the city without purchasing a business license. Price asked the council if it is interested in the city enforcing the current ordinances that require an owner to obtain a business license. He also asked if the same was going to be applied to building permits.
“As the city grows and keeps expanding, we are going to have people that want to put up a building without getting a permit,” Price said. “I just want to make sure the council is in favor of the city enforcing the current ordinances regarding licenses and permits before a building is built.”
Price said as soon as he gets his lot cleaned up behind his building, the city is going to start enforcing ordinances dealing with junk and litter.
“As soon as I get my lot cleaned up down here, we are going to enforce the cleanup of other lots around here, and no one is going to have the excuse that mine is not that great,” Price said. “I’ve moved over 100 tons of iron and we are fixing to buckle up on the ordinances and I want to make sure that everyone is one board with it. I just want to lay the groundwork. We want people to locate here and we want people that are already here to go by the rules. We don’t want to have it on paper and not enforce it.”
The next Winfield City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Winfield City Hall.
See complete story in the Journal Record.