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ing how that money can be used.”

Ledford replied, “It was still voted on. The contract may not have been signed, but it was still voted on to proceed.”

Powell responded, saying, “But when this Council took over, they were going to become a part of it because it falls on them. I would’ve done the same thing if it was you [coming in].”

City Councilman Dale Hicks then joined the discussion, as he asked Ledford why there was only one bid present in the documents from the decision. Ledford provided Hicks with the remaining two bids for the project, which Powell claimed she never received.

“When I ran my business and I subcontracted my stuff out, I kept every bid; that’s part of keeping paperwork,” Hicks told Ledford. “You don’t take money from something, even a grant, without some vision of how it is supposed to be spent.”

City Councilman Jonathan Powell also spoke up, “I think that a lawyer probably needs to be in for the meeting to go over the rights and wrongs, and to clear up confusion about it. Everybody is confused on what’s right and wrong. I’m new to this. I don’t know if the new Council comes in and takes over, or if what the old Council has already passed is passed. I guess that’s what this [City Council training I am about to go to] is going to teach me.”

He continued, “I just want to know for myself what is right and what’s wrong. I thought I was paying attention clearly, but where they’re doing that asphalt, has that been paid yet? How will that work? Can we get the city attorney to discuss all this with us?”

Ledford told the Councilman, “You have the power to do anything you want to as long as you get a majority vote. Some people think that one person has the power to null and void everything that they want to, and it doesn’t work like that. When I sat there, I understood that I didn’t have the power to do anything; the majority of the Council does.'

Ledford turned to address the entire Council. “All I have is my word, and I’m trying to keep that,” he explained. “I’m not doing anything to try to get over on anybody, sidetrack anybody, confuse anybody, mislead anybody…I’m an open book. I came [into this office] with the best intentions to try to improve this place and make it a better place to live than how I came in to it, and I think we’re well on the way with that.”

He added, “I just want everything to be brought to light because we don’t have enough participation in this City, and too many sketchy things go on in my opinion.”

The former mayor shared with the council the contact information for the representatives at the Department of Natural Resources with whom he had spoken about the park projects. He also told the council that he had promised to build and install picnic tables that were purchased for the park during his tenure in office and that project was nearly completed.

Council agreed to continue the pause on the park projects until they had written explanations of how the grant money could be used.

Montgomery County resident Angel Gilreath addressed the Council regarding the proposed splash pad project and said she feels a splash pad could be greatly utilized by Higgston and the surrounding areas.

“From a parent’s perspective of having four small children I was really excited about the prospect of a splash pad, because not every child in the City or County is fortunate enough to have access to water to cool off other than a hose at the house,' Gilreath stated.

Councilman Jonathan Powell thanked Gilreath for her perspective, and shared that the Council will work to do what they feel is best. “I understand completely what you’re saying. There is more that we need to look into with this splash pad from a lot of perspectives,” he stated. “As you know, where they were talking about putting the splash pad, I’m not sure if you’ve been to the park out there, but there is a main creek that runs through there. If you look up the creek laws, there would have to be chemicals to clean the splash pad no matter who says there wouldn’t. You cannot even mess with a creek. The state is very critical on their creeks. You cannot have any chemicals run off into that creek; if there is any chance of that, we would have to pay a $250,000 fine that I’m sure we don’t even have.”

He continued, “Also, what we would be paying for it with is this grant money and we have to look into the long term of this. We’re going to figure it all out one way or another, we’re going to do the math of what this splash pad is going to cost us over the long term, and we’re going to see what we can really do. It’s mainly thinking about it and seeing what’s best.”

In other business during the session, the Council approved the hiring of Kodi Weeks as the City Clerk, and accepted a price increase for the pest control services for city buildings, which will total $50 per quarter. The Council agreed to purchase cancer insurance for nine members of the Higgston Volunteer Fire Department, which will cost $265.59 per person annually.

The Council also voted unanimously to not enter the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement, which would allow their fire department to send aid to various parts of the state in times of need. The reason for their decision was because in a previous instance the Higgston Fire Department was dispatched to help another agency, when a fire broke out in Higgston and there were no firefighters available to respond to that situation.

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