City appoints Randy Bynum to school board

The Fort Payne City Council unanimously selected former police chief Randy Bynum to fill a school board vacancy at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Bynum will replace outgoing school board vice-president Kathy Prater and serve a term expiring in June 2026. The Council interviewed Bynum and fellow applicants Randy McClung, Dana Grimes, Jamie Larson, Slade Carden, Steve Henry, Ronnie Campbell and Gina Kelly Grant.

Council member Lynn Brewer expressed a hope that Bynum’s law enforcement experience and familiarity with local issues will enhance safety in city schools. Council President Walter Watson said the difficult part is only being able to select one person when there are so many quality people volunteering to serve.

While addressing school safety, the Council set the speed limit from 45th Street to 55th Street on Gault Avenue N at 35 mph. They established a school zone around Little Ridge Intermediate School with a speed limit of 25 mph during school hours once the campus debuts this fall.

A public hearing followed this, resulting in no comments in favor of or criticizing a proposed tax sharing agreement between the City and Ram Development Partners, LLC., a real estate recruiter seeking to attract a new restaurant to the former tourism office. The Council passed three resolutions authorizing Watson & Neeley to file validation proceedings, authorizing the city’s participation in a retail development agreement and authorizing the issuance of the agreement to incentivize the development.

The council also:

• discussed the city’s planned Fourth of July festivities on Thursday, July 1. Mayor Brian Baine announced that the Boys in the Band tribute group will perform songs by hometown superstars Alabama during the festivities at 7:30 p.m., followed by the traditional fireworks show.

• approved four budget adjustments, spending $52,000 for eight 20-yard dumpsters, $11,000 in equipment rentals for the wastewater treatment plant, $6,900 to buy a silt fence plow for Public Works and $1,300 for furniture for the fire department. Council President Walter Watson noted that six months into the budget year, the council was tracking $78,000 in adjustments made upon being deemed as necessary spending.

• listened as Don Fischer thanked the Council on behalf of the high school tennis team for working cooperatively with the school system to jointly construct new tennis courts that recently enabled Fort Payne to host a sectional tournament for the first time and bring players from five other North Alabama schools to the city; the boys team won their first sectional tournament in school history. Fischer noted the contributions of former Council members Wade Hill and Red Taylor in making the facility happen. He said the difference between one court and eight courts is giving the 35 student-athletes the space needed for repetitive practice that leads to success.

• discussed a proposal to add basketball courts to offer Fort Payne youth more recreational activities.

• Council member Phillip Smith gave an update on the new sports complex. He said one field is nearly ready for subgrade and another three fields will be in the same condition in six to eight months, allowing a subcontractor to lay down sod and artificial turf.

• approved an alcohol license for the new Dollar General store on Greenhill Blvd.

• noted the need for Parks and Recreation to fill jobs, including lifeguard positions, which could impact how many days the city pool can open. There are vacancies in other positions as well that people can apply for at the Rec Center.

• voted to go into executive session to discuss contract negotiations and then adjourned without taking action after.

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