The Fort Payne City Council voted against authorizing a permit for Southern Torch to close Gault Avenue between Third Street North and Fifth Street North for a Halloween Block Party. The Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce decided to cancel its annual block party at that location due to concerns about escalating new cases of COVID-19 locally.
Mayor Larry Chesser said Police Chief Randy Bynum recommended against issuing a permit for the event before he retired due to safety concerns. The council agreed. There have been more than 3,036 confirmed cases of the coronavirus locally, including 532 new cases in the last 14 days, and at least 26 deaths, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, which deemed DeKalb County “very high risk” on its COVID-19 Risk Indicator Map on Oct. 9.
Marla Jones, managing editor of the publication, was present during the meeting and said she understood the council’s position and they sought to fulfill a demand for such an event after the Chamber canceled it. Council members suggested she try hosting it at a private location like the VFW Fairgrounds.
The council did approve an activity permit for Ian Conerly of the Fort Payne Ministerial Association for a Thanksgiving Community Prayer Service at the Rotary Pavilion on Nov. 22.
In other business, the Council:
• presented retirement plaques to Bynum and Fort Payne Police Investigator Andy Hairston, recognizing their decades of service to local law enforcement. Bynum started with the FPPD in May 1995 and served 25 years, the last 10 as chief of police. Hairston was hired December 1985, retired a first time in August 2011, was hired part-time in September 2011 and retired again this September.
• passed a resolution authorizing the application for an airport apron rehabilitation improvement project funding agreement.
• authorized bids for a motor scrapper for the Public Works and Sanitation departments.
• authorized a yearly agreement with the DeKalb County Commission for the Section 5311 Transportation program at a cost of $10,217.76 to the city. The program pertains to funding of public transportation in rural areas with populations less than 50,000.
• set a public hearing for Nov. 17 to receive public comments on the proposed re-zoning of approximately .25 acres at the corner of Scenic Road and Fort Payne Gap from R-1 (residential) to C-3 (highway business district) for landowner Amy Guice.
• canvassed and certified the results of the Oct. 6 municipal run-off election.