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The Town of Rockford is entering into an agreement via an adopted resolution to enable the town to keep the welcome signs in place at the town boundaries along U.S. Highway 231 north and south and Alabama Highway 22 west and east. Photo by Christa Jennings
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
During its Tuesday evening meeting, the Rockford Town Council handled little business, approving just three action items during the approximate 20-minute meeting, with all items involving looking to the future of the town.
It was stated that Mayor Scott White was not present for the meeting because of being on a family vacation, and as such Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Anne Castleberry oversaw the meeting proceedings. All council members were present.
The town had received a letter from the Alabama Department of Transportation, or ALDOT, referencing the town’s four welcome signs placed at the town boundaries along U.S. Highway 231 north and south and Alabama Highway 22 west and east.
It was explained that the town needed a permit to allow for the signs’ placement, with the town having not previously applied for the necessary permit. Castleberry explained that “it’s as simple, thankfully, as filling out the application and getting it back to ALDOT.”
She said the town just needed to adopt a resolution to enter into the agreement with ALDOT regarding the signs.
In a letter to White, ALDOT referred to the signs as “political boundary signs” and stated that a resolution “shall be passed” by the Town of Rockford in agreement with the State of Alabama.
The town’s resolution states that the town is entering into an agreement with the state through ALDOT for “the installation, maintenance and landscaping for special directional or political boundary signs.”
Castleberry told the council that this would be a “one and done” situation, with the town not needing to repeat the process in the future unless the signs are relocated. Otherwise she said once the resolution is adopted and the town is given the permit then they are in compliance with the state.
It was also mentioned that the town had not ever applied for such a permit for the old “Welcome to Rockford” signs that had been in place for many years prior to the new signs being installed, which is why it needed to apply for the permit now.
After brief discussion and review, the council unanimously approved adopting the resolution to enter into the agreement with ALDOT to get the permit and keep the signs in place.
In other business, the council also unanimously approved soliciting bids for the Rebuild Alabama grant for road repairs around the County Courthouse. The roads listed to be included in the project were School Street at Highway 231 to the Rockford Event Center and Highway 22 to Jackson Street to Nixburg Road.
It was stated that the town has been awarded the grant, but has not received funds yet, and that the next step in the process is putting the project out for bid.
Also during the meeting, the council received a proposed revised copy of the town’s parking ordinance for consideration. Castleberry asked the council members to review the proposed updates to the ordinance to vote on it next month.
The council unanimously approved looking over the ordinance and voting on it next month. If approved, the updated ordinance would then go into effect after next month’s meeting.
Castleberry stated during the meeting that none of the law or ordinance was changed, only the fines. She said the current fines were “clearly decades old and had not been reviewed.”
She mentioned that the proposed ordinance revisions were sent to town attorney Tom Young for review, adding that she believes the new fines proposed are “more in line with 2023 standards for a town our size.”
Young spoke up during the meeting stating that the fines are meant to be punitive and “deter that kind of action.”
The revised ordinance would update and replace the town’s parking ordinance number 555 from April 9, 2002, and the town’s amendment to ordinance number 530 from September 2016, which amended and updated parking fines at that time.
The town’s proposed ordinance, Ordinance PO 2023-06-PA-01, has fines ranging from $25 to $100 for various parking offenses, with a total of 11 offenses listed on the revised ordinance.
Unrelated to the town’s proposal for a revised parking ordinance, the council also briefly discussed handicap parking around the County Courthouse and in town.
During the meeting, Police Chief George Fanning provided the council with the monthly update regarding police activity since the last council meeting.
He stated they had 18 calls for service, assisted five citizens, conducted 15 traffic stops, gave out 15 warnings, had one wreck, and conducted 251 business checks for the month, adding that it “wasn’t that bad.”
When asked if the department had seen a decrease in speeding in town, Fanning said they had, stating that the fastest he had seen recently was someone driving 67 mph in a 55 mph zone.
The next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Rockford Town Council will be held at 6 p.m. July 18.