The first Eufaula City Council meeting of 2020 came on the heels of the city not being awarded the location of the Southeast Alabama Veterans Home, but Mayor Jack Tibbs said there were still plenty of things to look forward to in the coming years.
“First, we have to decide if we’re going to be a progressive city,” Tibbs said. “To be progressive you’ve gotta be aggressive.”
Tibbs mentioned several key projects the city was working on, including the renovation of both the Bluff City Inn and the Martin Theatre, as well as early planning for a new Medical Center Barbour.
“Unfortunately, I have to report on the VA home not coming here.” Tibbs said. “We are very disappointed. Congratulations to Enterprise (which was awarded the VA Home’s site). It was a good exercise of getting everybody involved with the city staff in the county. If anything good came out of it it’s that we all prepared for it together. It just wasn’t meant to be. I do think we will reap some benefits down the line.”
Council member Linda Grice said she was “proud of the city” for its efforts.
As for the possibility of a new hospital facility, Tibbs said he believes an ideal location would be behind Walmart for good access to the city and county.
“The top things people look for in a town are a hospital and schools,” Tibbs said. “The hospital is what it is and we need to build a new one because that one was built I believe in the 1950s. It looks pretty much like it did in the 50s. We want to custom-build one for a city our size. We should make it more accessible to the county, maybe behind Walmart with roads coming in there.
“We are probably three or four years away but it’s time to start figuring out funding sources. A new hospital could be a major recruitment tool for industries and people we want to move here.”
Tibbs noted that the city was wrapping up its 2020 plan and is preparing for the next 20 years, something spearheaded by Eufaula Human Resources/Rick Manager Elizabeth Conklin.
The city’s financial department, led by Gloria Helms and Joy White, was awarded for the 23rd consecutive year a financial reporting award. Tibbs noted that Eufaula is among the top 3% of municipalities in Alabama for how it handles its financing.
“Joy, Gloria and all of the department heads manage our money well,” Tibbs said.
Council President Johnny Knight added “It takes a good team to work together, especially when you’re talking about money.”
The council appointed Logan Mitchell to replace Cathy Bledsoe on the Industrial Development Board to finish out a six-year term. At the next meeting, which will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, the council will vote to fill another position.