By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
KIMBERLY — The Kimberly City Council has set a date for when summer officially ends — but not because they are trying to one-up Mother Nature.
Monday night the council chose the date of Sept. 21 — the astronomical end of summer, as it turns out — as the deadline for Gardendale developer Clint Singletary to make good on his promise to complete paving of streets in the Liberty Crossing subdivision.
“I talked to him, and he told me that he would put on the top coat by the end of summer,” council member Brian Pharris said. “But we need to draw a line in the sand.”
It’s the latest episode in a long-running problem that has brought former mayor Ralph Lindsey before the council in almost every regular session for the last few months, as he tried to get the council to hold Singletary’s feet to the fire by whatever means possible — cashing in his performance bond with the city, filing a lawsuit against Singletary, or both.
Lindsey, a resident of Liberty Crossing, implored the council again to take legal action. But Mayor Bob Ellerbrock said that a lawsuit would just drag things out for three more years, and Pharris said the bond would have to be called in first.
Pharris added that Liberty Crossing wasn’t the only development where Singletary was alleged to have unfinished work, including the Saddlebrook subdivision.
For the moment, Ellerbrock and the city have a more pressing problem: a shortfall in the general fund.
The mayor said the fund was about $10,000 in the hole, and there were bills to be paid of about $25,000 for a total shortfall of $35,000.
“I don’t want to go into a panic, because we have money coming in August that will cover it,” Ellerbrock said. “Our income is down about $80,000 compared to last year. But it’s something we go through every year about this time.”
City Clerk Sandy Waid said that a franchise payment from the Cullman-Jefferson Gas Board comes early in August, which will put the city back on an even keel financially.
The council also discussed adding to the cost of building permits, which currently run $50 for each heated space in a building plus $25 for each unheated space, as well as a storm-water management fee. A flat add-on was talked about, but action was postponed until the council’s next meeting.
In other business, the council: