Sewer, road, seawall and wildlife center on city's list of projects seeking funding.
Coastal Resources Director Phillip West.
December 13, 2017 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) – The city is taking aim at RESTORE Act money with an eye on funding five projects in Orange Beach including expansion and relocation of the Wildlife Center.
Applications for the current round of projects will go to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment arm of NOAA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and RESTORE funds. These will be the preliminary application, Coastal Resources Director Phillip West said.
“There’s an extraordinary amount of paperwork that goes along with these grant applications and they are not obligated to fund,” West said. “This is just the first round for full consideration. And if they make that level of scrutiny they’ll go to the RESTORE council and we’ll come back with the grant funding obligation paperwork. “
At the Dec. 12 council meeting, the council passed a resolution authorizing several staff members to be able to sign the documents in case some are not present during the holidays. The deadline to have the paperwork in is Jan. 2.
“It’s eight to 10 signatures needed per package so somebody needs to be available to sign and we have a Jan. 2 deadline,” West said. “What you’re allowing us to do is for me, Kit Alexander, Wade Stevens and Ken Grimes to sign the application documents to submit the proposal for this round only.”
Alexander is the director of community development, Stevens is the coastal operations manager and Grimes is the city administrator.
“We need this,” Alexander told Mayor Tony Kennon, “so we’re not constantly coming at you saying ‘please sign this, please sign this.’”
Orange Beach is seeking funding for at least five projects during this phase, including the Wildlife Center work. Others are a force main sewer north of the canal on Roscoe Road, three-laning Canal Road from Alabama 161 to Wilson Boulevard, a water quality study of Cotton Bayou and repairs to the Alabama Point seawall.
West is excited about moving the Wildlife Center to a more remote location.
“We’re going to be moving it to a 10-acre tract of land that we own west of the sewer plant adjacent to Gulf State Park,” he said. “Lots of woods and lots of space for releases and things.
“And, it’s also not quite right in the middle of town. Now we have to crate the animal up and release it somewhere. That gives us a lot of options back there.”
In other business at the meeting, the council:
• Passed a resolution hiring with Van Scoyoc Associates for lobbying services in Washington, D.C., for $5,500 a month.
• Passed a resolution hiring Bob Riley and Associates for lobbying services, general consulting and public affairs in the state for $10,000 a month.
• Passed a resolution hiring Socialize Your Bizness for social media consulting and marketing services for $1,600 a month. The city agreed in August to pay the firm $750 a month for the remainder of the year said it would consider a full year contract at the higher rate after evaluating the service.
• Reappointed Wanda Cochran as city attorney at the rate of $7,500 a month plus expenses. The council also appointed John Lawler as legal counsel for the Planning Commission, Boards of Adjustment and the Personnel Board. Spencer Davis was appointed as the city prosecutor and Paul Woodall was appointed to represent the city in matters of real estate, public finance, economic incentives and other specialized services at the direction of Cochran.
• Reappointed Julian “Buddy” Brackin as municipal court judge.
• Authorized the purchase of three 2018 Ford F-150 4x4 crew cab pickup trucks for the Utilities Department for $91,851.
• Passed an ordinance granting a non-exclusive franchise to Lyft to provide taxi service in the city in 2018.
• Hired Bebee Termite and Pest Control for termite treatment of the Coastal Arts Center for $660 and the Clay Shop for $175.