By Benjamin Bullard
The Cullman Times
HANCEVILLE — The Hanceville City Council didn’t balk at a proposal to allow mayor Kenneth Nail to seek a half-million dollar loan Thursday, unanimously approving the measure at its regular meeting.
The six-month loan will be used to pay off outstanding contractor invoices for debris removal following last April’s devastating storms. The council hopes the payoff will placate the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, which has informed towns who split the cost of the cleaning up after the storms with FEMA, that it will not issue any more promised reimbursement money until all contractor accounts have been paid.
“We've got to do this,” said council member Charles Wilson after the meeting. “If we don’t, we’re not going to get reimbursed. I’ve talked to people from other places where they went in and did the cleanup, and they’re having to do the same thing.”
Nail said the city’s decision to negotiate directly with debris removal contractors — instead of allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to serve as a general contractor — at least saved the city from being forced to borrow even more.
“I’m just glad that we’re sitting up here talking about borrowing $550,000, because, if we had gone with the Corps of Engineers, we’d be trying to figure out how to borrow $7 million,” said Nail.
Thursday’s action merely authorized Nail to take action in obtaining a loan, and the city hasn’t borrowed any money yet.
See a coming print edition of The Cullman Times for more on how local governments continue to deal with the costs incurred by last year’s tornadoes.