Pell City Fire Chief Mike Burdette says the most rewarding part of his job is going to bed every night and waking up every morning knowing he is working to protect the safety of men and women in the Pell City community.

New Pell City Fire Chief Mike Burdette was appointed to the position at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Burdette is the first employee to be promoted within the department.

“No one has ever been promoted from within before,” Burdette said.  “I consider it an honor.”

Burdette was officially appointed to serve as interim fire chief at the beginning of November but has served the community in that capacity for approximately five months.  Former fire chief Patrick Draper took the job as city manager in the summer, so Burdette has worked diligently to fill his shoes.

“The city manager, Patrick Draper, is someone I look up to, and it was a privilege to be assistant fire chief under his leadership,” Burdette said.

City Manager Patrick Draper said he feels confident Burdette will move the city forward in right direction.

Burdette has been a firefighter with the City of Pell City for 22 years and served as a firefighter in Lincoln three years prior.

“Pell City has grown quite a bit.  When I first started there were only two fire trucks and four firefighters on shift.  Now we have four fire trucks with 12 people on shift,” Burdette said.  “It’s almost like a different place.”

As Burdette looks ahead for 2013, he says he is dedicated to serving the people of the community.

“I don’t see this as just a new title or position.  This is an obligation I don’t take lightly.”

Burdette says the biggest challenge will be keeping up with city growth in difficult economic times because money is tight.

“We want the least amount of growing pains as possible.”

But Burdette believes Pell City is making great strides for the future.

“We’ve reached a point where the rubber meets the road.  It’s time to go to work,” Burdette said.  “Our goal is to be the best in Alabama.”

In other actions the council:

—Approved waiving water bills for approximately 125 customers due to problems with water meters.  Initially the council discussed only covering 50 percent of costs, but decided to cover 100 percent of the costs totaling $39,550.  The city manager said this decision was made because the city received more revenue than expected.

—Authorized the city manager to solicit bids for needed road surface striping on city streets, part of the FY13 paving project, not to exceed $48, 750.

—Approved taking online payments from customers for utility bills.  Customers who pay online will be charged a $3.95 convenience fee but still have the option to pay bills in person at city hall at no extra charge.

—Approved a $2 increase to the business license issuance fee.  The city manager said the state increased their rates, so the city was forced to go up to recover costs.

—Approved holding regularly scheduled council meetings the second and fourth Monday of the month.  Meetings on the second Monday are scheduled for 6 p.m. and meetings on the fourth meeting will be held at 10 a.m.  Work sessions are scheduled for 4 p.m. the Thursday prior to Monday meetings.

—Due to Christmas holidays, the council will have their next meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. with a work session before at 4 p.m.

—Approved utility bill adjustments for 31 customers related to ongoing water issues.

—Approved participation in the Severe Weather Preparedness tax holiday, Feb. 22-23, 2013.


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