Ragland City Council was in session last week and on the town’s agenda was financing a new/used backhoe, new business coming to town, establishing a distance ordinance and moving forward on the new library.

*Bids for a new backhoe have come in on the high end of $97,000. Concerned about finances and the nation’s economic state, Mayor Lanis White suggested being more conservative by attending an auction where the city could purchase a used backhoe for $65,000 to $70,000. “That kind of money is a big deal for us right now. The ideal situation is for us to get a quality used backhoe,” White said.

—J’s Pharmacy is opening its second location in Ragland. Owner Jennifer Setzer has her first location in Pell City. The council approved moving forward with a bid from Jones Construction for $42,960 to complete renovations including a driveway and space for a drive-thru window.

—Ragland City Council previously voted to not allow Dollar General to sell alcohol on its premises due to its proximity to the school and two churches. However, a state law allowed the decision to be overruled and Dollar General is now able to sell beer under the state law’s current provisions until August 2012. “Concerned citizens are not happy,” said White. Weathington, Moore, Weisskopf and Hill have been asked to draft an ordinance outlining a distance ordinance where alcohol cannot be sold within so many miles of a the school or churches. Penny Owens, Ragland City Clerk, is currently working with the ABC Board attorney and state legislature Blaine Galliher to change this law on the state level. “Don’t get me wrong. We’re glad Dollar General is here, they hire local people, which is great for everybody, but concerning this particular situation, we believe they made the wrong choice,” said White.

—Moving forward with plans for the new library White and the council are proceeding with caution as they are trying to be cost conscientious. Keeping with its current blueprint, the new library will feature an archive room for the historical society to display its archives.

Looking to the future, the council discussed budgetary items regarding how to generate more money for Ragland. The council is considering a sales tax increase from eight percent to ten percent, upping garbage rates and extending the city limits. Which council member Perry Poe says will increase Ragland’s ad valorem. Mayor White wants citizens to know the town is not in a tight or bad situation, these are provisions for the future. “We’ve been pretty well blessed compared to other municipalities. Ragland is headed in a good direction.”

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