Smelser to have ‘open door’ policy
Bill Smelser took the reins of Hartselle city government on Fri., Aug. 28, after serving as council president since 2012. Smelser will serve as Mayor Pro-Tempore, or interim mayor until December 1, 2015, when he will take over as Mayor of the City of Hartselle.
Smelser became the city’s leader when Don Hall submitted his resignation to the council on August 28, Hall’s resignation is not effective until November 30, but he will be on leave of absence until the effective date and will not exercise any powers of the office of mayor.
Smelser will not draw the full mayor’s salary until December 1, until then he will continue to receive the council president’s salary he was receiving prior to Hall’s resignation and leave of absence.
One of the major concerns of Smelser and the other members of the Hartselle Council with Hall was the lack of communication between the mayor’s office and the members of the council and department heads of the city. One major change Smelser has already implemented will be an “open door” policy to the mayor’s office.
His door will always be open to the citizens of Hartselle and the employees of the City of Hartselle. Smelser is making stability across all lines of communications a top priority as Mayor
Pro-Tempore as well as when he serves as mayor.
Smelser also stated that the citizens of Hartselle are fortunate to have the council they have in place at this time. They are great guys, very knowledgeable and compassionate to the needs of Hartselle.
Smelser also credited employees at City Hall for functioning for the last few years with little supervision. The employees knew what to do and they carried out their jobs very well. The city has been well served by these employees.
When asked about his plans for moving Hartselle forward Smelser mentioned that the council has already passed the FYE 2016 budget in the black, and gave the city employees a raise.
Other plans include having the acquisitions lined out for the Thompson Road expansion project and plans for moving the utilities. He also wants to speak with ALDOT about adding the Highway 36 project back into plans for the city.
As far as the downtown flood mitigation project the detention ponds are waiting on contractors, however the spilling flume has been poured. The re-bids for the project have not come in as of yet. Also the city will be applying for grant money to construct phase 2 of the plan as well.
In other actions the city is waiting on ALDOT for final plans to synchronize the downtown traffic lights with the railroad signals and the pedestrian heads to control pedestrian traffic crossings at the major intersections. The city is currently building breakaways for the 4-way stops that will replace the traffic signals at the Hickory Street-Sycamore and Sparkman intersections and the Chestnut and Sparkman Street intersections. There will be a 30-day transition of the lights flashing red before they are taken down and replaced with the stop signs.
Smelser commented, “ I am proud to be serving as interim mayor and I am thankful that we live in such a caring and compassionate community. The past is in the past and I am going forward with what is best of Hartselle.”