Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Providence Council officially adopts Title VI of the Civil Rights Act

The Providence City Council met Monday evening with Mayor Eddie Gooch presiding.  
Council Members present were, Tom Skinner, Shannon Cole Layton, Doug Hammers, Scott Frederick and Delores Overby.  City Attorney Richard Peyton and Clerk Kay Travis were also present. Absent was Councilman Keith Farrell.  After a prayer by Councilman Frederick, Mayor Gooch opened with the reading of past minutes, and a motion to accept them was approved.  

In this final scheduled meeting of the year, the Council unanimously approved a formal resolution of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin.  At the request of City Attorney Richard Peyton, representatives from the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) were on hand to discuss the federal mandate, specifically how this formality affects an entity’s ability to apply for and receive federal grants.  
GRADD Senior Infrastructure Planner David Alley commended City Attorney Peyton in his diligence in pursuing the issue so that the Council and community have a clear understanding of what the resolution means.  Alley explained that in this matter, when a community seeks federal funding for projects or emergencies, the process requires the applicant to affirm their compliance with federal laws.  If the applicant is approved for funding as the city was with emergency generators, they may be audited at a later time.  If the audit finds that no formal acceptance of a federal law has been recorded, the city risks losing the funding. 
Mayor Gooch cited several resolutions that have been adopted over the years along the same lines, such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Affirmative Action and Drug Free Workplace initiatives and emphasized that although Title VI may not have been previously approved by formal resolution, in actual practice it has long been part of the administrative policies of the city government.  
Alley agreed by stating that this is absolutely not an issue of the city doing anything wrong, or in violation of the Act. Instead, going forward it will simply eliminate any problems when applying for federal assistance.  Resolution 14-09 adopting Title VI is effective immediately, and upon proper signatures and recording will be available for public inspection. 
In other business, discussion of the water tower continues after receiving good news that X-rays could be taken of the concrete footings, which show outward evidence of deterioration.  
However, the bad news is that such a procedure could cost up to $10,000, and there could be no guarantee of a conclusive determination of what the X-rays might find.  Mayor Gooch and the council agree that such an expense with no guarantee would be pointless and a waste of funds.  On one hand, it would be easy to just take it out of service and have it demolished, but the Mayor is not satisfied that they have turned over every stone to find the best solution, and they will continue to seek advice of engineers familiar with such projects.  In a related note, one city resident in attendance asked the council about a letter she had received regarding water quality.  
The Mayor responded by explaining that such letters are required to be sent out after water quality studies are completed, in some cases many months after the actual study, and assured her that there is nothing wrong with the water.  Holiday wishes were exchanged as the meeting adjourned with the next scheduled meeting on Monday, January 5th, 2015.

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