Request to annex Prattville High School passes City Council

Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. making an emotional plea to the Council - Photo by Marc Parker

Prattville – A proposal, sponsored by Council President Dean Argo, to request for annexation of Prattville High School, was passed unanimously Tuesday night at the Council meeting, despite a motion by Councilman Ray Boles to table the discussion for two weeks.

“The Autauga County Board of Education and Mr. Boles have been in meetings and are talking about a possible remedy to the situation,” said Argo. “So, I will second the motion to hold until the next meeting.”

The motion to hold failed by a vote of 3-3, as Councilman Willie Woods was not present at the February 16 meeting.

After the failure of the motion, the Council took up the resolution and the Board of Education request passed by a vote of 6-0.

The passage of the annexation resolution does not give the City Council the authority to force the Board to annex the high school.

“This resolution is only a polite, official request, and now the Board can give us an official answer,” continued Argo. “They can either say no, ignore us, or say yes.”

The City currently provides numerous services to the high school including sanitary sewer, and police and fire protection at no cost to the Board. If the high school was annexed, the City could also assist the Board of Education with several needed projects at the school.

“If we paved Upper Kingston, it would have to stop right in front of the high school. If anybody has been in that parking lot in the last six or seven years you will know that it is in bad need of paving,” Argo said. “If we already have our paving equipment at Upper Kingston right in front of the school the Board could save thousands of dollars by not having to pay the paving company to bring equipment out there.”

Argo also stated that an important reason for annexation was to ensure growth for the city of Prattville.

“Prattville cannot grow to the east and south, only to the north and west,” he said. “It would be harder for us to provide services in the west than it would be the north. This council has already gone on record as saying that we’re in favor of moving to the north and we’ve extended a sewer line out that way so that our future growth will be taken care of there.”

Tom Conway, a resident of the Kingston Meadows subdivision outside of the city limits and near Prattville High School, is concerned that the Prattville Fire Department will not respond to his home in case of an emergency.

“Because I have to call a volunteer fire department, my homeowner’s insurance rates have more than tripled. I believe that they have gone from $400 to about $2,000 a year,” Conway said.

Prattville Mayor Jim Byard, Jr. said that he and the Council members have asked the Board publicly and privately for the school to be annexed and there has been no response.

“I grew up in Prattville and quite honestly am offended when a person says this is not an issue,” said Byard.

A graduate of Prattville High School, Byard is a strong supporter of the annexation, and made an emotional plea for the Council’s support.

“About eight days ago a city not too far from here had an incident at school. This is serious business. It’s not politics, it’s not play, it is serious business,” he said at the podium.

The Superintendent of the Board of Education has to bring the annexation request back up to the members, and it would take a majority of three to pass, stated Argo in comments after the meeting.

“They have all the city services, we have done everything that they have asked us to do, and all we want the to do is annex so that we can grow north … and they have been unwilling to talk to us,” said the Council President. “They are scared to death that we are going to form a city school system and I told them quite honestly that this Council has had no discussions of a city school system so that’s an unfounded concern.”

Article by Melissa Parker

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