The Scottsboro City Council approved the hiring of a full-time jailor and emergency 911 operator. Additionally, the council discussed a potential sales tax incentive for High Country Toyota.

The council allocated $36,500 to pay for the salary and benefits for an eighth full-time jailor position. Interim Police Chief Ron Latimer stated during the meeting that the need for a jailor arose because the city's jail is facing staffing issues and difficulties hiring a part time jailor.

Previously, funds had been allocated to the jail to hire six full-time staff and two part-time staff; however, according to Latimer there have been issues hiring a part-time jailor due.

Because of this, Latimer said that the jail has been forced to run on limited staff for the past 2 months.

Latimer said that the police department has taken steps to limit the number of inmates in the jail at a time to below 20 to avoid staffing issues, but that he expects the number to increase throughout 2021 — especially during the summer months.

"The jail is potentially the highest liability area for the city," said Latimer in discussing the importance to maintain a full staff. He also stated that it is difficult to run the jail when it is understaffed increasing the risk to both jailers and the liability to the city.

According to Latimer, the jail has averaged 15 inmates per day, but during the weekends have seen as many as 21 inmates per day.

During the meeting the council amended the department’s budget to allow for $36,540 to pay for an experienced jailor to be hired — something that Latimer hopes to do quickly.

The council approved the hiring of a new emergency 911 operator.

The city's emergency 911 services are used to dispatch both the city police and a number of volunteer fire and emergency services throughout Jackson County. Previously, the city had employed 14 911 operators — 13 regular dispatchers and one manager.

The new 911 operator was requested by the 911 board to assist in the lowering the workload for other employees, it was initially discussed during the budget talks in October, but plans were not finalized until recently.

The 911 operator will cost roughly $37,899 to be paid by the 911 Board.

A request from Maples to vacate a portion of Moody Ridge Road was discussed by the council. The company proposed moving a portion of the road to increase safety and allow for better accessibility as a shipping route.

Maples proposed the adjustment as they hope to add roughly 100 extra employees to their first shift team to increase production.

The proposal is in an early stage; however, Maples has contacted the Alabama Department of Transportation, but has not received a response regarding their proposed changes.

Representatives from Maples did suggest that if the city paid for the engineering costs of the project that they would be willing to pay for the labor and materials to adjust the roadway.

The city council tabled the measure until more details could be obtained from the Water Sewer and Gas Board about potential interferences with the road and to receive input from ALDOT.

An adjustment to the city's sick leave policy was approved by the council. Previously, if a full-time employee died their family would receive no compensation for that employee's remaining sick leave. Now, at the request of Mayor Jim McCamy, the family will receive 100% of that employee's sick leave as a cash payout upon their death.

The change will be retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year which started Oct. 1.

The council also voted to allow the Jackson County Cruisers to move their events from the first to second Saturday of each month. A $2,600 grant was awarded to the organization to allow for cash prizes to be given out at their events.

According to Cruisers, the organization has seen a decline in attendance partially due to COVID-19, but they have also experienced issues with limited parking because of the overlap with First Mondays.

The events had seen a maximum of 120 attendees when they restarted in June but saw a decline to an average of 70 participants during the latter months.

The council will hold their next meeting on Jan. 4 it will be a work session. Topics to be discussed at the Jan. 4 work session are likely to include a proposed audit of city finances by Council Member Nita Tolliver, further discussion of the Highland Toyota tax incentive and the road adjustments requested by Maples.

The Scottsboro City Council will also hold a meeting on Jan. 11. A combined work session and meeting will be held on Jan. 25. The meetings will all occur at 6 p.m. on their respective days.

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