March 8, 2018
To Concerned Citizens from Mayor Frankie Lindsey
SUBJECT: Stray Dogs
First of all, I thank you for your comments and concern about stray dogs in our city. As you may know, the stray dog problem is nothing new; it’s persisted for decades. This is a national problem; it does not matter what city or town you call, they all will tell you they have stray dog problems.
The long-standing deep-seated nature of the issue is one reason why it hasn’t been resolved. The embedded cultural forces that create the stray problem make it tougher to fix. Furthermore, community members and national boosters are quick to rally around a “no kill” cause. There’s a public will behind trying to increase the “live” release rate from animal shelters. With that, we need volunteers and additional resources. We have received hundreds of calls for service to pick up strays. We have only one animal control officer available and it is numerically impossible to bring all these dogs in for adoption.
We’ve proven that we can do “no kill”, but be advised that these dogs were captured and/or brought to the shelter by individuals, subsequently, for adoption. We’ve had a great percentage of success in adopting our dogs out.
Prior to my administration the methodology the city had in place for years was to pick as many stray dogs as possible; those animals were euthanized within a few days. They were many innocent dogs killed just because they were stray. With that said, it didn’t deter the number of roaming dogs out there.
The long-term solution is to increase efforts surrounding education and sterilization. Spaying and neutering as many animals as possible, stray or owned, is perhaps the most important factor to resolve the problem. Until you do that, it’s pure mathematics, you are not going to reduce the stray population. Adoption is like treatment, you’re treating the problem but you’re not solving the epidemic.
I know that you’re looking to the city to fix the problem; let’s be honest about this; if everyone in the world was to say that the problems caused by stray dogs weren’t their responsibility, the problem wouldn’t get solved at all. How hard is it to pick up the phone and call the police and report the problem? I’m aware that one lady called the police and was told that they do not pick up strays. Please do not call the police department after 5:00 p.m. due to the phone automatically rolls over to the E-911 operator. They will tell you they do not pick up stray dogs. Our police officers are on duty 24 hours a day and will be glad to assist you with your dog problem. If you do call E-911 please ask for an officer to go by your residence and he will discuss the procedure with you. In any incident concerning stray dogs please do call because you could be changing the life for an animal, you could find them a new home, get them back to their original owner that could be distraught because they lost them, and generally give them a new lease of life.
The City does not use the services of professional dog catchers (we can’t afford them), so we hired an individual who is doing his best. He is an animal lover and handles the animals that he catches in a humane manner and he is learning the dog catching business on every catch he encounters.
I am amused at the sudden media (Facebook) interest in this problem. I remember when I was a young kid living in Geneva in the 1950’s; there were stray dogs everywhere; but back then the parents took care of the strays but eventually the stray problem would reappear. It goes on and on. The dog catching business is a thankless profession and I applaud any person that is in business of catching dogs.
If you have any suggestions to this problem please feel free to call me or come to my office and I will be glad to discuss the matter with you.
As you may know, dogs are “fast” breeders. Let me give you one fact; If an animal control officer catches 5 to 6 dogs a day (really not hard to do) there is a minimum of 12 dogs that give birth to roughly around 60-70 puppies on a daily basis. This is true.
The City of Geneva only has one (1) shelter available for housing dogs. There are eight individual cages within the shelter. The shelter stays full, year round. We have been fortunate to adopt our young puppies to outside agencies but we usually have anywhere from 8 to15 large dogs in the shelter at any time. The only dogs that we euthanize are vicious or diseased dogs that are untreatable.
Our animals that stay in our shelter are well taken care of. They are fed and watered on a daily basis, 7 days a week, all year. They are treated in a very humane manner. I encourage anyone to visit the shelter. The animals have air conditioning during the summer months and heat during the winter months. The shelter is equipped with a washer and dryer; there is hot water available to wash the blankest and other items that belong to the animals.
My wish is for Geneva County to build a facility to house strays through the county. I have spoken to the authorities in charge and they advised that they have looked into the matter and it would cost approximately $250,000.00 at the minimum. I certainly understand their position but hopefully in the future things will work out.
March 8, 2018
To: Citizens of Geneva
From: Mayor Frankie Lindsey
I want to address several projects that the city has on-going at this time. I am aware of several comments concerning new businesses, old businesses and other concerns about our city government and what we are doing about it.
There is a lot of talk about not getting any industrial business in our city. Yes, we all want business to come in our city and I am doing everything that is possible to make it happen. I will not start out with all kind of excuses, only facts concerning new industry.
In the early 1990’s, NAFTA caused the decline of our textile companies and we saw them move to other countries. As a result of companies leaving, many manufacturing jobs vanished throughout our nation. The impact we saw in Geneva was approximately 2600 jobs lost within just a few months apart.
The routine work was easily moved to poor countries where labor was cheap. This is why promises to bring back jobs ring “hollow”. Our Manufacturing jobs were destroyed by new ways of boosting productivity and reducing cost which heightened the distinction between routine labor and the rest of manufacturing. Believe me, there is no vice that can squeeze those “genies” back into their bottles.
I feel we should start with “modest expectations” for manufacturing. The policies that might help are mostly, fairly obvious; improve education to ensure that qualified labor is in good supply and provide more vocational training (which we are already doing at this time). The opening of our new G-Tech Center has provided over 100 students the opportunity to study certain occupations such as welding, health care, IT classes, automotive and aircraft courses. The G-Tech Center is preparing our students to enter the labor force with great expectations of a good salary and benefits.
I will not give up on getting new businesses in Geneva but I can tell you, without a doubt, the decades-long decline of United States manufacturing employment and the highly automated nature of the recent revitalization is high on the list of explanations of our decline of manufacturing jobs.
Please understand that there has been a massive 30 year decline of employment beginning in 1980. That trend led to the liquidation of more than a 1/3 of United States manufacturing positions. Employment plunged from 18.9 million jobs to 12.2 million.
Citizens of Geneva are asking why we can’t get some type of overseas automotive company to come to Geneva. The obvious answer is the overseas companies want to come to an international site where there will be railroads and international airports; they want 4-lane highways that connect with interstate highways and furthermore, they want to acquire land and property at a decent price or even donated property by the county or municipalities. Well, as you may know, the nearest site to us is Dothan, Alabama and they are monopolizing on their assets, and I applaud them for that.
I realize that you are wondering why things in our government are so slow. Please be aware that when I became Mayor I inherited several projects that the last administration was involved in. There was a CDBG drainage project, the levee pump relocation, completing the ACE program and we just finished a sidewalk project and are in the process of beginning a new sidewalk project and we have just finished a long-term planning and zoning project. All of these projects cost a little over one half million dollars in matching funds that had to be paid by the City. When I took office I inherited a loan for equipment with a balance of $396,000.00 which will not pay off during my term. I also inherited a 15+ year debt in the amount of $789,000.00 which will pay off long after my term. I have just begun my second year as the Mayor and it is all that I can do to manage inherited projects and debt. The City Council and I have our own projects that we want to accomplish but we have to balance them with our outstanding debts. Please be patient and you will see a big difference as my term goes forward.
There have been several comments concerning the fast food establishments that we have in our city. I will try and explain the reason that we got another fast food company. Part of the massive proliferation of fast food restaurants in our country can be chalked up to the simple economics of supply and demand. With The five major fast food restaurants we have in our city, I feel that it gives our amazing students the opportunity to become productive citizens of our city. With these establishments, they generate approximately 155 jobs for Geneva. That gives our kids a chance to make some money and even get some other benefits that the companies offer. Without these jobs, there is a good chance that our kids will be walking the streets and possibly entering into a society that is not acceptable. Without these jobs, these kids will be completely relying on their parents for spending money. Please remember, when a small business such as fast food comes to our city, the more money they make, the more money they give to the community. Their budgets go up as the economy gets better. What I’ve found is that despite the economy being up or down, our restaurants continue to give back because they are ingrained in the daily life of our community. I know, as a fact, that if they are in a position to help, they do. These fast food companies we have in Geneva are asked every day to donate to our community. They help our schools, our city organizations and many different events throughout our city. I appreciate everything they do for us.
We are in the process of building a couple of “Pocket Parks” in our city. The city of Geneva is partnering with the Historical Society in this project. The best way that I can describe a pocket park is it’s a large lot located within our downtown area. Pocket park users should not have to walk more than 10-15 minutes to reach their destination. The park is designed to be accessible by both foot and bike and should not require the use of a car. Our pocket parks have four key qualities. They are accessible, they allow people to engage in activities, they are comfortable spaces and have a good image and finally, are sociable places, one where people meet each other and take people to when they come to visit our city. The two locations that have been identified are: 1) next to the old railroad trestle on Commerce Street and 2) behind Speigner Furniture Store.
Mr. Bobby Boone, owner of Buds and Blossoms donated thirteen (13) trees consisting of crape myrtles and elms (oaks). The trees have been planted by city employees and with the help of volunteers from the Historical Society, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Thomas who donated their time and equipment to remove the older (rotten) trees and Mr. Buck McCray who donated his excavator for the removal of trees.
Both of these projects are worthwhile for our community. It is a place that a family can take their children and be with them and have fun. Hopefully in time these parks will have new playground equipment and a splash pad during the summer time.
The later part of this year I will be asking for a grant for money to upgrade our existing baseball and softball fields. We will be getting two new soccer fields which will be located adjoining our existing sports complex. The soccer fields will have new lighting and a new concession stand and new bathrooms. We will be upgrading the parking area by removing several of the trees and the parking area will be paved with new stripping.
The City will be implementing a plan for the re-vitalization of downtown in the near future. I am looking for anyone who may have any suggestions. Your input will be greatly appreciated.
Last but not least, the city has adopted a new nuisance ordinance that has much more authority to clean up some of the old derelict houses in our city. The old ordinance was very vague and did not have enough “teeth” in it to do much. We will be working with our fire department, and therefore gaining training exercises for the department. We will be working with the property owners because there are certain environmental safety criteria that must be met. The EPA requires us to remove all hazardous materials such as asbestos shingles or vinyl siding
September 8, 2017
To the Citizens of Geneva:
Mayor Frankie Lindsey comments of Hurricane Irma
Obviously, Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat to us. There has been several “Forecast Paths” expanding to a north-westward turn into the state of Alabama (possible).
I want all citizens of Geneva and surrounding communities to be prepared for some heavy rain and winds; possible 40-50 mph winds. My first priority is ensuring safety of lives and helping anyone in distress. There’s no way to sugar coat this storm. I encourage each of you to gather supplies in advance. I do not expect any evacuation at this writing, but we will be watching very closely with EMA staff.
I just want you to be prepared when the rain and wind comes our way. The following are items of interest in preparing for Irma:
• Do your laundry and dishes before the power goes out
• Cover your air conditioning unit so debris does not damage it
• Bring your lawn furniture inside
• Reinforce your garage door (storage room door)
• Fill Ziploc bags ¾ full of water, stack them in your freezer
• Put important documents in double plastic bags and seal them
• Park your vehicles in a garage if possible
• Be prepared to lose power and know that the roads may be flooded or blocked
• Use a portable generator for power, but never turn on a generator in doors and never plug a generator into a wall outlet
• Do not run generators in the rain or in flooding
• Have fully charged cell phones with external battery pack
• TAKE CARE OF YOUR PETS-They do not like bad weather
• Get at least 1 gallon of water per person at home for three days
• A three day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener
• Battery powered radio
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• First aid kit
• A weeks supply of medicine and extra pair of glasses
• Get some cash money
• Duct tape, moist towels, garbage bags
• Infant formula and diapers if needed
• Pet food
• Sleeping bags
• Fire extinguisher
• Paper products
• Paper & Pencils
• Books and games for children
• Whistle to signal for help
• Fill up gas tanks and LP tanks
• Establish an out of town emergency contact
• Trim damaged trees or branches so they are less likely to fall during the storm
Remember, a hurricane is like a wild beast, once it hits, there is no escape; you have to ride it out!
Possible tornadoes are spawned from the wind and rain. I am asking for prayers and preparedness is essential. The Mayor and City Council will be available through this weather and if we could be of any assistance to you or your family, please let us know. Shelters will be announced as soon as I receive a list.
Mayor Frankie Lindsey
May 31, 2017
I pledge to you, the citizens of Geneva, that the City is dedicated to displaying the American Flag during certain holidays. Days leading up to Memorial Day, May 29th, there was miscommunication on my part concerning whose job it was to see that the flags were displayed. For that, I take full responsibility, as well as the delay in displaying of the flags.
Please be advised that our maintenance supervisor, Mr. Ken Lewis, is willing to take on the responsibility of displaying the flags in our City in the future. Ken is a dedicated employee and I appreciate his willingness to take on this task!
May 4, 2017
Citizens of Geneva:
I promised you that I would keep you informed of my intentions concerning the business of our city and I hope that the following comments will be of some help in answering some of your questions.
There are many things that I would like to see implemented such as new buildings and businesses, recreation facilities, water and sewer expansion, and street improvements. I will do my best to see that Geneva gets a new community center/multipurpose facility that will be large enough to have conferences and events. It will be a facility for the entire community. We haven’t had a presentable community center for decades. I realize this is not going to happen in the next few months, but now is the time for planning.
I have a couple of challenges ahead:
First, is obviously our debt; we have several large loans which are due in the next few years.
Second, rebuild the city’s image. It’s clear to everyone that the image of Geneva has been tarnished for several years, going back to the 90’s when NAFTA came along. We haven’t fully recovered, we are still working on this problem. We have to plan ahead!
I have a STATUTORY responsibility to participate in and FOSTER activities that enhance the ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND ENVIROMENTAL wellbeing of our city and its residents. I will work tirelessly to turn things around. I KNOW MY ROLE…..AND WHEN THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT EVENTS CALLING MY NAME, I PROMISE YOU….I WILL GET MY PRIORITIES RIGHT!
As your Mayor, I will carry out my duties professionally and respectfully with the confidence that comes from years in leadership roles and with humility that comes with knowing how to be a public servant because YOU ALL matter to me.
Furthermore, there are several things that are close to my heart that is worth mentioning.
1. Seniors: This means continued access to existing services and additional services for all seniors in our city.
2. Youth: We must keep the need for employment and career opportunities for youth in our mind and discussions. (example: New Career Tech Center to be in operation by Sept. 2017)
3. Businesses: City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce needs to show support to our business owners; to retain and attract other businesses and create an environment conductive to small business development. Our economic future depends on businesses staying in business. Furthermore, I will be pursuing economic development opportunities for larger businesses to come to Geneva. After talking to our State Representatives, we will be aggressively attempting to connect with our Congressmen and U.S. Senators to four lane highway 167 from the Florida line to Enterprise to Montgomery.
4. Tourism and Recreation: Fowler Park is a GEM nestled right in our city although it is extremely underutilized. My vision is to have a place where people can meet, host family picnics, have a nature trail and rent canoes for adventure trips on the creeks and rivers. We have the opportunity of a lifetime to expand our natural resources through certain GRANTS.
5. Infrastructure: Roads, sidewalks, and water and sewage system; we have a plan in action as we speak to work on these projects. We have many roads in need of paving and resurfacing and sections of sidewalks that need to be replaced but it will take money and it will take time.
TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS, I WILL ASSURE the City Council has all of the information required to make decisions on the future of our drainage and sewer projects. RESPONSIBILE FINANCIAL LEADERSHIP will be established for ensuring transparency and proper deliberate stewardship over public funds. The City Council and I will work together as a team and make decisions together. There will be shared responsibility with full transparency. Public trust is the underlying principle upon which public office is based. I believe that government and elected officials are obligated to advance the public interest, not the private interest. Under my leadership the City Council will implement a plan that will raise the bar for the Mayor, Councilmen, and all City staff that meets the need for transparency and the expectations of community, business operators, and visitors to Geneva, Alabama.
March 24, 2017
TO THE CITIZENS OF GENEVA, ALABAMA
As your Mayor, I would like to address a few concerns to our Facebook patrons. First, I would like to thank Councilman Brad Weeks for sharing information and facts about several complaints. At the Monday night Council meeting an issue of waste water disposal was brought to the attention of the Council and we discussed the matter in an open room meeting (now, I wish we had gone in executive session and discussed the issue, that is my fault). Our wonderful WTVY media posted a photo of a toilet and made it sound like we were infested with people without indoor plumbing. This really made me sick to my stomach. So, please let me try and explain several of our issues that have made it to Facebook.
Issue # 1 I can assure you there is not one house in our city that does not have indoor plumbing. The fact is, there are individuals that live in a home located in Geneva that have decided they do not have to pay their water or garbage bill which has resulted in their services being cut off thereby creating unsanitary conditions. With that said, it is the responsibility of City authorities to remedy the problem. The procedure for this is to bring the accused to face the Magistrate and discuss, under oath, the reason why they have not had active service since December 2016. It's not because they are poor and don’t have the money. They receive a monthly check from our government (your taxes) to live on. We are not talking about the elderly or disabled. To answer the question of whether we have an ordinance concerning sewage disposal, of course we do. I can't believe that some of our Facebook patrons would even ask such a question. The problem with our ordinance is there needs to be some added language that would put some "teeth" into the ordinance, therefore, causing the violators much more heartache than just a slap on the wrist. This amended ordinance will be in effect in a couple of weeks. Until then we will be acting under our old ordinance.
Please know that the following Alabama codes are the ones that we work under. Title 11-50-55,11-53-2, 22-26-4. Any person violating these ordinances shall be arrested and brought before a certified Magistrate and answer to the complaints made by the City of Geneva. Why anyone would violate such codes is beyond me (just saying).
Issue # 2 Derelict and abandoned houses and property: Over the past several years our city has acquired several old houses that are empty and dilapidated and why something hasn't happened sooner is a shame. These old houses only bring the crime to a higher rate because thugs and outlaws are always looking for a place to hide and do their illicit drug dealings. I took office on November 7, 2016, and one of my first orders of business was to identify these old houses and make sure that they are up to code or either torn down and cleaned up. Again, there is a process that has to be followed. We have already seen two of the houses torn down and the property cleaned up. There are many more yet to deal with and I promise you they will be dealt with by the procedures of law. To answer the question concerning the ordinance, please be advised that we fall under the Code of Alabama 11-53-2. Sooner or later these little thugs won't have a place to hide. Hang in here with me people, we will prevail.
Issue #3 It was said on Facebook, that if a street number was placed on the curb or within the city right of way, that it was the city's responsibility. This is completely false. Let me site you the law where you can understand it. Ordinance number 97-06-05 City of Geneva: establishes regulations for naming of streets, roads, and designation of property addresses within the incorporated areas of the City of Geneva, Alabama. Section two (2) paragraph eight (8) states that no owner or person in control of any residential building shall fail to have posted on said premises, the street number so that it can be easily seen from the street. The size of the numbers shall be no smaller than three and one half inches (3 1/2 inches) in height. Posting of addresses on residential buildings that are located more than 200 feet shall be by means of a mail box as required by the United Postal Service. The violation of this ordinance is punishable by fine up to $200.00.
The City of Geneva has more than half of its residents that are not in compliance with this ordinance. Believe me people, this is an ordinance that needs to be adhered to. This ordinance is for your safety and well being. I know, because when I was the Chief of Police and had to answer emergency calls to certain street addresses, there were times that it was a matter of life or death. We would get a call to a specific street address where someone had a heart attack and subsequently show up on that street only to find there were no street numbers anywhere. Time is of most importance during an emergency. I ask each resident to please put your street number where it can be seen easily.
In closing this entire matter, I would like to comment on a few things of a personal nature. In the years of being a public servant, I can strongly say this surge of negativity is not normal for our community. I'm personally calling on our Facebook patrons to understand that things are not as bad as they seem. I'm calling for a more civil discussion on issues concerning our City. We all need to take responsibility for changing the public discourse of our City issues. As a county, state, and community we need more unity and less divide. I've always thought that kindness is always its own reward.
Many of those saying derogatory things about our City are uninformed and only expressing their thoughts and concerns. That’s okay. In my 42 years of public service I have certainly had my share of complaints. I've read some heated e-mails, I've been called a plethora of names, and yes, I know that comes with the job, but, most of the time I have been blessed to be the recipient of kindness and good will. Even in the face of strong disagreement, we usually come together with civility to work out our differences; but recently, I have noticed that the tide seems to be turning in public dialogue. In the last month, I've heard accusations and disparaging comments of a very different nature than previous public dialogue. Engagement on all platforms from social media to civic meetings are more sarcastic, biting, impatient, rude, aggressive and often all too personal. All I ask, is please tone it down a bit.
If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to call on me at any time.
Frankie Lindsey, Mayor
February 3, 2017
TO THE CITIZENS OF GENEVA, ALABAMA:
I want to thank you for your concerns about the condition of our city (cleanness and abandoned buildings). Please be advised that I have only been in the Mayor’s office for two and a half months (2½). I feel your frustration and concerns and I am totally committed to fixing the problem. The problem at hand did not start two months ago. This is a problem that has been neglected for years.
I can’t legislate morality even though I wish I could, but I can do something about derelict and abandoned property. There is a process that has to be followed and I intend to follow that process. It takes time and I promise you I will follow-up on the properties that are identified. One of the current problems/obstacles we have in our process is locating the current property owners, many which live out of state.
Derelict houses and other types of vacant and abandoned properties are among the most visible outward signs of a community’s reversing fortunes. Properties that have turned from productive use to disuse are throughout our city. Their association with crime, increased risk to health and welfare, plunging property values, and escalating municipal cost make them a problem for our city, therefore contributing to overall community decline and disinvestment.
The message to the offenders is a simple message. “If one is going to hold vacant, non-code- compliant property, there will be a cost and other consequences”. Abandoned property owners will be put on notice that the city is fully prepared to pursue a remedy to ensure that owners rehabilitate offending property.
In an effort to streamline the process of identifying and citing nuisance properties, we have moved this responsibility to the police department. Officer Ryan Moore has recently been assigned as the full-time officer to oversee the nuisance process.
I hope this letter gives you some type of assurance that the problems we have in Geneva will be attended to and if I can ever be of any assistance to you or your families, please do not hesitate to call on me at any time.
FYI, please be advised that we are working on several projects that will enhance the beauty of our city. I will give you more information on these projects as soon as I can.
Mayor Frankie Lindsey