City to kick off Centennial celebration July 4

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ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The city of Robertsdale will kick off its Centennial Celebration with a series of events beginning July 4.

Members of the Centennial Committee presented the schedule of events at the City Council meeting Monday, April 5 and the council approved a budget of $50,000 for the celebration which commemorates the city’s incorporation in 1921.

“We wanted to be able to host events throughout the year that members of the entire family can come out and enjoy,” said Committee Chair Stephanie Kroll. Additional members of the committee are Karen Bill, Mary Booth, Emma Bundy, Tracy Duck, Stephen Grant, Paula Irwin, Jonathan Kitchens, Deloris Sturma, Mandy White and Ashley Wilks, along with council representatives Ruthie Campbell and Russell Johnson.

Original plans were to kick off the celebration with the annual Robertsdale High School Alumni Tea in February, but the event ended up being held virtually.

Kickoff events will be held surrounding the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration with entertainment at the park.

A car/tractor show will be held at the PZK Hall, along with a Centennial Exhibit set up inside the Hall. Snowcones and coffee will also be served.

The event will also include a coloring page contest for elementary school students, along with the introduction of the Little Miss Centennial Queen, which will be crowned on June 26.

The Little Miss Centennial Queen will be represented at various events, along with Little Miss Honeybee representatives, which will be crowned at the end of October and presented during the Honeybee Festival, which will be held Nov. 6 at Honeybee Park.

During a special ceremony held Saturday, Feb. 27 at the George P. Thames Adult Activity Center, Virginia Dawson Boseck, one of two remaining members of the Class of 1943, was crowned Robertsdale High School Alumni Association Centennial Queen and plans are to include Boseck in all Centennial events as well, Kroll said.

Additional Centennial events scheduled for the Honeybee Festival will be a chili cook-off, Centennial souvenir booth and art exhibit.

All proceeds raised during the events will go toward a Centennial Scholarship, which will be awarded to a RHS senior, Kroll said.

There are additional plans for an exhibit at this year’s Baldwin County Fair in September featuring artwork by Robertsdale High School students.

The Centennial will culminate in a pair of events scheduled for February of 2022, a parade on Feb. 19 and a Roaring 20s-themed Birthday Bash “Centennial Ball” to be held Feb. 26, which will include a DJ for dancing, dinner and a “Happy Birthday” serenade with cake.

In other business April 5, the council voted to advertise for bids to contract for storm debris removal.

The city has been operating under contract with TFR out of Austin, Texas, which was responsible for assisting city crews with debris removal in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally.

Murphy said the city has received one check from FEMA for $38,000, while total projected costs for storm debris removal from Sally are in excess of $1.8 million, of which FEMA is expected to reimburse the city more than $1.355 million. In addition, the city expects reimbursement from the state of just under $226,000, leaving a $226,000 cost to the city.

Overall, the city projects total costs from Hurricane Sally recovery of $4.7 million, of which more than $3.5 million is expected to be reimbursed from FEMA, with $591,000 from the state, with an additional $236,000 in grant reimbursement, leaving the city’s cost at around $350,000, Murphy said.

“It’s a process,” he said. “And just like any process, we are going to have to take it one step at a time.”

Mayors from all municipalities in Baldwin County met with officials at the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency with plans to meet with representatives from Gov. Kay Ivey’s office in Montgomery last week to discuss the slow rollout of FEMA reimbursement in the six months since the storm.

“Thanks to actions taken by our City Council and the ability of our city leaders to shuffle some projects around, we remain in good financial shape,” Murphy said. “The most important thing for use was to get the city back up and running as soon as possible after the storm and I want to commend our city leaders and our city crews who worked tirelessly to make that happen.”

In October, the city approved a $2 million emergency line of credit with Citizens’ Bank, but has not had to use the loan to pay any costs incurred from the storm, Murphy said.

“When the storm hit we had $2 million in cash reserves and an $800,000 surplus carried over from last year’s budget,” Murphy said. “In addition, we were able to juggle some projects around, giving the city an additional $800,000, which gave us around $3.5 million in total reserves, so overall I’d say we’re still in pretty good shape.”

Also on April 5, the council: