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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2007
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Hartselle delegation taking agenda to Washington

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Believing there is power in numbers, a Hartselle delegation that includes the mayor and three councilmen is going to Washington, D.C., with an almost $20 million agenda.

"I think it is," Council President Kenny Thompson said when asked if it was necessary for a council majority to take the trip.

Thompson said large delegations show unity and have translated into more grants for Hartselle.

"When they see that so many people are interested in what we are doing, it improves our chances of getting grants," he said.

2005 trip

In 2005, five of the city's six elected officials took the trip, and Hartselle received a $1 million grant to help with the Alabama 36 widening project.

A council majority also went in 2006, but the trip yielded no federal grants.

"We have to keep letting them know what our needs are," Thompson said.

"That's the only way you're going to get any federal
money."

The delegation is leaving Tuesday for the three-day trip, Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

He said larger groups get better access.

"Because our delegation is so large, we get to meet with the congressmen and not just their staff members," Tankersley said.

Councilmen Mark Mizell and Samie Wiley are taking the trip, as are Morgan County Commission Chairman John Glasscock and District 2 Commissioner Ken Livingston.

Glasscock returned Wednesday from an industrial recruitment trip in Europe.

Hartselle has meetings scheduled with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile; Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville; Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville; and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa.

The city's legislative agenda is much the same as it was last year, with transportation being the top priority.

"We want to let them know once again how important the northern bypass is to our community," Tankersley said.

This four-phase project has a $15 million estimated cost and includes making Alabama 36 near Interstate 65 a four-lane road.

City leaders say this is critical to Hartselle's future because they are trying to grow commercially in the area.

Tankersley said the city has three new items on its agenda, including seeking funding for a senior citizens center.

"We're also trying to get money to replace our dispatch console and equipment in the Fire Department," he said.

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