Most often when we meet on Mondays, Mayor Ronnie has something to say about the sermon he heard the day before, or a thought that struck him from Sunday School. The title of this edition of Ronnie is not original with him, but the application is. As believers we are taught that it is our responsibility to bring forth fruit, and it is. However, have you ever thought about the fact that if you are fruitful you are asking to be eaten alive? How about being a branch? So often we poo-poo branches, but without them, there’s no fruit. And, don’t forget, if you are going to be a branch that actually brings forth fruit, you are going to have to be pruned, and pruning hurts.
“We have to be grounded in our faith if our community is going to grow well and strong,” he said, and as always I am glad that statements such as these in our town don’t bring a knock on the door of the Mayor’s office from those that would remind him of the supposed definition of “separation of church and state,” and insist that City Hall be a “faith free zone.”
After we laughed about a number of things, he told me about something that is concerning him and that is that there are several department heads who are either getting close to retirement age or are having to retire due to severe illnesses. Anyone who has followed this column knows that one of his passions is developing leaders, those who love this town and unto whom he would feel comfortable passing the baton someday.
He then mentioned Lineman Appreciation Day, which is officially recognized in Alabama as the first Monday of each June. Mayor Ronnie is continually expressing gratitude for the hard work that linemen and all utility workers do, especially after storms, and considers them to be first responders. They have done an amazing job as part of the ongoing effort of dealing with $4.5 million dollars of damage from the April storms. “Disasters either pull you together, or pull you apart,” he said, “and in our case, it has pulled us together.”
He wanted me to be sure to mention that by June 27th, all storm related debris must be brought to the side of the road, and metal must be separated from wood. FEMA will pick up about 80% of the tab, but there is both a protocol as well as a window of time that must be followed or the city will be eating the cost.
This fiscal year is ending and the new one is beginning, “and it’s time to work on budgets and plan ahead,” he said. “One of the things we are going to have to look at is the construction of 3 new substations at a cost of 3 to 3.5 million dollars in order to handle the growth occurring in our city and county,” he added. As was recently mentioned, Limestone County is the 65th most rapidly growing county in the nation, and we need to handle that challenge well.
What does that look like? Being a tree that is grounded in faith, a branch which provides shade and shelter, or fruit that provides sustenance, all are necessary to build a community, and the goal of doing that well is one of the things that makes Ronnie roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner