HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Tonight was a significant Huntsville City Council meeting for more reasons than one. The council spent some time on the future of Google Fiber and who is allowed to be the next Council President, but a particular departure from the board took center stage.
Councilman Richard Showers, Sr., ended his 28 year run on City Council, Thursday night. “It has been a pleasure to have been your servant for the past 28 years," he says.
Listing his accomplishments could have taken up the entire meeting. “He has led the efforts to build the Mastin Lake overpass, the north bypass, the renovation of Council High School," says Council President Will Culver.
President Culver got emotional talking about his mentor that paved his own way to the council. “Thank you for all of the things that you have done to enhance the quality of life, not only of residents of District 1." Culver cut himself off when he began to cry.
Councilman Showers was first elected in 1988, as the first African American to occupy a seat since Reconstruction.
He lost a hard-fought re-election battle this Fall, but says he leaves with a full heart and a residual burning passion for helping others.
“To all of you, I say thank you, thank you, thank you," Showers told the crowd.
<Councilman Mark Russell>
“I believe it’s bad legislation.”
Sparks Fly Over Council President Ordinance
Pointed words were used between members on the topic of an ordinance that would put in term limits for the City Council President.
"I believe it's bad legislation," Mark Russell told the council.
“What problem are we trying to solve?" asked Councilman Jeanie Robinson.
Current President Will Culver supports the move, saying it would keep leadership fresh. “The person who serves as President has a limit of 2 years. They must come off and they can come off for one year and they can go back if the council chooses," says Culver.
The ordinance was defeated, 3-2, with Russell, Robinson, and Kling voting against it.
Google Fiber Vote Clears First Hurdle
The next step for Google Fiber to sign up customers was brought before the Council. An attorney for the city told the crowd it's just making the proposed service agreement official. “This is a franchise agreement just like any other service provider would come and request for the ability to provide services to the citizens of Huntsville," he said.
The council will officially discuss and vote on the service agreement next week.