A craft brewing company in Huntsville got one step closer to realization Monday night when the Huntsville City Council extended the lease on the Basham building from three to five and one-half years.

The lease is between the city and PBH Basham LLC from Oklahoma, which plans to sub-lease the building to Jesse and Ashlyn Gagnon. The Gagnons presented their plans for a craft brewery and taproom to the council last month.

Guy de Verges, PBH Basham manager, explained that the couple needs to be guaranteed at least five and one-half years in the location to allow their business to get started and grow.

The lease addendum also stipulates that not less than $40,000 in capital improvements will be made to the building by PBH Basham by Dec. 31, 2020.

The council agreed that the entire building will be leased under this agreement. Currently, part of the building is being used for storage for the city, but that 1,660 square feet will be added to the leased area, as requested by PBH Basham.

“At the next (city council) meeting, a Fayetteville architectural firm will present a plan for the future development of the Basham building and the Huntsville square. It will be pretty cool,” de Verges told the group.

The third reading of the ordinance to change the city  animal code was tabled. The ordinance states in part that “unclaimed animals found running at large will be retained for a minimum of 72 hours before transferring to another facility.”

After lengthy debate earlier this year, the council voted to construct a shelter to hold these animals on the new industrial park land. Councilor Debra Shinn moved to table the reading until grants to help pay for the estimated $20,000 building project can be pursued.

The motion passed with Councilors Shinn, Niki Rowland, Scott Thomas, Roger Eoff and Rion Mosley voting for and Councilors Stephen Ford and Pat Grubbs voting against.

Economic Development Commission Director Nancy Marsh showed the councilors the designs by the two finalists chosen in the logo contest sponsored by the commission. She suggested that one be used as a mural, and the other as a branding and marketing tool.

City Attorney Rusty Cain explained that whatever the city chooses to do or not do with the logo has to be adopted by the council.

Councilors expressed interest in the new designs, which will either replace or be used in conjunction with the current logo, created in the 1970s. They requested that Marsh ask the designer to add “City of Huntsville” to the logo so that they can make a decision at the December meeting.

The ordinance to raise water rates 5 cents per 1,000 gallons and sewer rates 3 cents per 1,000 gallons was moved to the third reading. The raise will cover the additional costs of Madison County Regional Water’s upcoming rate increase to the city. If passed next month,  the new rates would become effective in January 2020.

Police Chief Todd Thomas reported that through the end of October, the department has had 73 canine deployments for the year.

“Some big cities like Springdale and Fayetteville don’t have that many. I’m proud that we do. A lot of them are pro-active, not reactive,” he explained.

In other reports:

•    Street Department Director Josh Murr told councilors that new LED lights were installed in all the street lights on the square, and Christmas lights have been hung.

•    Water Department Assistant Director Sean Davis reported that all grant opportunities on construction of the new water tank have been exhausted, and the department is pursuing a loan. He said that they do not anticipate a rate increase, however. They hope to start construction in 2020.

•    Fire Department representative Jarred Rogers reported that October was the second busiest month of this year for the department. Eighteen firefighters are now on the roster, and more are urgently needed.

• Mayor Darrell Trahan told the group that the city is finalizing plans for the driveway at the industrial park, and bids will be taken soon.

•    City Clerk Janice Smith reported that the 2018 audit is complete. She said that the budget for this year “looks good.”

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