By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Not long after returning to the office of Mayor of the City of Attalla, Larry Means met with Attalla merchants to talk about the city and his plans for the future.
Coming in as mayor again after serving a dozen years in the state Senate, Means made changes in some departments, among them, naming Dennis Walker as police chief and Chris Jones as public works director.
“We’ve made a few changes,” Means said. “Nobody lost their jobs. We just wanted to go in a different direction.”
Means had praise for the past administration. However, Means has plans and priorities for the city. Downtown is going to be a priority, he said.
“I’m looking forward to working with everyone,” Means said. He said he wants to work on cleaning up the city. “We want to encourage people to clean up their property.”
Means said the past administration had torn down some neglected houses – things that would have been his top priorities, too, to make the city look better.
Means said he wants to make the town an attraction not only for businesses, or for visitors and shoppers, but for people who might want to live here.”
Since Means was mayor of Attalla in the 1990s, he said, a lot of things have changed.
His experience in the intervening years have resulted in some changes as well.
He said it’s great that Alabama Sen. Phil Williams recently helped the city obtain some funding. He said his own experience as state senator will help in getting assistance when it is available.
“I’ve been the one getting begged,” Means said, “and I can do the begging, too.”
“We’re going to make sure we do everything right and by the book,” Means said. “We want everybody’s opinion. We want everyone to be involved.”
Means said he wants to keep the council informed and to know what’s going on in their districts.
He said there was a “monumental” meeting recently, with the city officials sitting down with the Attalla Board of Education, for the first time he could remember, to discuss needs in the school. Means said the city has committed to helping schools with technology needs, to ensure each school has a computer lab.
“I think it’s ridiculous for teachers and parents to have to buy paper towels,” and other basic supplies for the schools, Means said. He said there’s been discussion of setting up a fund to help with those costs in schools.
“I feel a little overwhelmed,” Means said, of returning to the mayor’s office and tackling all the duties. “I’ve not finished a cup of coffee since I started.
“I’m enjoying the heck out of it,” Means said. “I don’t want to go home,” at the end of the day.