Abbeville mayor explains why city officials didn’t attend community meeting

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ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WDHN) — A group of concerned Abbeville citizens has decided to come together and form a community meeting where they invite the city officials to come out and join them.

The group wants the community to come together as a whole to try and solve issues that the town is having.

“We’re trying to put together a group of people that’s concerned about the city, and that’s what we’ve done,” organizer Gregory Grimsley said. “We’ve invited the city council, mayor county commissioners. (They’re) all invited to come out and see what we’re doing.”

The group held a meeting Tuesday night where they could speak to city officials about those issues, but the only city official to go was police Chief Noel Vanlandingham.

However, Mayor Billy Helms said they were not notified of a town hall meeting.

“No councilmen knew about it, and I found out about it about an hour before the meeting,” Helms said. “So, I called certain ones and told them I can’t be there, and nobody knows about it.”

Grimsley said they don’t want these meetings to be like a council meeting, but instead, something where they can just sit down and talk.

“We want to bridge the gap between the citizens and the officials here,” Grimsley said. “You won’t be disappointed in what we’ve got going on. A lot of citizens have a lot of concerns, and we’re trying to answer all those questions for them.”

Helms said that it’s against the Sunshine Law for all of them to go to a meeting without it being publicized, and if they’re supposed to be at a meeting, they’ll be there and they’ll be there legally.

“We do pride ourselves in going to any meeting that’s legal, and any meeting we can do to help our constituents,” Helms said. “We never shun a meeting of that nature, but at the same time, we have laws.”

The group is planning to hold these meetings on the first Tuesday of every month. The next one will be Jan. 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Monica’s Crabshack.

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