The Alto City Council meeting included a full agenda Monday night, but nothing was bigger than the city’s discussion to hire Ashley Judd as the new city administrator of Alto, replacing current City Administrator Billy Clemons.

“I accepted a better job offer with more job security. It’s a bigger town with a bigger organization and more responsibility,” Clemons said. “I’m going to the town of Caldwell in Burleson County — it’s a little bigger town than Alto is and has a little more going on.”

In March, the City of Alto offered Clemons a three-year contract to continue as city administrator. According to Clemons, Alto has withdrawn the contract, allowing him to sign elsewhere.

Clemons had served as Alto’s administrator for 14 months and had been Mayor of Groveton for five years prior to that.

“During my time in Groveton we didn’t have a city administrator there, so I got a lot of financial management and city administration experience there,” he said.

Clemons said that while he enjoyed his time in Alto, he feels that now is a good time to leave and start over in a new place.

“I grew up in Wells, which has always been very similar to Alto, and this has been a second home to me, so I will miss it quite a bit. I think Alto has a lot to offer, and it has a history of being a busy little, progressive town with active people, and I just hate to see the town not be that,” Clemons said. “If these little towns are going to save themselves they need to bite the bullet and spend the necessary money to improve the city. Alto has aging infrastructure that the people of Alto will need to decide whether they want to improve things or just leave them as they are.”

Judd’s first day on the job is Friday Aug. 18.

“Ashley was already here as a consultant, and she is an expert on the software that we use and she is a qualified accountant,” Clemons said.

Judd said the process of being hired went very quickly for her.

“It was a fairly quick decision, I had been brought in to do financial work for the city and because of my knowledge of the city’s system they thought I would be a good replacement,” Judd said.

Clemons believes that Judd will do a fine job once he leaves.

“I think she is going to do real good, she is very knowledgeable on the software that we use, and she has also had a lot of accounting and computer science training,” Clemons said. “She is a lot more knowledgeable on accounting than I am, and she is much better on a computer than I am, so I think, all in all, she may well work out better than I did.”

In other news, the Alto City Council decided:

• to prohibit the use of Jake brakes within the city limits;

• to designate residential rent property as a separate class for utility billing;

• to pay Chief Charles Barron part of his owed time;

The council decided to table several items including:

• a policy that would require Alto volunteer firefighters to report their income and expenses during the budget process;

• a policy on employees driving city vehicles home;

• a policy to use people doing community service to pick up litter.

The Alto City Council did not address every item on the agenda at Monday’s meeting and decided to hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. next Monday, Aug. 21 to address the rest of the agenda, including discussion of next year’s budget.

Alto City Council regularly meets at 6 p.m. the second Monday of the month in the City Hall building.

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