Boat Race Anchors

500-lb. anchors like this one will be placed in Browns Creek permanently. They're used to anchor the buoys for the HydroFest boat races. 

The Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau is spending $24,800 to install permanent anchors on the bottom of Browns Creek for the buoys that mark the course for the HydroFest boat race course. 

The City Council approved spending $10,000 from the city's tourism fund towards the permanent anchors. 

Last year, buckets filled with concrete were used to anchor the buoys. There was at least one problem with that system. A strong wind came up and some of the large buoys ended up against the Warrenton Causeway. 

Councilman Dink Myers, who serves as the chairman of the boat races, said the permanent anchors will be a great improvement and they will be there year after year. 

"There are 40 of these anchors," Myers said. 

Although he explained in the Council work session what they were trying to do, he was careful to abstain from the vote on spending the money due to his relationship with the CVB. 

There were questions in the work session concerning the anchors. 

"Do we know that HydroFest is going to be an ongoing thing?" Councilman Randy Whitaker asked. "We had boat races for a lot of years and then we didn't have them for a lot of years."

He also asked if the course would always stay the same. 

"These anchors will be on the bottom of the lake forever," Myers said. 

The anchors are made of concrete with a stainless steel hook, he said, and weigh 500 pounds apiece. 

"The anchors are not that expensive," Mayor Leigh Dollar said. "Setting them is."

The anchors will have floats 12 to 18 inches off the bottom for divers to hook lines to for the buoys, Myers said. 

He said the course will always be the same and he indicated HydroFest is likely to be an annual event into the future. 

Dollar said the city had not spent as much on HydroFest this year as it did last year since many of the infrastructure needs were taken care of last year. 

In the regular meeting, Councilman Phil Kelley made a motion for the city to pay $10,000 towards the anchors. Whitaker seconded. 

It passed 7-0 with Myers abstaining. 


The Council approved changing the drainage easements on John Gartrell's property on Signal Point Road. 

The gist of the discussion was that there were easements on either side of his lot. He wanted to combine the easements into one on only one side of the lot.

The new easement will be 20-feet wide and will be in the location of an existing city drainage pipe. 

"We could get equipment in there and work on it if we ever had a problem," city attorney Dan Warnes said. 

"I assume it's a prescriptive easement now?" Dollar said. 

Warnes said that was correct.

Whitaker made a motion to approve the change to the easement. Kelley seconded. It passed unanimously. 

Franco Approved

The Council formally approved hiring Ryan Franco as a new city firefighter. 

He's the young man who just completed the public safety program at Marshall Technilcal School. The program, led by former fire medic, police officer and assistant coroner Martin Killion, covers fire service, EMT service and police work. 

Franco is the first student to finish the program and go straight to work in the fire service. He will have to go to the State Fire Academy. 

Councilman Rudy Cornelius made a motion to approve Franco's hiring. Councilman Sanchez Watkins seconded. It passed unanimously.

In the work session before the meeting, Dollar said Franco will be the city's first bilingual firefighter.

Alcohol License

No one spoke for or against an alcoholic beverage license for Lake and River Fun, the new excursion boat operating in Guntersville. 

In the work session, City Clerk Betty Jones said there was a problem earlier with the address on the application. The boat operators, Mark Mills and Brenda Owens, live at Honeycomb, which has a Grant address. Their boat is based at Guntersville Marina on Signal Point Road.

"I saw the address and I wondered if we'd started issuing alcohol licenses in Grant," Whitaker said with a grin.

Jones said the new address on the applications is "Marina Lane, Guntersville, Wet Slip A101."

It's thought the Owenses will have the first alcohol license ever in the city for use exclusively on the lake. 

 Councilman Dink Myers made a motion to approve the license. Watkins seconded. It passed 7-0, with Whitaker abstaining as he customarily does on alcohol licenses.

Other Business

  • Before leading the invocation, Whitaker asked for a moment of silence for the municipal workers killed in the Virginia Beach mass shooting as well as for those suffering from flood and tornado damage in the Midwest.
  • A public hearing for an off-premise beer and wine license for Perry's Grocery was put off until June 17. The store had not completed its legal advertising for the hearing by Monday night.
  • A tourism funds request by the Downtown Merchants Association was put off because the tourism committee has not had a chance to meet. Board appointments were also put off.  



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