Clanton council discusses recruiting business

Published 7:15 pm Monday, February 25, 2013

The Clanton City Council discussed efforts to attract businesses at its meeting Monday.

The lengthy discussion at the end of the meeting was a contrast to the rest of the meeting, where measures were approved unanimously with no dissension.

Councilmember Greg DeJarnett brought up the topic, asking what the city was doing to recruit new retail and restaurants while voicing familiar concerns that the people of Chilton County shop out of town on a regular basis, paying tax money in Alabaster and Prattville, as examples, that go toward improving their roads and schools.

“There are millions and millions of dollars leaving our city,” DeJarnett said. “I know we can do just a little bit better. We all ran for the purpose of improving our city.”

Fellow councilmember Mary Mell Smith said residents supporting current businesses is an important part of attracting new ones.

“If we can’t get the citizens here to support what we already have, we don’t have a chance,” Smith said.

DeJarnett said he thought local restaurants are well patronized, and councilmember Jeff Price said he also thought the city’s efforts could be more proactive.

“I don’t think somebody is just going to knock on our door,” Price said.

Councilmember Bobby Cook said one hurdle is the cost of property at Clanton’s interstate exits, which he indicated is more than businesses want to pay.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver said the city offers incentives to business, such as being willing to provide water and sewer lines to locations being considered for development.

In other business, the council:

•Acknowledged an alcohol license request from Helfi’s Grill, plus approved the transition of an alcohol license to a new owner of a package store on Highway 22.

•Granted permission for the installation of gas lines along an alley between Enterprise Road and Eighth Street.

•Amended the “standard operating procedures” for the Clanton Fire Department to reflect updated wording and extending the length of call shifts by one hour.

•Heard from a resident of the West End community about the need to address unused vehicles in the area that have become eyesores, the number of vehicles parked at some residences that make it difficult for traffic to flow, and abandoned houses in the community.