Maplesville approves West Fraser tax abatement

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Maplesville held its monthly town council meeting on Monday, and had plenty of topics that were up for discussion with a tax abatement for West Fraser Lumber Company at the forefront.

Each member of the council was present for the meeting.

Representatives from West Fraser were the first visitors on the agenda, as they approached the council with an application to grant authority for abatement of taxes.

According to West Fraser controller Paul Davis, the reasoning for the abatement would be to further aid the company’s current expansion plan for the building of a new saw mill and the ultimate goal of increasing productivity and remaining a fixture in Maplesville.

Councilwoman Sheila Haigler brought to attention past dealings between West Fraser and the town of Maplesville.

According to Haigler, those past circumstances had created quite a mess.

“As a small town, we don’t have money to play around with,” Haigler said.

Following further discussion, councilman Richard Davis motioned to grant the abatement. Haigler seconded the motion, but under the provision that the past tax issues be cleared up before more money is asked for next year.

According to Haigler, if she is still on the council at that time, she will not approve it unless steps have been taken to fix the issues.

Janice Hull with Hull & Russell presented the council members with an audit report.

According to Hull, there was nothing that did not get corrected during the audit.

Police Chief Todd Ingram presented the police reports to the council, and Haigler questioned why officer Josh Hubbard’s mileage was much less than the other officers.

Ingram stated that he had been spending a large amount of time in court to help out current cases.

Included in the investigation report was a police pursuit that began on U.S. Highway 82 in Maplesville and continued into Bibb County where the vehicle’s tires were eventually spiked.

Officer Kenneth Casey helped make the bust and seized 14 grams of cocaine, 1 gram of crack cocaine and half an ounce of marijuana, all of which was found in a backpack within the vehicle.

Court clerk Cindy Brown read the municipal court report and councilwoman Patty Crocker asked why tickets and the amount of money brought in differed at certain points in the report.

According to Brown, it takes 45-60 days to receive the money from tickets due to the process that it must go through.

Haigler requested an accurate total cost of existing outstanding warrants.

Ingram brought to the council’s attention the issue of painting the newest police car that will be hitting the streets soon.

A discussion quickly ensued regarding the topic, with a motion by councilwoman Sheila Hall to approve the paint scheme that Ingram had presented. Crocker seconded the motion.

Mayor W.C. Hayes Jr. was the only council member to vote no and stated that all the police cars should match with the same paint scheme.

He referenced a previous decision agreed on by the council in favor of the paint schemes matching.

“Next month you’ll be doing something else,” Hayes Jr. said to the council. “That’s ridiculous.”

Fire Chief Michael Drewry reported that the fire department received nine calls, five due to medical reasons, two motor vehicle accidents and two fires (one vehicle and one residential).

In other news from the meeting:

•The council approved a three-month raise of 25 cents for street department worker Timothy Franklin effective on Feb. 9.

•$129,765.74 has been deposited for business licenses in 2016.

•Hayes Jr. received the council’s approval to sign a letter from SouthCrest Bank for authorization to release collateral pledged to the town of Maplesville by error.

•The council approved a 60-cent raise for Town Clerk Dawn Smitherman effective by the next pay period.