Clanton Council discusses development

Published 12:09 pm Friday, December 21, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Development and thoughts of the future were the main agenda topics for the Clanton City Council during its Dec. 20 meeting.

The City Council unanimously approved allowing The Broadway Group to widen Gray Street on to its property as a part of a Dollar General building project. Councilwoman Mary Mell Smith was absent.

The project has been discussed at length in two Clanton Planning Commission board meetings.  The Broadway Group has also been in contact with ALDOT to ensure all of the necessary approvals and documentation will be in place before the project begins.

A vote on a joint agreement with the Chilton County Commission regarding the joint industrial park that the two governments purchased property for about three years ago was postponed until the Council can meet with the Chilton County Commission and discuss specific details. Industrial Development Board director Whitney Barlow will arrange the meeting. The agreement states that the City Council and the County Commission would equally split costs and tax revenue from the site.

“This is something that should have already been done,” Barlow said.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver said the City Council had agreed to split expenditures for the property 50/50, and this was recorded in the minutes. Just when that vote was taken was unknown.

“I’m not sure we discussed all of this,” Driver said of the agreement.

He mentioned hiring a CPA had not been initially discussed. Barlow said the CPA would be helpful to ensure that tax revenues from the site were divided according to the agreement without creating more work for a current employee.

The agreement would only apply to the 526 acres that the governments purchased jointly.

Barlow said any additional development districts the city and county wanted to create would have to be negotiated separately and be an amendment to the agreement or a part of the authorities that will be created.

Once the authorities are created, the details of the agreement between the city and county would become a part of the authorities’ bylaws.

What industries and businesses will be housed on the land has yet to be determined.

“It’s all very conceptual at this point,” Barlow said.

Driver expressed concern that they did not know who would by serving as the boards for the authorities yet.

Councilman Bobby Cook said there were aspects of the part that would need to be discussed with the Commission at a later date, but the agreement before the City Council was simply a restatement of what they had already agreed to.

The city’s attorney, John Hollis Jackson Jr., said that the equal sharing of cost for development of the property was “already a matter of law because of the fact that they own it together.”

Jackson said the agreement mentions a committee but not what authority it would have.

“They don’t really have any authority,” Barlow said. “They have to come back to the city and the county for approval.”

“That is a concern legally,” Jackson said.

Barlow said the agreement was really a show of good faith.

“We did agree to expenditures, but we never talked about profit,” Councilman Jeffery Price said.

He said “I know we would” split the profit, but did not remember it being discussed.

Also during the meeting, the City Council approved:

  • Allowing the Kiwanis Club to hold its Spring Carnival and the Chilton County Fair in the area near Goose Pond Park where it has been held for the past few years. Each event raises funds that the Kiwanis Club distributes to local nonprofit organizations, mostly focused on helping children.
  • The lowest bidder APEL Machine and Supply for a water treatment plant addition. The project will include a new reservoir.

“This is really a utility project, but I am not sure to what extent the city will have to be involved,” Driver said.

The project will be discussed by the utility board at its next meeting.

The project is projected to take two years and will cost $4.4 million. The project will be paid for as it is completed, not all at once. Driver said there is available funding to cover a portion of the project, but a slight adjustment in the water fee would likely be needed to cover the rest.

The Council also approved testing at the site to be done be TTL, a company the city currently used for these services.