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Jemison Council renews Retail Strategies contract

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Jemison City Council unanimously approved renewing its contract with Retail Strategies for another year during its meeting on March 4.

Retail Strategies, a company in Birmingham, was hired last year to recruit business to the city.

The Council met in an executive session prior to the vote to discuss the terms of the agreement.

Once the Council went back into regular session, approving the contract was the final item on the agenda.

City Administrator Shannon Welch said the terms of the contract are the same as last year.

Jemison will pay the $35,000 fee to the company from revenue generated by distributor fees on alcohol.

In an interview after the meeting, Welch said the city has been pleased with the company thus far.

“We have right now someone who is actively, on the city’s behalf, going to all parts of the country to help recruit business for us,” Welch said.

He said the company would help Jemison highlight what it has to offer for future businesses. RS has existing relationships with large corporations, which the city would not have on its own.

Welch said having this recruiting resource would be especially beneficial given the expected growth in the county after a recent economic announcement.

On Feb. 26, leaders from Clanton, Chilton County Commission and ALFA announced plans to construct a multi-building farm center near Interstate 65, Exit 212. The project is expected to cost $100-$150 million and create up to 400 jobs.

Last year, the Jemison City Council chose Retail Strategies on the recommendation of an economic developer and conversations with leaders in communities that had already contracted with the company.

“We felt like they were a great fit for the city,” Welch said.

City officials are in communication with the company on a monthly basis.

“We are definitely pleased with where we are right now,” Welch said.

During the March 4 meeting, the Council also approved developing a long-term fix for surface issues on County Road 786.

Patching may be done as soon as possible after it is dry enough, but repaving the road and addressing issues with an underground spring under the road is planned.

Residents living on the road had written a petition to the Council to fix the road. Mayor Eddie Reed apologized that the issue had gone unsolved for so long.

“I think we have done some patch work to it, but the last time I had a chance to visit it was in desperate need,” Reed said.

Councilman Rex Bittle said there was an especially bad spot near the top of a hill.

“Patch work is not going to fix this,” Reed said.

Welch said because the road is short “it makes sense to do the whole thing.” A resident said the road was less than 4/10 of a mile.

“That street is probably the worst one we’ve got in the city,” Reed said.

Reed said he thought the city’s paving machine could handle the job, since it is a small road. However, the rain and cold temperatures would delay paving.

Reed also suggested looking into the right-of-way the city had on the road and looking into adding striping.

Welch said he would research how much the project would cost and what the options for the road were. He plans to present the information at the next Council meeting.