By Sam Poe
Monday, May 6, 2013 | 11:05 PM
The Haleyville City Council met Monday morning. The meeting began late due to the 1.5 hour public hearing regarding the development plan for the current Wal-Mart building. The plan presented by Action Properties will bring three national retailers into the building, but there are opposing viewpoints on the issue, both within the council and residents of Haleyville.
During the public hearing, the council heard ideas from several business owners in the city, and they also heard about the success Action Properties had in Hamilton, AL recently. A representative from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce stated they have been very pleased with the work completed by Action Properties, and the City of Hamilton would like to work with the company again in the future. The plan Hamilton used was very similar to the plan being considered by the Haleyville City Council. Action Properties is currently exceeding all expectations of the agreement, and representatives from Action Properties stated Haleyville is the only city where their company has ever faced opposition with development plans intended to increase industry.
It should also be noted that no money is required from the city to put the plan in place. It is the sole responsibility of Action Properties to locate and maintain businesses for the building, and they will use local companies for materials and labor when available in the remodeling of the building. If the plan is approved, Action Properties will receive a sales tax rebate for thirty percent of the income earned for seven years or $300,000, whichever is reached first. This tax rebate will not be taken from the sales tax set aside for the school system.
After a brief break, the Haleyville City Council meeting began. All members were present, and minutes were approved from the 4/15/13 meeting and the 4/19/13 work session. Next, the council unanimously approved the sale of excess personal property, including an asphalt packer and other miscellaneous construction equipment, owned by the city.
Then, the council unanimously approved a change order for improvements to the hanger at the airport. The cost will be approximately $14,000 to upgrade lighting, but grant money will be available to assist with the most of the additional costs.
Next, the council voted to accept the lowest bid for the Highway 13 drainage project extending from around Kentucky Fried Chicken to Traditions Florist. This bid will cost the city approximately $389,000, which came in slightly over budget. However, the engineer hopes to be able to cut costs once the project begins. Councilman Royce Benefield abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest.
The council then discussed the issue of the development plan for the current Wal-Mart building by Action Properties. Councilmen asked a few more questions before putting the issue up for immediate consideration. Jonathan Bennett and Royce Benefield voted no on the action, and the vote for approval of the plan will be held at the May 22 meeting. All other councilmen voted yes for immediate consideration on the plan.
After comments from the audience indicated that the times for regularly scheduled council meetings are not ideal for peak attendance by residents, the council unanimously voted to change the meeting times. Beginning June 2013, the Haleyville City Council will meet on the first and third Mondays of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Haleyville City Hall.
Finally, the council approved moving the next regularly scheduled council meeting to May 22 at 11:00 a.m. due to the mayor, a councilman, and the acting city clerk being out of town for a conference on the regularly scheduled date. It was also noted that nineteen lifeguards have been hired for the city pool for the summer, and Matthew Stanford was hired to do Fire Plug Maintenance.