County approves Love's agreement
by Will Heath
Dec 27, 2012 | 2945 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ASHVILLE — The St. Clair County Commission approved a development agreement that will bring another travel center to the Moody area, while making plans for the revenue from those centers, as well.
The commission approved the development agreement that will bring Love’s Travel Center to Exit 147 on Interstate 20, on the opposite side of the Valero Travel Center that was already approved, at its regular meeting Dec. 20. The Moody City Council approved the agreement at its regular meeting Dec. 17.
“We started out trying to get one travel center and we wound up with two,” Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said.
The agreement calls for the county to rebate one-half of 1 cent of its sales tax revenue derived from the center, with the total not to exceed $433,333, or 15 years. Moody has pledged to rebate 1 cent of its 3-cent tax on diesel fuel, for its part (the city raised its diesel tax from 1 cent to 3 cents earlier this month).
The total amount the center should receive in rebates will not exceed $1.99 million.
“Mayor Lee and his council saw that the Brompton exit was underdeveloped and hundreds of thousands of dollars were driving by on a daily basis,” said Don Smith, executive director of the county’s Economic Development Council. “ This is a good example of a community taking a proactive approach in controlling its destiny. These two projects will have an immediate tax generation impact, for not only the City, but also the County and St. Clair school systems.  
“As we witnessed in Steele, it will also create additional car counts that other retailers require before that will locate into a new area. As they have on a number of occasions, the County Commission has shown it is a good partner when the project provides jobs, new tax revenue, and spurs growth in the community.”
After approval of the development agreement, the commission discussed what it would do with the sales tax revenue it will be able to keep from the travel centers. Commissioner Ken Crowe, along with the Chief Financial Officer Donna Wood, said the commission could pledge its projected revenue from the Brompton centers — around $45,000 per year — to the current project at the St. Clair County Horse Arena in Odenville.
The commission and the county Park and Recreation Board have plans to upgrade the facility there, in a way that will add restrooms, bleachers, concession stands and a parking area. The total cost of these upgrades will be $700,000.
The commission voted to authorize Batemon, Crowe and a representative from the county’s Parks and Recreation Board to negotiate with Metro Bank on a $1 million loan on the board’s behalf. The purpose of the loan will be to absorb the commission’s indebtedness on the arena — around $300,000 — plus the cost of the improvements there.
As part of this, the commission will pledge the $45,000 in sales tax revenue from the two sites in Moody to offset the payments on the new loan. Batemon said those would amount to around $70,000 per year.
“It will help get the liability of running the Park and Recreation Board off the county commission,” Batemon said. “I think building all this will help us generate some activity out there. I think $35,000 is a pretty inexpensive amount to spend for us to get into the park and recreation business.”
Batemon added that he believes the improvements will allow the arena to generate revenue, rather than asking the commission for money.
“I think they’ll be able to pay their own way in the near future,” he said.
In other business, the commission:
• Authorized county engineer Dan Dahlke to send a letter to the Alabama Department of Transportation, requesting the county remain in ALDOT’s ATRIP program, which allocates state money to pave county roads.
• Approved a resolution requesting ALDOT classify Shoal Creek Valley Road as a Rural Major Collector.
• Approved Markeeta Spur Road as a federal aid project.
• Approved an agreement with J.M. Wood Auction Company, Inc., to auction off equipment that will be rotated in Fiscal Year 2013. The total amount of the contract is $214,320.
• Authorized Sheriff Terry Surles to advertise for two part-time deputy positions, to fill two vacancies.
• Authorized E-911 Director Bill Richvalsky to advertise for one full-time telecommunications operator, and four occasional telecommunications dispatcher positions.
• Approved $4,000 to program radios, per the mandate of the Federal Communications Commission.
• Authorized county property manager Harold Hoyle to transfer a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria from maintenance to the St. Clair County Airport Authority, pending the receipt of the authority’s 2000 Impala.
• Increased the county’s mileage rate from 55.5 cents to 56.5 cents for county use of a personal vehicle.
• Approved an additional line item in the Revenue Commissioner’s budget, and authorized $1,700 from a vehicle purchase to be deposited into that line item, for purchase of a new laser printer.
• Approved a resolution honoring Sharyn Jackson at her retirement.
• Awarded the bid for two Ford Escape vehicles to Town and County Ford of Pell City, for a total amount of $46,483.42.
• Renewed the contract for a Case Manager with the Jefferson-Blount-St. Clair Mental Health Authority, for $15,000.
• Renewed the county’s contract for Voiceover Internet Processing maintenance with Windstream, for $10,049.04.
• Approved the minutes of the Dec. 11 regular meeting.
• Approved payment of monthly bills, pending review by Dec. 21 at noon. 

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