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John Soules Foods delayed

VALLEY — Mayor Leonard Riley talked about a delay that has come up in the John Soules project at Monday’s meeting of the Valley City Council.

Due to a problem that has emerged at the company’s main plant in Tyler, Texas, the construction work that was expected to get under way in Valley this June has been pushed back to January 2019.

The building is now vacant and work has been taking place inside the building in recent days. That will continue uninterrupted.

Contractors working for John Soules Foods have been taking out old wiring and other necessary steps in preparation to bring in the equipment that will be needed in the new plant.

“There will be a six months’ delay in their start up,” the mayor said. “This will delay the construction they need to do to next January,” Riley said. “The problem is with their plant in Texas, where they have a major investment.”

Once construction starts on the Valley plant, it will take an estimated 18 months for production to get under way. The six month delay should push the startup date to the middle of the year 2020.

John Soules Foods has a major commitment to being in Valley. They own the building off Towel Avenue, they have hired a security firm to monitor it and lots of work is going on inside it.

The delay isn’t all bad.

“It gives us more time to apply for the grants we need,” Riley said.

Those grants would cover the cost of some infrastructure needs. The new plant will be using lots of water. There’s an abundance of that due to Valley’s proximity to the Chattahoochee River, but some new construction will be needed to handle the wastewater leaving the plant.

In other business at the Monday meeting, John Boles of Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith LLC was there to discuss the newly completed audit for 2017. It’s unqualified with no findings – the best review possible. It shows that the city has $17 million in long-term debt and $35 million in assets.

“We like working for the City of Valley,” Boles said, making the point that it’s easier to audit an organization that does things the right way rather than an entity that has problems.

Riley thanked Treasurer Kathy Snowden and the city hall staff on having done good work in providing the auditors with what they needed.

“It allowed them to get through more quickly,” he said.

A potential problem in the future could be the number of retirements the city has. It’s been growing steadily in recent years. Right now there are 126 people in the city’s retirement system.

The council approved a five item consent agenda. This included the adoption of Title VI programs for the Valley Senior Center and Valley Parks & Recreation, declaring some unneeded items from the Public Works Department surplus, vacating an unused portion of 57th Street and authorizing a sales tax holiday for the third week in July.

In the regular agenda, the council unanimously approved a bid from the Henry Hudson Company to demolish River View gym. This will be done for $48,500. It’s expected to cost $45,000 to bring down the building and $3,500 for dirt to fill in the site.

“That’s a pretty good price to do this,” said the mayor.

The council suspended the rules and adopted on first readings two ordinances. One of them rezones property on 40th Street to R-6; the other rezones property on Huguley Road from R3 to C2, The first request was made by Chris and Denise Clark and involves some property that was recently annexed into the city. The second
request involves property owned by Ward Funeral Home,

The mayor called for a public hearing to take place on Monday, April 9 to rezone two properties located on Mapp Road and 404 Boulevard.