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Valley authorizes $6M bond issue

VALLEY — On Monday, the Valley City Council authorized Mayor Leonard Riley to seek bids on a 15-year $6 million bond issue. The goal is to get a good interest rate locked in before the Federal Reserve Board meets in September. It’s possible they could raise the current prime rate at that time.

“We have a lot of projects we have to do over the next couple of years,” Riley told The Times-News. “We don’t have the exact costs right now, but most of them have to do with the industrial park or John Soules Foods. It’s important that we do this. We need more water pressure to meet the fire suppression system requirements.”

The city will be working with the East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District in getting needed water and sewer lines installed. It’s likely that a new water tank will be built in the industrial park.

Work is underway on an access road to the site where a Four Star Freightliner truck sales, repair and maintenance business is going to be built near the Lanier-Carter mill site. In July, Four Star purchased a 10-acre site from the city for $400,000 with the city being obligated to have an access road to the site.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council suspended the rules and adopted upon a first reading a 30-year franchise agreement with Alabama Power Co. to remain the electrical provider in the city. The city will receive three percent of gross sales of electrical energy each year within the city limits and 1.5 percent in the police jurisdiction.

The rules were suspended and an ordinance was unanimously adopted to annex the Chambers County Circle of Care property in Shawmut into the city limits. For years the land was inside a WestPoint Peppered industrial park, and at one time the building was a cafeteria.

Another approved ordinance sells some city-owned property on California Road in River View to Tommy T. Rogers. The land is located in the River View mill village. The purchase price was $500.

The council approved a three-year agreement with ACOM of Columbus, Ga. to provide IT services. ACOM’s bid of just under $64,000 was the lowest bid received,

The council had an extensive discussion of the continuing problem of dilapidated properties in the city. In one instance a falling-in house with people living in it is about to be torn down. The water and electricity to the house have long been turned off, and the house is the subject of frequent complaints from nearby residents on Foster Circle. The transients living there have frequently been in trouble with the law, usually on drug-related charges.

In another situation on LaFayette Street, property owners have been given 14 days to clean up an unsightly lot. According to Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley, the property had previously been cleaned up following warnings from the city but the yard once again has gotten in unsightly condition and the neighbors are complaining.

“The owners need to understand we’ll come after them every time this happens,” said City Attorney John Ben Jones.

The owners have two weeks to clean up the property on their own. Otherwise, the city will pursue a condemnation action, and the site will be cleaned up by the Public Works Department. The cost of that clean up can be imposed as a lien on the property. To keep it, the owners have to pay the city what the cleanup cost.

In addition to the Foster Circle site, the council approved declaring public nuisances and authorizing action on lots located 52nd Street, 2nd Street, California Road, Railroad Street and 67th Street.

Reid Riley described the condition of each lot. In some cases, abandoned houses had holes in the roof, collapsed roofs and in some cases, the lot was so heavily overgrown it was hard to see the house that was on it.

The council declared some city-owned property on Combs Street in Fairfax surplus with the intention to sell. The site includes the old Senior Center house and the parking lot across the street from it.

The mayor reminded citizens that the cost of cemetery lots will be going up on October 1st. They’re now $200 and will be going to $400.

“You can buy at half price right now,” he said.

The city owns cemeteries for the Shawmut, Langdale, River View and Fairfax communities plus the Fairview Cemetery and the historic Bethlehem Church Cemetery.