LaFayette City Council authorizes AMEA agreement for meter project

Published 10:00 am Friday, February 18, 2022

At the LaFayette City Council meeting on Monday, the council voted to authorize Alabama Municipal Electric Authority to use funds to help pay for an advanced metering infrastructure project.

“What happens is each year, AMEA comes with a certain amount of millage — I don’t want to call it a guesstimate, but it kind of is — on what to charge us,” said City Clerk Louis Davidson. “And normally, they’ll over-collect for six months, and then they’ll use that credit to kind of pay toward our bill for the other six months. What this resolution does is it authorizes AMEA to use those funds to help pay for the AMI project that we’re currently working on.”

City Attorney Joseph (Mac) Tucker said it was his understanding that AMEA would use the funds to pay for new meters, which could be read remotely. He said a company called Sensus would install the meters and give the city meter-reading software.

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Davidson said the software would allow not just the city electric department to check citizens’ electric meters; it would also allow citizens to check their own usage.

“What’s basically happening is AMEA is footing the bill for the project,” Davidson said. “And then, this is one way of them being guaranteed to be paid back, which is through the funds they’re already accumulating for us.”

In other business, Davidson announced that Dr. Arturo Menefee, director of leadership development for the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, planned to hold a kickoff meeting about the Equitable Neighborhoods Initiative at the ALFA building in LaFayette on March 8 at 11 a.m. Menefee said it shouldn’t last more than about 45 minutes, according to Davidson. The mayor and council, as well as community members, are invited to participate.

The mayor and council completed the first reading of a tax adjustment ordinance.

“I was asked to prepare an ordinance to address the issue of the council concerning the sales tax, and there were some adjustments to be made within that ordinance,” Tucker said. “The previous one that was done several years back. We did a blanket, across-the-board increase on all sales tax items. This time … certain items were to have a lower rate. The primary sales tax would be, on the city’s part, I believe, 4 percent [or] 5 percent.”

He said the heavy machinery tax in the ordinance was 2 percent. An amusement tax listed as a line item was set at 5 percent.

“From my understanding, this version of the ordinance addresses that were raised the last time we brought this ordinance up,” he said. “And I believe the effective date we have on it is March 1. That will give our tax collection agencies two weeks to comply.”

Tucker suggested April 1 as a better date so businesses and tax collectors would have more time to prepare. He said the first payment of taxes would be due on May 20. He suggested amending Section 9 to update the ordinance with the new dates.

The tax ordinance will be revisited at the next council meeting on Feb. 28.

In other business at the meeting, Desiree Green was appointed to fill a vacancy for District D on the Municipal Housing Code Abatement Board.