Demopolis seeks AG opinion on abatements

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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The City of Demopolis will be seeking an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office regarding the ability of the city’s Industrial Development Board to abate property taxes.

Mayor John Laney said during a council meeting Thursday that the DIDB was created at a time when those boards were required to receive city approval for abatements. Since then, he said, the state has allowed for industrial development “authorities” to abate property taxes.

“[Our IDB] was never created as an authority, so it raises the question of whether they can abate taxes,” Laney said. “Should the answer from the attorney general be ‘no,’ we would have the option to become an authority.”

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Laney said the IDB has provided abatements in the past and that seeking the AG opinion is a matter of “housekeeping.”

“We just want to make sure the way things are being done is correct,” he said.

The council approved to seek the AG opinion on the matter.

Other items discussed at the meeting included the following.

• The council approved to move forward with a payment of $1.048 million to the Alabama Department of Transportation as the city’s portion for the repair and replacement of two bridges on Jackson Street. The council approved the means of payment at a previous meeting, using funds tome the 7&4-cent gas tax fund, capital projects funds, as well as funds provided by the Marengo County Commission as their portion of the project.

• It was announced that the Alabama Rural Water Association will have crews in Demopolis soon to help identify leaks in water lines.

• Building Inspector Julius Rembert updated the council on recent activity regarding dilapidated properties, saying that a structure on Third Avenue will be added to the non-compliant list and that plans are underway to hire a contractor for demolition of a structure at 1411 Center Street.

• Approved September financials, pending an outside audit.

• Approved allowing Public Safety Director Tommie Reese to apply for two grants, one for fire department equipment and a second for a police vehicle.

• Approval of surplus property for the police, public works, and park and recreation departments.

The council voted to meet in executive session to discuss personnel matters, with the meeting to adjourn following with no additional action taken.

The next city council meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 1, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, October 20 issue of the Demopolis Times.)