Demopolis City Council approves tax abatement, discusses drainage issues

Published 1:36 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

The Demopolis City Council approved several items on its agenda at the April 21 meeting.

The Council approved the rezoning of the property at 1619 Hwy. 80 W from B-3 Community Business to B4-C General Business. A fireworks stand currently stands on the property, and the owners want to build storage units on the site.

With the rezoning approved, the owners will have to get a construction permit from the city before they can start building the units.

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Rowley Recycling received approval from the Council for a tax abatement on the purchase of $1 million in new equipment. The equipment in question is a hammermill, a large shredding machine, that is one of the largest in the country according to Kirk Stephens of the Industrial Development Board.

Mayor Woody Collins said that Rowley wants to construct a three lane entrance to the facility to accommodate for increased traffic. Collins said the city will work out deeding the property for the new lanes, and Rowley will pave the roads. Rowley expects to hire around four new employees within the first year with an added payroll of $250,000.

Two companies put in bids on leasing golf carts to the SportsPlex. The Park and Recreation Board sent in a recommendation for Yamaha Golf Cart Company at an annual price of $678 per cart. The bid was for 25 golf carts.

Josh Weeks, who lives at 1606 Maria Avenue, approached the Council to discuss a problem with flooding due to a collapsed pipe beneath his driveway, and a clogged drainage line across from Maria Avenue.

Collins said that the city would provide the labor needed to replace the pipe, but that Weeks would be responsible for purchasing the culvert. Weeks would also have to purchase any head-and-tail walls if he wanted to include them. Weeks agreed to this solution.

Collins also reported that the clogged drainage pipe has been cleaned out. However, a problem still exists with flooding because once the water crosses onto private properties, there is no defined run-off path. Collins said the city will work with the property owners to find a solution.

Also under the topic of drainage, Councilman Charles Jones Jr. requested that Project Director Mike Baker inspect sewer lines at Ash and Front streets. Jones said that “sewage is flowing down the street” due to recent heavy rains. The flooding is damaging homes along the route and is making them uninhabitable.

Under Council Discussion, Councilman David McCants discussed speed limits along U.S. Hwy 80. He cited a speed switch from 35 mph to 45 mph then back to 35 mph. He said that fire trucks have trouble leaving the station because of the speed of traffic. Collins said the speed limits are set by the state, but that the city could make recommendations for a more consistent speed limit.

The Demopolis City Council meets on the first and third Thursday of every month at 5:15 p.m. The work session begins at 4:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend.