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2017-02-15 / Front Page

Approves two blockbusters: three-way Travel Center agreement and financing for MBCF projects

BLOUNT COUNTY COMMISSION...
by Ron Gholson

NOTICE

A special commission meeting has been called for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 9 a.m. for action on three matters: • to consider approving job descriptions for the positions of human resources manager and payroll clerk, and to discuss advertising to fill the human resources manager position • to discuss Code of Alabama provisions affecting the possibility of giving the animal control officer authority to issue citations for failure to control dangerous pets • to set a date for a public hearing in connection with the development agreement granting tax incentives for the proposed Hayden Travel Center.

The Blount County Commission approved two actions in its business meeting Monday that Commission Chairman Chris Green said are of historic importance to the county. The first was a three-way development agreement between the commission, the town of Hayden, and High Tide Oil Inc. in connection with tax incentives for the $5 million Travel Center project proposed at the I-65/Ala160 interchange. The project will include an initial large-scale gas station, restaurant, and convenience store, with other businesses possible later on adjacent outparcels, adding significantly to the county tax base.

In general terms, it will significantly increase tax revenues for four county entities: the Blount County Commission, Hayden, the Blount County Board of Education, and the Oneonta City Board of Education. An advertised public hearing is required to comply with state law involving the granting of tax incentives to a private entity. The date and time of the hearing will be announced at a special commission meeting called for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Oneonta.

The second action was to approve a $10 million bank loan to finance the Moving Blount County Forward (MBCF) road rehabilitation program. The program involves repaving 100 miles of major and minor collector (high traffic count) roads over a three- to five-year period. The commission voted unanimously to accept the loan proposal offered by BB&T, with a fixed interest rate of 2.25 percent over a 10-year term, and total costs of $603,000 in origination fees and interest over the life of the loan. Proceeds from the MBCF 1-cent tax referendum will be used to pay off the loan.

2017 regular (non-MBCF) paving plan

Districts 3 and 4 submitted paving plans for 2017. As always with scheduled paving, plans may be affected, sometimes markedly, by unexpected weather conditions. Floods, tornadoes, or other conditions may cause destruction requiring immediate repair on a scale that prevents adherence to an advance plan like those given here. Paving plans for districts 1 and 2 will be printed when available.

District 3 paving for 2017
Frost Road
Frost Drive
Shady Lane
Jones Chapel Road
Ole Creek Road
Smith Road
Valley View Drive
Hale Creek Road
Allred Road
Joey Lane*
Sheffield Lane*
Putman Drive*

*Special projects: will be paved if sufficient additional funding is available.

District 3 total road miles paved, not counting special projects, is 10.05. Total cost is estimated at $251,948.

District 4 paving for 2017
Standridge Trail
Edgewood Road
Lanningham Road
Tadlock Trail
Center Hill Road
Allcorn Drive
Hilton Drive
Fred Walker Road
Swann Bridge Road*
Easley Bridge to County Road 33*

* Special projects: will be paved if sufficient additional funding is available.

District 4 total road miles paved, not counting special projects, is 8.6. Total cost is estimated at $194,731.

In other actions, the commission:

• authorized the county engineer, commission chairman, and legal counsel to work together to draft and issue a right-of-way permit allowing Mobilitie (communications infrastructure company) to set a pole at a site near County Road 5 and I-65 in District 1 for wireless high-speed data transmission.

• voted to accept ownership of the Blount County Mental Health and Community Services Buildings at 1002 and 1004 2nd. Avenue East in Oneonta.

• re-appointed Lester Hallman to a 5- year term on the Pine Mountain Volunteer Fire and EMS District Board.

• designated April 15-22 as Blount County PALS (People against A Littered State) Spring Cleanup week.

• voted to draft a resolution authorizing the county engineer to contact CSX Railroad regarding a side track on County Road 9 to express concern about emergency vehicle access.

• authorized District 1 to purchase a motor grader through an approved bid list for $222,480, to be financed from Fund 200 and repaid in five annual installments; if the commissioner does not return to office for another term, the debt would be paid in full.

• approved purchase of an 8-megabyte server for CIMS (Construction Information Management System) implementation for $1,945, to be paid from Fund 111-53100.

• voted to reimburse District 3 budget approximately $33,000 for placement of pipes on County Road 39 as part of the federally-funded resurfacing project.

• voted to designate $300,000 from 1- cent fuel tax fund to cover cost of crosspipes for 2017 MBCF projects; repay as soon as possible from other underspent funds.

Engineering items

At the county engineer’s recommendation, the commission:

• authorized the engineer to contract with Applied Technical Services, Inc. for rope access inspection of covered bridges at cost of $7,800.

• authorized the engineer to bid construction components (“pay items”) necessary to draft contracts for MBCF 2017 paving projects.

Quorum and future meetings

All commissioners and the commission chairman were present at the Monday business meeting. The next scheduled work session is Thursday, March 9, at 9 a.m. The next regular business meeting is Monday, March 13, at 9 a.m. A special commission meeting has been set for Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. to address three items of business (see Notice). All three meetings are in the commission boardroom at the courthouse in Oneonta.

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