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City to apply for $1M sanitation shop funding

News Staff Writer

Atmore’s City Council approved during its Monday, December 9, meeting an application for nearly $1 million in funding for a new municipal maintenance building and purchase a new garbage truck.
The council voted 4-0, with District 3’s Chris Walker abstaining, to approve an application to the United States Department of Agriculture for a loan from the USDA’s Rural Development funding program.
The abstention stems from Walker’s position as an officer of United Bank, from which the money would come.
“These funds come from the USDA, and they’re for cities or towns with less than 20,000 population,” he explained before the council vote. “They are long-term, fixed-rate loans with interest rates in the 3 percent to 3-1/2 percent range.”
Walker had explained during the council workshop preceding the meeting that the money for the building and the garbage truck would need to come from two separate loans because of the terms of financing for each.
“The truck would need to be a 4-year loan, since those trucks only last about that long,” he said, “The building can be a 5-year, 10-year or 15-year term, depending on how long the council wants to finance it.”
Walker explained that the USDA financing route would be much less expensive than a bond issue, which has numerous up-front costs. He said he would need three years of audited financial statements and an analysis of city debt.
The estimated cost of the proposed 50-feet by 136-feet metal building, along with new access drives and room for parking, for the city’s streets and sanitation department headquarters is $956,400. The cost estimate does not include relocation of utilities or landscaping.
It also includes $41,900 as contingency funds to cover cost overruns or unanticipated costs that might crop up.
City Clerk Becca Smith said the new garbage truck, which will replace one Mayor Jim Staff says, “has spent more time behind a wrecker than in front of one,” will cost “about $180,000.”
In other business, the council:
*Renewed its $2.5 million credit line at First National Bank & Trust. Staff pointed out that the figure represents the limit the city may borrow from the local lending institution.
*Adopted a new flood damage prevention ordinance.
*Adopted an ordinance regulating manufactured homes and modular structures within the city.
*Approved the letting of bids from Johnson Ford and Jason Pilger Chevrolet for six new police cars. The projected cost was included in this year’s city budget.
*Agreed to meet with representatives of Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Council and members of Pride of Atmore Committee to discuss POA’s progress with the downtown revitalization effort. The meeting is set for 3 p.m. Monday, January 13, in Atmore City Hall Auditorium.
*Approved the annual Martin Luther King holiday parade for January 20. No details were presented, as no one from the organizing committee was in attendance at the meeting.