Commission approves wastewater/sewage business agreement with Hayneville

Published 7:57 pm Friday, December 16, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County Commission held a special called meeting Friday at which it unanimously approved a wastewater/sewer business agreement with the town of Hanyneville in connection with a Love’s Travels Stops and Country Stores project in the Hope Hull area of Lowndes County and unanimously approved an agreement for the resurfacing of Lowndes County Road 79.

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The commission failed to take action, however, on a suggestion from Commissioner Robert Harris to meet with Tax Collector Roslyn Smith and employees over salary issues.

Smith recently approved before the commission to ask why some employees got raises and other did not. And Commission Chairman Carnell McAlpine assured Smith at that time that she would get an answer.

County Attorney Hank Sanders said the wastewater/sewage business agreement with Hayneville was arrived at “after numerous efforts of negotiation.”

According to a copy of the agreement, the county will pay the town of Hayneville 8.75 percent of the county’s sales tax in a coverage area on businesses established after Dec. 1, 2016 excluding sales taxes designated for the Lowndes County Board of Education.

The coverage area includes an area where businesses are or will be located near the area of the intersection of Lowndes County Road 6 and U.S. Interstate 65 in Lowndes County which receive sewage/wastewater service from the town. And it is understood that the specific area is located east of U.S. Interstate 65 along Lowndes County Road 6.

According to the agreement, “Whereas neither the county nor the town recognize the legal rights of Pintlala Water System to provide water services to certain business customers in the coverage area, but time is of the essence and to avoid potential litigation, the town and Pintlala Water System have entered or will entered into a separate agreement of understanding concerning potable water supply in the coverage area.

Sanders said the agreement would apply to Love’s Truck Stop (Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores) an apply to any other business that comes after Dec. 1, 2016. And the county will provide the town of Hayneville a percentage of its taxes on those particular businesses at 8.75 percent for 25 years with adjustments every five years based on inflation.

He stressed that the 8.75 percent applied to only businesses on the east side of Interstate 65.

He also said, “Any previous agreement dealing with water and sewage is basically abolished.”

He also clarified that the (gross) sales tax from which the town of Hayneville will get 8.5 percent includes the gasoline tax.

Hayneville Mayor David Daniel said he would have like to have gotten more for the town. But while he was not overly pleased, he was somewhat satisfied that the agreement with the county went up from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent. He said the council agreed to the agreement pending a council retroactive vote the second Monday night in January.

County Engineer David Butts said the resurfacing project for Lowndes County Road 79 has been bid for $374,768.61 with county’s portion coming to $74,953.72 with Wiregrass Construction being the lowest bid.

The matter came up Friday because of Dec. 28 deadline to accept the low bid and send the county’s portion to the state.

County Administrator Jackie Thomas said, “I’m happy to say that we do have the money in that account, which is the petroleum account.”

Harris said the commission received a letter from the tax collector requested a meeting dealing with compensation with the tax collector. He also said some employees wanted to meet as well.

“So, my suggestion is that we meet… we hear what they have to say…. So, I think it is incumbent upon us to hear what they have to say and try to address the issue before the circumstances get worse than what they are.”

He said, “So, I’m asking that this commission to meet on the 27th of December so that we can hear complaints from the employees and the tax collector dealing with compensation here at the county level.”

Sanders said he would not be able to attend. And Thomas said she would not be back from Texas. Commission Chairman Carnell McAlpine and Commissioner Dickson Farrior said they also would not be able to meet.

Harris said the commission was supposed to meet on the 26 of December and that he was asking to meet a day later.

Commissioner Dickson Farrior made a motion to adjourn.

Commissioner Joseph Barganier suggested that a letter be sent asking the tax collector to reschedule.

But when Harris asked if there were any other dates available until the fourth Monday night in January, he did not receive an answer.

Farrior’s motion to adjourn was seconded and approved with all in favor but Harris, who did not vote nor abstain.

After the meeting Harris said the commission did what Farrior wanted them to do. He said he made a motion to meet that was seconded by Commissioner Joshua Simmons, but McAlpine carried the motion to adjourn that Farrior made. “So, he’s (McAlpine) following the suit… whatever Dickson Farrior tells him to do that’s what he does.”

Harris said, “We’ve got a potential lawsuit that’s going to hit us and they don’t even want to meet to address it to possibly keep it from happening. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Thomas confirmed to the Signal there was not a motion by Harris and second.