Phenix City Council approves deal with Lee County Detention Center

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By Toni Stauffer

In the Phenix City Council work session on Jan 14., the council approved that Police Captain Jason Whitten will receive his badge and weapon for the sum of $1 in recognition of his service.

The council discussed entering into an agreement with Alabama and Columbia Southern University for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement, which will allow discounted tuition for employees of the Phenix City Police Department. Both resolutions were adopted in the regular session on Jan. 15.

Also in the regular session, the council voted to enter into an agreement with the Lee County Commission and Lee County Sheriff to allow for housing Municipal inmates at the Lee County Detention Center. Police Chief Ray Smith said that this will give the city more options. This is also a business decision to save money since in the work session it was said that Russell County has tripled their fees.

The council approved terms for satisfying the repayment of an Urban Development Action Grant mortgage in the name of Jimmy Lee Foster and Yoneta Sha Foster. The UDAG loan program allows low-income home buyers to take a mortgage for no money down. The UDAG mortgage payment comes due after the first mortgage on a home has been repaid, the home is refinanced, or goes into foreclosure. This particular loan had been applied in 1988. Terms of the UDAG only allow homeowners 30 days to repay the loan, but since most people don’t have $10,000 to pay instantly, the city is allowing the homeowners to repay the UDAG loan back at $300 per month for three years.

In another resolution, the council voted to accept a proposal by ADS Environmental Services for the Utility Department to provide annual maintenance and the required wireless internet connection for a price not to exceed $1,925.00.

Resolutions for the demolition of unsafe structures were adopted for the following properties in Phenix City:

3 Trafford Trail. A special assessment was filed against the property taxes in the amount of $6,469.93 to be collected by Lee County Revenue Commissioner.

1249 Pierce Road. A special assessment was filed against the property taxes in the amount of $3,530.50 to be collected by Lee County Revenue Commissioner.

301 21st Street. A special assessment was filed against the property taxes in the amount of $4,325.48 to be collected by Russell County Revenue Commissioner.

The council approved the following demolition bids:

1312 17th Court from Miles Excavating – $4,845.00

1709 48th Street from Miles Excavating – $3,225.00

1018 4th Street South from Hall Demolition – $4,900.00

1043 4th Street from Miles Excavating – $2,428.00

1045 4th Street from Miles Excavating – $2,428.00

The council approved the acquisition of right-of-way from Charles Norris, owner of Tract No. 2, in the project to replace the bridge crossing Mill Creek along Opelika Road. This project is being federally funded through the Columbus-Phenix City Metropolitan Planning Organization as well as the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).  The value of the ROW was appraised at $1,350, but Norris made a counter offer of $2,467. Since the court costs were more than the difference in value, City Attorney Jimmy Graham recommended the City take the counter offer. The owners agreed and the council voted to adopt the resolution.

The council approved a resolution to authorize certain post-issuance matters related to $9,310,000 taxable revenue bonds, series 2013-A, issued by the City of Phenix City Downtown Redevelopment Authority. The city assisted Ram Riverfront Hospitality, LLC, to secure financing at a lower interest rate to no expense to the City. The resolution is to allow a Confirmation of Letter of Credit to replace the Original Confirmation (from FHLB, Atlanta to FHLB, New York). This is for the Courtyard-Marriott Hotel.