City approves West Fraser tax abatement

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By Alison James

Associate Editor

With councilmembers Patsy Jones and Larry Gray absent – having accompanied retired CSM Bennie Adkins to Washington, D.C. – motions and seconds passed back and forth between Councilman Dozier Smith T and Councilman David Canon for an efficient 20-minute city council meeting Tuesday.

The council approved certain tax abatements and exemptions for the forestry company West Fraser, which will soon be expanding in Opelika –with “plans to purchase, acquire and install approximately $12,655,000 worth of new building additions and improvements, new manufacturing machinery, equipment and other new personal property,” according to the resolution approved by the council.

“They have an incentive right now … but it’s about to expire,” said President Eddie Smith. “They’re going to spend about 12 million dollars in capital for an expansion, which is good because it means they’re going to be here for a while.”

The council also approved resolutions to eliminate positions of corporal in the Opelika Police Department and to promote corporals to sergeants, as well as to increase pay grades for OPD officers.

“We have taken action to retain our police officers … (and) level the playing field as far compensation,” Smith said.

– held four public hearings and approved motions in regards to setting the costs for four demolitions.

– presented a resolution for POW/MIA Recognition Day.

– Dr. Bill Whatley was reappointed to the Opelika Housing Authority.

– approved purchases of equipment for the fire department and Opelika Power Services.

– granted a special use permit for Verizon at 900 Priester Road.

– created a new position of Accountant.

– reserved current year balance in Council discretionary accounts.

– approved the city’s budget from fiscal year 2014-2015.

– reappointed Raymond Williams and Brian Kriel to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

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