City enters into lobbying agreement

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Opelika City Hall. Photo by: Robert Noles, Staff Photographer

By Rebekah Martin
Associate Editor

The Opelika City Council entered into an agreement with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP at last Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Stanley Gregory, a partner in the national law firm, will help the city craft legislation that will affect to whom Opelika Power Services can offer its fiber services.
According to Council president Eddie Smith, in last year’s legislative session led by Tom Whatley, the City of Opelika requested permission to conduct business outside of its city limits to ensure that fiber services could be accessed throughout Lee County.  The vote was struck down, but this year the city will propose a local bill.
Smith said the benefit of presenting a local bill is that it goes through a different set of legislative committees and has the support of the local delegation.
City attorney Guy Gunter explained to the council what this bill would accomplish if passed. “What we are trying to do it expand our service area for fiber products. Right now state law provides that we can serve citizens within our corporate limits, and we can also serve those individuals who are served by the utility service provided by the city,” Gunter said. “What Mr. Gregory will be doing for us is drafting legislation and presenting that to the legislature, hopefully expanding our service area throughout Lee County.”
“Hopefully we can get that out together, especially now that we can do it as a local bill,” Smith added.
The city entered into an agreement for services to be provided by Gregory at a rate of $425 per hour.
In other business, the council also:
-approved the addition of a full-time tumbling director for Opelika Parks and Recreation.
-approved the creation of a part-time Code Compliance Officer.
-approved a request from the Auburn University cycling team to hold a bike race in downtown Opelika Feb. 26.
-approved certain tax abatements for Red Clay Brewing Company, LLC
-approved a special appropriation to Opelika City Schools in the amount of $5,000 to help send the Opelika High School Theatre Society to compete nationally in Lexington, Ky.

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