City invests more money for demolitions

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By Alison James
Associate Editor

Numerous demolitions will mean a pretty penny out of the city’s pockets, but city council President Eddie Smith said it will be well worth the investment.

The council Tuesday approved a resolution that will move $42,000 to the demolition account, which is intended to carry the city through the end of the fiscal year.

“Because of the larger number of houses we have approved for demolition, we had to move some more funds into that account,” Smith said. “It’s unusual to have to do that … I think the goal of the administration and the council was to abolish some of the blight in our city.”

Smith said the city originally budgeted about $35,000 for demolitions, which has been exhausted. During the meeting the council approved a bid for $27,500 for another nine residential demolitions in the city.

“The choice is to leave the houses out there that are eyesores or to move forward,” Smith said. “When they do sell or the taxes come up, the city will be able to recoup most of this money. It may take a little while, but we’ll get it back. This administration’s goal is to clean up those eyesores.”

The money will be transferred from the “Unassigned Fund” of the General Fund.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first for new Ward 3 Councilman Dozier SmithT, who was sworn at the beginning of the work session preceding the meeting.

“It was a learning experience, but I’m looking forward to it from here on out,” said SmithT, who took his new position without a formal election because a lack of competitors. “The council’s orientation really helped.”

SmithT was also unanimously appointed to the AU Airport Advisory Board, a role former Ward 3 councilman Joey Motley filled.

The council also:

– heard proclamations for Shirley Flora, the American Legion Auxiliary for “Poppy Day,” the Lion Tamers Family Fun Day and the Kilgore Scholarship winners.

– approved a temporary street closure for Memorial Day activities.

– awarded bids for a recycling trailer, a street sweeper, a trash compactor, an SUV for the police department and uniforms for the fire department.

– disposed of surplus city property.

– voted for an ordinance to amend zoning ordinance for the former Craftmaster building.

– voted for an ordinance to amend the city code, Section 19-552.

– re-appointed Walter Dorsey Sr. to the Alabama Municipal Electrical Election Committee.

– renewed contract for June Owens, Opelika Power Service manager of marketing/communications.

– approved a special appropriation of $3,000 to Main Street for Opelika Film Night.

– apporved an annual appropriation contract with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

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