In a meeting that lasted over two hours, the Eutaw City Council agreed to grant Rock-Tenn box plant a tax abatement which Manager Dan Williams said was critical if the plant were to remain in Greene County.
The normal policy on these kinds of abatements is to enable a company to provide more jobs.
Williams was very forthcoming in telling the council that there would be fewer rather than more employees initially, but the possibility of losing business due to their inability to provide the types of containers many companies need could eventually cause the plant to leave Eutaw.
He pointed out that Eutaw had very few industries and needed to keep what they did have.
The proposed improvements will cost approximately $6 million and will entail bringing in quite a bit of automated equipment which will replace work formally done by human labor.
At first the council was reluctant to grant the request, but after a lengthy discussion agreed that the jobs that would be retained were critically needed in this area where unemployment is so high.
Williams said that the plan to upgrade had been in the works for over two years and many of the people who have been or would be laid off were temporary employees. “This gives us a pool we can draw from,” he said, “if the business increases.”
Mark Golden, representing Rock- Tenn, made a point of advising the council that the ad valorem and sales tax money going to the Greene County School System would not be affected by the abatement.
The tax abatement will be approximately $44,000 for the first year and continue on a declining basis. The council will revisit this agreement with Rock-Tenn every two years, taking into consideration the number of people employed at the plant.
The Council finally voted unanimously to approve the abatement.
In other business, the Council approved:
*Rezoning two acres of land on Choctaw Road to enable New Peace Missionary Baptist Church to establish a cemetery.
*Discussed the most recent audit and questioned the $500 increase in cost.
They were told by Accountant James Garner that each year the amount of paperwork required for an audit is increasing and suggested that the city upgrade their entire accounting system. No vote was taken but the council was in agreement that an upgrade was needed.
*Approved the personnel manual recommendations made by the council.
*Approved running a water line to Lock 7 and running a sewer line from the lagoon to Lock 7 with work being done by city employees.
*Approved tearing down abandoned buildings in the city after the property owners were notified.
*Requested that Attorney Mike Smith draft a resolution to consolidate with the county in getting state ATRIP money to pave the roads in Branch Heights.
*Were advised that the approval from ADECA had been received for the Boligee Street Sewer Project. There is a 90 day time limit on this project.
Weather for Eutaw, Ala. Friday Saturday SundayPartly Cloudy81/55Clear81/59Clear84/66
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