AGCOR Steel move clears final hurdle; Cullman Council addresses storm damage

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CEDA Director Dale Greer congratulates AGCOR’s Zac Smith after the passage of the 772 resolution. / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN – AGCOR Steel will remain in Cullman County. At its meeting Monday night, the Cullman City Council moved forward with the City of Good Hope and Cullman County on a three-way agreement to keep AGCOR Steel’s entire operation in Cullman County. It also took its first official step toward recovery from last week’s storms and heard from local political candidates.

Candidates visit

At the beginning of its meeting, the council welcomed several local political candidates, both challengers and incumbents, including County Commissioner Garry Marchman, Probate Judge Tammy Brown, House of Representatives District 12 challenger Alex Chaney and incumbent Rep. Corey Harbison, and Circuit Judge hopeful Melvin Hasting, all of whom came forward to introduce themselves to the audience.

AGCOR Steel

AGCOR is moving from Vinemont to Good Hope, a joint effort between the City of Good Hope, City of Cullman and Cullman County. AGCOR is spending $400,000 on the project, with the three local governments each providing $133,333 in tax incentives. A resolution had to be passed by each of the three government entities before the deal could go forward. Good Hope passed its resolution on Feb. 26. The Cullman County Commission passed its resolution on March 13. Monday night, the Cullman City Council followed suit.

AGCOR, a manufacturer of metal building components, was being wooed by the city of Gadsden before this deal was put into place.

AGCOR owner Zac Smith told The Tribune, “It wasn’t necessarily that we were going to move everything, but there was a portion of our business that we were trying to create where there was an opportunity elsewhere, and (the County and local municipalities) were able to get it as well.”

The council approved a plan under State Constitution Amendment 772 that, according to the resolution, “authorizes the County, Cullman, and Good Hope, to lend their credit to or grant public funds and things of value in aid of or to any business entity for the purpose of promoting the economic development of the County and Cities.”  

AGCOR plans to invest approximately $400,000 to develop a 53-acre parcel of land in Good Hope.  According to Smith, the project could result in up to 30 new jobs, and the new facility is expected to generate approximately $8-10 million in annual sales, which will produce $120,000 per year in sales tax revenue for each of the three entities, plus “sales tax revenue dedicated for educational purposes or for capital improvements for education, new business license revenue, new sales and use tax revenue from construction materials, and increased ad valorem tax revenue to the County and Cities,” according to the resolution.

In exchange for AGCOR’s investment, the County and cities will provide to the manufacturer up to $400,000 paid out of the company’s sales tax revenue to each of the three entities.  In essence, Cullman, Good Hope and the County will refund to AGCOR a portion of the sales taxes it pays to them, to offset the cost of its new development. These taxes, according to the council, will not come from tax monies dedicated to education.

After signing the agreement, Smith told The Tribune, “The biggest thing that it means to me is local support with the City of Good Hope, Cullman County and the City of Cullman being able to come together and work together to create an opportunity for a local guy to be able to succeed and stay in this town, it just goes to show you how far it’s come and how well they work together in order to keep people here.  

“So the infrastructure that they provide, and the support they provide for local businesses and future businesses still yet to come is basically–you know, that’s where you want to start your business.  You want to be in a place like that with humble roots, where you can flourish in your hometown.”

Smith hopes to see AGCOR’s Good Hope facility up and running by the end of 2018. It will be the first manufacturing facility to ever be located in Good Hope.

REHAU tax abatement extended

The council voted to grant a 10-year tax abatement for REHAU Automotive, which has announced plans for a major addition to its Cullman facility.  The company intends to invest $10,403,708 in its facility expansion, and the council granted an abatement of “all state and local noneducational ad valorem taxes” and “all construction related transaction taxes, except those construction related transaction taxes levied for educational purposes or for capital improvements for education, and/or all mortgage and recording taxes,” extending the company’s current abatement for 10 years.

Disaster recovery

The council voted to authorize Mayor Woody Jacobs to replace vehicles and other equipment damaged by the 2018 Hail Storm utilizing the State of Alabama’s Bid List.  

(www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2018/03/22/cullman-mayor-releases-preliminary-city-property-storm-damage-list) 

Fire Chief Edward Reinhardt reported substantial damage to Station 2, and damage to several small vehicles that did not include any large fire trucks.  Police Chief Kenny Culpepper reported that police headquarters was spared any damage, but 23 department vehicles were damaged including seven that were totaled.  Most officers on patrol during the storm got to cover quickly, but three were caught on the road in their vehicles as hailstones began breaking the windshields. No officers were injured.

Other council business

The council also approved the following resolutions:

  • to award for various types of concrete to the lowest responsible bidder, (DCA) Ready Mix USA, LLC.  The Council received bids from (DCA) Ready Mix USA of Cullman, Kirkpatrick Concrete, Inc. of Cullman, and Morgan County Concrete, Inc. of Hartselle.
  • to award for various types of rock to Good Hope Contracting Co., Inc. located in Cullman, Alabama.  The Council received bids from C.A. Langford Company, Inc. of Guntersville ($840,285 picked up, $1,466,985 delivered), Good Hope Contracting Co., Inc. of Cullman ($779,130 picked up, $1,162,930 delivered), Whitaker Corporation (Madison Materials) of Guntersville ($750,140 picked up, $1,155,340 delivered), and Vulcan Materials Company, Inc. of Birmingham ($1,012,350 picked up, $1,417,550 delivered).
  • to adopt the 2018 Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Resolution for the City of Cullman.  The Council reviewed the MWPP Annual Report and set forth the following actions and schedule necessary to maintain effluent requirements contained in the NPDES Permit, and to prevent the bypass and overflow of raw sewage within the collection system or at the treatment plant: continue five-year planning for wastewater, continue currently planned projects, continue smoke testing, and continue video inspection.
  • to approve Change Order No. 1 in the amount of $96,655 for The Creel Company, Inc. on the UV Replacement at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The Council awarded the UV replacement bid to The Creel Company, Inc. in the amount of $2,015,545. Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood has extra costs which will increase the total cost of the project by $96,655.00.  With approval of the change order, the total cost of the contract increased to $2,112,200.00.
  • to enter into contract with St. John & Associates for engineering services related to the City Sewer System.

The council also approved a request from Rachel Bryant of Karma in Cullman for a special event permit to hold a Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk on Sept. 8, 2018 from 3 to 6 p.m. in Depot Park.

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