CULLMAN, Ala. – On Monday evening, the Cullman City Council approved a 10-year tax abatement for an existing Cullman industrial manufacturer without naming the company, to support expansion for cryptically labeled “Project MBEQ,” representing a capital investment of at least $50 million that will create 125 new area jobs.
Without sharing information about the company or project, Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer told The Tribune that the total project investment could approach $100 million. The reason for the secrecy about the company and project, according to Greer, is that the project relies on support from other sources that have not yet finalized their commitments. Cullman’s tax abatement will be contingent on all other parties signing on and the project moving forward.
According to the resolution, Cullman will grant a 10-year 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.”
Development of new civic center moves closer
The council approved two resolutions related to the development of the city’s new civic center/athletic complex at the old Marvin’s location on Main Avenue between Heritage Park and the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center:
- To enter into a contract with St. John & Associates, LLC for professional civil engineering services related to the complex
- To enter into a contract with Cohen, Carnaggio & Reynolds, Inc. for professional design and architectural engineering services related to the complex
The council also voted to purchase a piece of property near the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center (CWAC) for stormwater detention that will allow increased drainage to both the civic center and the Aquatic Center.
Mayor Woody Jacobs told The Tribune that the project is still in its preliminary stages and that no timetable for construction has been set.
Jurisdiction boundary ordinance repealed
The council voted to repeal Ordinance No. 1158, enacted in 1994, concerning limits of various city services within the city’s police jurisdiction which, according to Alabama Code Title 11, extends 3 miles beyond the city’s boundaries.
According to the 1994 ordinance, decisions by the State of Alabama and the federal government caused the City to find “it undesirable, disadvantageous and not in the best interest of the citizens of Cullman, Alabama, for the City to continue to provide services and to collect taxes and revenues from that area known as the police jurisdiction of the City of Cullman,” concluding that, “All services currently provided by the City of Cullman shall be provided exclusively for residents and businesses within the corporate limits of the City,” and “No services shall be provided by the City of Cullman to residents or businesses located within the police jurisdiction of the City (outside city limits).”
According to City Clerk Wes Moore, the State does not allow municipalities to reduce their jurisdictions, so the new ordinance and repeal of the old brings Cullman into compliance with state regulations.
The new ordinance affirms Cullman’s, “right to provide services to and collect fees and taxes within the three-mile police jurisdiction of the City of Cullman, Alabama.”
Ordinance formalizes police reserves
The council voted to formally constitute and define the Cullman Police Department’s (CPD) reserve officer force. According to the ordinance, because “certain levels of manpower are required in order to provide for the safety of the public and also to the members of the Cullman Police Department,” the establishment of a reserve made up of volunteers helps the department better carry out its duties.
Chief Kenny Culpepper told The Tribune that the CPD has had reserve officers for many years, but has never formally addressed its reserve force in a city ordinance. State regulations now require such an ordinance.
Reserve officers are unpaid and may not carry firearms or exercise powers of arrest without proper training and state certification. With that certification, they will be able to apply for paid part-time positions.
The council approved resolutions to:
- Accept Brownstone Way Southwest into the Cullman City Street System. Brownstone Way is the thoroughfare through Phase One of KVB Properties’ The Grove at Fisher Farms, located on Industrial Park Road near AGCOR Steel along the border between Cullman and Good Hope. According to Davidson Homes, all 65 current home sites at the development have already been sold.
- Enter into a contract with Emergency Reporting for Rover Responder Services for Cullman Fire Rescue. According to the company, “When an incident occurs, Rover instantly relays the call out to your responders’ mobile devices, shaving seconds off their reply. With one touch on the Rover app, responders send their availability while Rover automatically retrieves their credentials, location, and travel time. Once responders have confirmed their acceptance, Rover provides everyone who has secure access to the Rover portal (via station dashboard, laptop, in-vehicle tablets or cell phone) with the precise location of each responder and a countdown to their arrival.”
- Move the dates of certain council meetings for 2021.
Special event approved
The council approved a special event request from Rita Dean for a Warehouse District Street Sale on the First Avenue Northeast on March 19 and 20, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Cullman City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the Cullman City Hall auditorium. The public is invited to attend.
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