HEFLIN — The Heflin City Council discussed funding the Heflin Industrial and Economic Development board with diesel fuel tax money from the new Loves Travel Center during a work session Tuesday night.
The city of Heflin already has a two cents per gallon fuel tax — either regular gasoline or diesel — and previously agreed to give Loves one and one half cents of the city’s revenue from the diesel tax for the company’s decision to locate in Heflin. Loves will receive that share of the diesel fuel tax for 20 years or until the amount reaches $2.66 million according to Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks.
The other half cent of the diesel fuel tax, generating approximately $60,000 per year, would go to the industrial and development board if the funding measure passed by the council.
Tanya Maloney, Heflin’s economic developer, said the industrial board has been talking for years about getting a solid funding stream to aid the board in recruiting businesses. Maloney said that other industrial boards across the state have a funding source.
“The city of Heflin has no inventory. I have nothing to market for an industry to come in except for raw property, that is not cleared, not flat, there’s trees on it. As a result of that I’m not getting any projects to go after from the Department of Commerce, I don’t have any sites that are shovel ready,” said Maloney.
Steven Lines, co-chairman of the industrial board, said Maloney has done a great job with what she has been given and has filled up all available buildings with industry.
Lines said the current industrial park in Heflin is a challenging piece of property and will require money to get it ready for industry.
“We’ve got to have something that we can use to leverage to get funding in order to go out and get more industry,” Lines said.
Mayor Rudy Rooks said the money going to industrial board would be much more beneficial than it going to the city’s general fund.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to build some kind of funding stream for the IDB,” said Rooks.
The council may vote on the resolution at next week’s council meeting.
In other matters Rooks told the council that city employees will get a one-time raise and the option of a vacation buy back which allows employees to sell a week’s worth of vacation time if approved by the council.
Rooks said it was a way to help out employees because there were no raises in the fiscal 2020 budget.
The money for the one-time raise and the vacation buy-back is available because the city is down a few employees according to Rooks.
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Maloney announced that the Heflin Christmas Tree lighting will be on November 26 at 6:30 p.m. on Ross St.
The annual Holidays On Ross and Christmas parade will be a two-day event on Dec. 13 and 14. On Friday there will be music at the city’s amphitheatre at 6 p.m. and a carnival for kids next to City Hall. The yuletide celebration will continue on Saturday and culminate with the Christmas parade at 6 p.m.
Tammy Perry, Heflin PARD director, said there will be a tailgate party at the city’s senior center located in the rec center on Nov. 25 at 9 a.m.
The city will hold its Veterans Day program on Monday, Nov. 11, at 8 a.m at the Heflin armory.