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City of Piedmont to Purchase Railroad Property

The Piedmont City Council, on Tuesday, unanimously agreed to proceed with the purchase of an approximately 1 acre parcel of land, which it currently rents from the Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Corporation. Mayor Bill Baker said that he recently learned that Norfolk was willing to sell the land for just $7,500 after previously asking as much as $50,000 in years past.

Baker said that currently, the city rents the land, which is also the site of the city’s historical museum, for $600 per year. Baker added that if the city secures this property, it would likely become the future site of the historic Ruby Roberts house.

The city received a positive audit for fiscal year 2014. Ben McDonald, a representative of the audit firm Joan Sanders & Associates, P.C., told the council that Piedmont was in “much better financial shape” than the previous year. He said the city saw an increase in total income of $312,095, which was a 43 percent increase over 2013.

After failing to receive the required unanimous vote, the council postponed a decision on an ordinance that would allow the local court to raise the maximum fines for misdemeanor offenses, as previously defined by the Alabama State Legislature. Council Member Brenda Spears was the lone dissenting vote, citing a need for additional time for review. It is expected that the ordinance will be voted on at the July 7th meeting.

The City of Piedmont will participate in the state-wide Sales Tax Holiday after passing a resolution to exempt a number of items from the municipal sales and use tax from August 7th through 9th.

Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $240,040.14 in addition to a payroll amount of $117,467.55 for a total of $357,507.69 with Council Member Frank Cobb abstaining from the vote. Additionally, as of May 31st, there was a total of $1,029,400.39 remaining in bond accounts.

The next regular Piedmont City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7th, at 6 pm.

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