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City council approves tax abatement

By By BILL CRIST - Publisher
With the promise of 175 new jobs and roughly $200,000 in renovation and capital expenditures, Econec was granted a 10-year, non-education tax abatement for an expansion into a new customer-service call center.
The request was made by Jim Byrd, on behalf of the Brewton Development Authority.
Byrd told the council that larger cities such as Tampa, Fla. and Tuscon, Ariz. had also been considered for the center.
Byrd said that the company currently has 25 employees working at the ATN-Brewton facility, and that the remaining 150 employees would be h ired over a period of three years. He said the payroll in the first year would be approximately $500,000, increasing to about $1 million once the facility is fully staffed.
The company announced the expansion last Tuesday.
Byrd said the company planned to spend $150,000 in renovating the old Burke's Outlet store on the southern end of Brewton Plaza. It will spend an additional $50,000 on manufacturing equipment and $200,000 on "other" equipment.
The council voted to re-examine a recently passed ordinance dealing with truck parking in Brewton. One portion of the ordinance stated that "trucks shall not park in any residential zoning district overnight."
Jennings said that the ordinance could be interpreted to mean all trucks, including pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.
The ordinance was referred back to the committee headed by councilman Dennis Dunaway for clarification.
Dunaway said that the current ordinance had been approved and was still in effect, but that the committee would bring the council an amended ordinance.
The council approved a re-worded ordinance dealing with the city's natural gas rates and customer deposits. The ordinance was introduced at the council's last meeting, but it was not approved because some councilmen thought the wording would be hard for the public to understand.
Brewton Police Chief David (Mickey) Lovelace, said that the department served 23 warrants in May and collected $9,435.19 in outstanding fines.
Lt. Randy Nicholson asked the council for $1,600 to help pay for 20-25 temporary workers to help the police department with parking and traffic control at the upcoming Blueberry Festival. The request was approved.
Councilman Mervin Huff said that he had spoken with Jim Byrd at Southern Pine Electric Co-op, and that the company had agreed to install three additional street lights and to reconfigure the existing lights in the Woodmere neighborhood. According to Huff, there will be no charge to the city for the work.
At its last meeting, the council received a request for restitution from Joe Hart of Brewton. Hart claimed his property was damaged and trees were removed during a city sewer project along his property line. Hart had asked the council to replace the trees and repair his entire yard, not just where damage was done by the project.
A committee was appointed to investigate the claims and report back to the council. Dunaway suggested that the council should top dress Hart's entire yard with fine sand to help even it out. The suggestion was approved unanimously.
In other business the council;