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Rules of recruiting

Communications between the City of Troy and the state's top lawyer were the centerpiece of the Troy City Council meeting Tuesday night.

In an attempt to stand up to corporations that want to exploit small towns, Mayor Jimmy Lunsford has submitted a request to the state attorney general asking for clarification about what sort of inducements the law allows communities to make to attract business. Lunsford said certain companies often tell towns that other communities have offered lavish recruitment packages in order to drive up the bidding price.

"Some of these companies come in and say such and such town has offered us this much cash for us to locate there, what are you going to offer us," Lunsford said. "I've asked the attorney general to clarify what the law allows."

Lunsford told the council he had asked Attorney General Bill Pryor four specific questions about whether the city can directly give cash to a company, whether a city can give cash in order to train a company's employees, whether a city can offer a company land for free and whether or not a city can pay the foreign trade zone designation costs for a company.

"It's important to know what we can do legally and when we get the response back, I plan to distribute the results to the other cities around here and let them know what they can and can't do," Lunsford said.

Lunsford emphasized that he was not seeking clarification of the law so the Troy could subsequently make cash offers to companies in order to lure them to the area.

"I don't intend to provide these incentives, but a lot of towns who are over-anxious to attract jobs may be thinking about it," he said.

According to Lunsford, Troy is not having any problems soliciting businesses to locate in the city. In fact, although a formal announcement has not yet been made, a separate city council action may point towards announcement of new industry in the near future.

Lunsford told the council about an approximately $1.3 million grant being provided to the city in order to make improvements to industrial access roads in the neighborhood of the old Ansell plant. The grant money was in jeopardy when Ansell announced that it would be closing the Troy facility, Lunsford said, but those jobs will now be replaced and the grant money will be preserved. An official announcement on the company that will be replacing Ansell is expected in coming weeks.

In other action, the city awarded a bid for construction the walking trail at Murphree Park to S & C Materials. The council estimated the total cost of the lights for the trail would be around $24,000 and the end result of the project will be a lighted walking trail and paved parking lot.

The city also agreed to meet a Department of Transportation request that the right of way on University Avenue be widened in order to facilitate the construction on Troy State University's quad.

Council member Jose Henderson announced that District One will be cleaned throughout the month. Citizens from District One were encouraged to call the city's Department of Public Works if they need trash or debris hauled away.

Henderson also encouraged citizens throughout the city to call City Hall and speak to Sheila Jackson about the upcoming African American Leadership Conference at Troy State University

on Feb. 7 and 8.