Troy City accepts settlement

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Troy council members agreed Tuesday to accept a $170,000 settlement for damages and losses incurred during the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The city was unable to reveal the information prior to Tuesday’s public meeting.

“Due to a federal court order, this could not be mentioned or disclosed until the commencement of this public meeting,” said Troy Mayor Jason Reeves.

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Reeves read the full resolution aloud to council members and audience members during the council meeting stressing the confidentiality agreement that had been put in place for discussions concerning the litigation.

“This resolution authorizes the documents necessary to appropriate the funds,” Reeves said. “It is a full and final release of the settlement and a covenant not to sue, which is required to accomplish the settlement and conclude the matter.”

Attorneys’ fees and contingencies will be deducted from the total settlement.

The council also approved the authorization for a local match of money for the Pike Area Transit System and the resolution authorizing the application for federal assistance through the 5311 Program or Rural Transportation Program.

The city will match 50 percent for local funds for the operating fees of $154,170, which will be split between the City of Troy, the City of Brundidge and Pike County. The city will also match 20 percent of the administration fees of $29,711, which will also be split amongst the three governmental bodies. In the local match fees, a provision is included for the purchase of a minivan for a total of $36,506. The city’s matching fee would be $7,301.

“This is a great program,” Reeves said. “It helps a lot of people and Danta (Frazier) and his staff do a wonderful job administering it.”

After having the first reading of Ordinance 353 at the council’s previous meeting, the council unanimously approved the authorization for the issuance of the general obligation debts. This year’s issuance of the general obligation debts was the most in the city’s history, but after being upgraded from an “A” to “A+” credit rating it is also the cheapest issuance.

Reeves applauded the council members on their approval of the ordinance giving him the authority to issue the bonds, which were sold for $16.8 million.

“I certainly appreciate the passing of Ordinance 353,” Reeves said. “Many, many people worked very hard on that as I said last week. The bond upgrade and many other things were done because we have outstanding employees and the management team has improved our financial standing. I am very thankful that.”

District 3 Councilman Marcus Paramore praised the council’s approval of the credit agreement for Troy Hospital Health Care Authority enabling the purchase of two pieces of equipment for Troy Regional Medical Center’s emergency room. The council approved the 60-month financing of a non-autoclave priced at $34,332 and an Omnicell for the price of $58,453.47.

“We passed a resolution tonight that I am committed to helping the hospital,” Paramore said. “I’ve had to use that facility twice in the last 18 months. A very viable hospital is very, very important to our community for the economic development and the health of our community. I think it’s great for them to use this money to improve their emergency room.”

In other items of business, the council had its first reading of the amending of the city’s construction codes. Council President Johnny Witherington said the amending and updating of the codes was a regular item of business this time of year.

“Periodically, throughout the years, it’s necessary for the city to update our building code, plumbing code of ordinances,” Witherington said.

“We usually follow suit to those changes made by the State of Alabama. Our building official has recommended to us that we consider doing so to bring up fire safety and codes to current standings.”

The council also approved with contingencies the addition of a pool room to Eight on the Break, owned by Floyd Larry and located on East Walnut Street. Witherington said it was required for businesses seeking to implement a pool room come before the council for approval.

“There have been some recommendations made that have been relative to occupancy to that operation, and it’s noted that upon approval with the city council for the location permitting the pool room that building inspectors will go back and check these few recommendations, which I think are principally fire extinguishers being properly tagged and updated,” he said.

The council had one item removed from its agenda from Pike County Commissioner Jimmy Barron concerning Mobley Drive.

At the close of the meeting, Councilwoman Dejerilyn Henderson read letters addressed to Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, as well as emails exchanged between the councilwoman and Reeves concerning the city’s action taken toward the county’s Lodging Tax, which was recently increased 8 percent to 12 percent via legislative action.

Henderson said she was not consulted on the matter although a letter from Reeves addressed to Boothe said the council had been approached about the matter.

“This issue has never been presented, deliberated or voted upon by the Troy City Council in a legal meeting,” Henderson read from the letter she wrote to Boothe