City of Pelham could double lodging tax, gain 29-acres

The Pelham City Council may vote to increase the lodging tax in Pelham from 3 to 6 percent. (Contributed)

The Pelham City Council may vote to increase the lodging tax in Pelham from 3 to 6 percent. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer 

PELHAM— The Pelham City Council may vote to raise the lodging tax from 3 to 6 percent at its next meeting. The Council announced the first reading of the ordinance at the July 20 meeting.

This increase would allow the city to designate a portion of related proceeds to be used for economic development, which includes funding for the Commercial Development Authority (CDA) and the employment of an economic development professional.

City Council president Rick Hayes said this issue has been a topic of discussion for a long time, especially the employment of an economic development professional. If approved, this tax increase would be effective Oct. 1.

“A professional can significantly help with bringing in business and actively, and proactively, going out and helping our current businesses by expanding them,” Hayes said.

Council member Ron Scott also commented in favor of this resolution, stating that many cities have development professionals and have seen great results.

“This is not something that is out in left field or out of the box,” Scott said. “This is a very common place position in many municipalities across the state.”

Also at the meeting, the council presented the first reading of an ordinance that would annex a property located along Huntley Parkway into the City of Pelham. Elizabeth Bishop and Trey Davis were present to speak on this issue.

Davis explained that the space is about 29-acres off Huntley Parkway. There is no buyer for the property at this time and the owner of the property lives out of state. He said it felt like a natural thing for this area to be a part of Pelham, which is what prompted him to request the annex.

“Most people are shocked that it’s not in Pelham,” Hayes said of the property.

The Pelham City Council also,

  • Mayor Gary Waters gave an update on an improvement project at the railroad crossing at County Road 11. ALDOT will perform an assessment of need and safety at the crossing and get back to the city. If the project receives a certificate of need, the project would loosely cost about $250,000.
  • Approved the extension of a special use permit to Verizon Wireless for modifications to an existing tower. Verizon is requesting to add a new microwave to the top of the tower temporarily while it seeks other locations for it.
  • Amended the City of Pelham Flexible Benefit Plan. The IRS requests that they update the plan from time-to-time. This amendment makes sure there is no discrimination concerning highly compensated individuals in Pelham.
  • Accepted a bid from Wiregrass Construction Company for Deer Ridge Lakes subdivision’s repairs and wearing surfaces project. The bid was for $238,756.10.
  • Rejected the one bid received for the Summer Classics U.S. 31 road improvements project and authorized the city to begin negotiations with the bidder concerning the project. The bid came in at about $360,000, so the city is working on ironing out those details.
  • Approved an ABC application for Owens Bar and Grill, located at 3221 County Road 52 west, suites 1 and 2. This was not a new license; it is a transfer from a previous location.