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City inks deal for interstate property

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
The city of Hartselle is banking on 18.8 acres off Interstate 65 to pay big dividends for the city in the future.
The city is spending some $2 million for the land near Interstate 65 and Highway 36. It is purchasing the land from NCB Inc. NCB is financing the property over five years with a $550,000 down payment from the city.
"We plan on marketing this property to developers," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said. "We've already had one developer ask about the property. This will give us the control when we're talking to a developer."
All utilities except sewage service are in place at the property. Tankersley said the city is currently in talks with Hartselle Utilities to bring sewage service to the area.
Earlier this month, HU advertised for bids for the installation of three steel casings under I-65 at the Thompson Road interchange. A similar sewer project is under discussion for I-65 and Highway 36.
"If we're going to put sewer there, we're going to need major retail development to help us cover the cost," Tankersley said.
The city has eyed the tract of land on several occasions but wasn't able to complete a deal. Tankersley said he would like to see a restaurant or other large development come to the area.
"Something that will fill a market gap we have here," he said.
Down payment to come from general fund
The down payment for the land will come from the city's general fund. The fund is healthy, Tankersley said, thanks to better-than-expected sales tax revenues.
As of March, the city had some $5.9 million in its general fund, including $1.24 million in reserves. In a six month review of its budget, Tankersley said the city is at 56.4 percent of expected revenues and 48.9 percent of budgeted expenses. The revenue picture is skewed somewhat by the collection of ad valorum and business license fees, all of which are done at the beginning of the year. However, revenue increases in sales taxes are also helping the bottom line.
The city is at 51 percent of its projection for yearly sales tax collections. The fiscal year ends in September.
Tankersley said the increases are attributed to economic growth in the city. He said lower expenses were due to good management by department heads.