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Hammock discusses future impact of tax plan

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee City Council and Mayor Johnny Hammock's approval of the recent tax plan to aide the city school system and infrastructure should start taking shape in the near future.

The council passed an additional one cent sales tax for Elmore County residents and a five mill ad valorem tax for all residents. Half of the new sales tax will be given to Tallassee City Schools. The ad valorem tax is earmarked for infrastructure improvements.

"We're applying for an EDA grant," Hammock explained. "(With) an EDA grant, you can get $5 million of work with a 50/50 match."

Rehauling the city's sewer lagoon with a new pumping system is a priority. The project on the table is a $4.8 million job. The city's option if the grant does not come through is a bond through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

"I'm trying my best not to go to the bond market," said Hammock. "If we didn't get the EDA grant and went with ADEM, the interest payment would be $267,000.

"This is something that we have to do. I don't want to put the blame on anyone, but when you neglect something for decades and decades - I'm just trying to fix it. The state has a consent order that you have to fix it by 2020."

More infrastructure work that is imminent includes a water pressure issue with a line that feeds Neptune Technology Group.

"Coming down E.B. Payne by Southside is a 10-inch line that is sitting on a rock that needs to be moved and upgraded to probably a 16-inch line or an elevated tank in the industrial park. That pipe has sprung a leak three different times this year. It's caused Neptune to have to send employees home. You start getting industry looking at you, they look at things like that."

Hammock would also like to initiate fiber optic lines throughout the city's indsutrial park.

"That's the infrastructure of the future. We've already got dark fiber laid in the industrial park. We've just got to light it up."

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