North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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October 8, 2013

Gardendale council approves cost-of-living raise, purchases property for new city hall development

GARDENDALE — The Gardendale City Council just made city workers a little happier.

The council voted to give full-time city workers a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.7 percent, beginning with the next pay period. In addition, part-time workers were given a raise of 25 cents per hour. The council also voted to absorb the entire upcoming increase in employee health-insurance premiums; previously, the council had voted to have employees pay some of the increased cost.

The move came as part of a busy regular session Monday night.

The council also voted to extend the option period granted to Preferred Growth Properties, the real estate and development arm of Books-A-Million, to purchase the property for the City Center development.

City Attorney Ken Thompson said that the company requested the extension late Monday afternoon, not long before the council convened.

The extension will be in effect until Dec. 31. the original option was scheduled to expire this week.

Preferred Growth Prop­er­ties took over the development of the Northgate Shopping Center on Fields­town Road, where construction is now in progress for a new Dollar Tree store, and will soon begin for new Publix and T.J. Maxx stores.

In a related issue, the council voted to purchase the Lighthouse property at 939 Main Street to use for the development of the new city hall. The site, which is across from Gardendale First Baptist Church’s south campus, was purchased for $80,000 plus a seven-percent commission.

In other business, the council:

  • Presented an award to outgoing Bragg Middle School principal Neal Underwood, who was promoted to transportation director for the Jefferson County Schools;
  • Approved a new city budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year;
  • Approved requests for Garden­dale High School’s homecoming parade this Friday, a 5-kilometer run to benefit Gardendale Athletic Club on Nov. 11, and a memorial ride through the city that same day to remember the Beirut, Lebanon bombing that killed 299 people, including Jimmy Ray Cain of Gardendale;
  • Hired two full-time firefighters and one part-time library worker, and approved a promotion in the Parks and Recreation Department.

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