North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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January 22, 2014

Gardendale officials, state legislators seek compromise deal on Mt. Olive annexation

MONTGOMERY — Gardendale officials and local members of the Alabama legislature are working on a plan they hope will bring both sides of the Mt. Olive annexation debate together — but they can’t say what their plan is just yet.

Mayor Othell Phillips and city council president Stan Hogeland met with Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), Rep. Allen Farley (R-McCalla) and Rep. Allen Treadaway (R-Morris) last week in Beason’s office at the State House, just as the latest legislative session was getting under way.

The primary purpose of the meeting was for Phillips and Hogeland to convince the lawmakers that the city has the financial resources to provide police and fire protection, as well as street repair and other city services, to the large portion of unincorporated Mt. Olive that is proposed to be annexed into the city.

Once that task was done to the satisfaction of the legislators, the group then came up with a plan that would try to provide some sort of compromise that would please as many people as possible — or in Beason’s words, displease as few as necessary.

“They brought their ideas down, and we brought in lawyers from the Legislative Reference Service,” Beason said. “We came up with an idea that I’m having checked out [by LRS] to see if it can be done at all. I told them I wouldn’t discuss it until I found out if it could happen.”

The LRS staff, which serves the legislature by putting all proposed bills into proper legal form, is continuing to give that compromise the once-over. Phillips said it would likely take another week.

Beason did say that the plan is different than what is being proposed by MO Matters, the group that wants to annex the part of Mt. Olive in which school children are zoned to attend Bragg Middle and Gardendale High schools.

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