North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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February 18, 2014

Fultondale gas board won't renew current contract with Gardendale

Architects unveil plans for new city hall

GARDENDALE — A notice that the Gas Board of the City of Fultondale won’t renew its current service contract with Gardendale has sent city officials scrambling for other options.

The gas board notified the city that it will not enter into another contract — at least not under the current terms — when the current one expires on April 1, city attorney Ken Thompson told the city council in its regular session Monday night.

The contract currently in place calls for Gardendale customers to be charged no more than 2.5 percent above the rates charged to similar customers by Ala­gasco. The board also pays 5 percent of gross receipts in various fees.

(The 2.5 percent cap is at the center of a lawsuit against the board by two customers, including onetime Fultondale mayoral candidate John Douglas. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, claims that the board has exceeded the capped amount in the rates charged to Gardendale customers.)

Mayor Othell Phillips said that the gas board wants the cap removed entirely, and the fees reduced to 3 percent.

After a lengthy discussion in the pre-council work session, the council passed a resolution that authorized Phillips to issue a request for proposal for qualified suppliers to submit their own plans for supplying Gardendale with natural gas service. That would include the Fultondale Gas Board, whose biggest customer base is the city of Gardendale.

The magnitude of changing the city’s gas supplier, coupled with the logistics of determining who owns gas lines that supply customers, wasn’t lost on councilor Greg Colvert.

“We don’t know the consequences of what we’re about to do,” he said in the work session.

Companies will have 30 days to respond to the request for proposal.

The council also saw architectural plans for the new city hall, which will be built on Main Street.

Jay Pigford of Architecture Works showed an artist’s rendering of the building exterior. as well as floor and site plans.

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