Council authorizes demolition contract
by Jennifer Cohron
Apr 11, 2013 | 1442 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cordova City Council passed two resolutions Tuesday night authorizing the contract with Civicon, LLC, the Cullman-based firm that will be in charge of downtown demolition.

The council selected Civicon at its March 26 meeting from a pool of 12 companies that bid on the project.

Civicon was the third-lowest bidder overall with a price tag of $312,672 for demolition of the private structures and $156,336 for the public buildings.

Steve Ostaseski, the city’s new long term recovery manager, said important conversations have taken place recently with the contractor as well as officials at the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

“We had a conference with our state EMA folks and came to a very satisfactory conclusion on how we would divide up the debris so that it would be both cost-effective for us, equitable for the contractor and for FEMA in tracking the expenses,” Ostaseski said.

In January, the city was approved for federal funding to cover 90 percent of the cost of demolishing the downtown buildings that are privately owned.

The remaining 10 percent will be split between the state and the city. The city will be responsible for the total cost of tearing down its own buildings.

Ostaseski also provided the council with more information about how the federal funds must be used.

Concerns were raised at last month’s council meeting as well as a work session held last week over whether the contractor will be required to properly compact the downtown lots.

“It is not a site-preparation contract. It’s a contract for removing debris and making the area safe. So the discussion we had about the level of Proctor testing or compacting is a moot point. They (FEMA) wouldn’t pay for it anyway,” Ostaseski said.

He added that Civicon has also been instructed on what kind of backfill must be used and what conditions constitute “clean and dressed.”

Also, the 60 days required for demolition to be completed will exclude Sundays.

Following the update from Ostaseski, the council gave Mayor Drew Gilbert authority to enter into two separate contracts for demolition of private and public downtown structures.

Ostaseski said demolition is expected to start either April 22 or 23.

In other action, the council:

•heard from Ostaseski regarding the possibility of establishing a tax increment district in the downtown area.

He said such a district is allowed under the Code of Alabama and would allow the city to capture the change in property taxes over a given period of time.

“That change — if it’s $2,000 a year now and it goes up to $4,000 a year — gets captured and stays within that tax increment district to be spent on projects within that district,” Ostaseski said.

He added that the district would not raise taxes, only redirect the taxes that will go up naturally as downtown is developed.

“Right now, all those parcels are valued only at their land value. As they get built on at $125 or $150 a square foot, that will become the value of that building. At that point, that tax would come back to us that is now going to the state or county,” Ostaseski said.

The tax increment district must not include more than 10 percent of the taxable property in the city limits. It would remain in place up to 35 years.

Gilbert endorsed the idea by sharing some of his research on the recent development in Leeds that includes a Bass Pro Shop and the Outlet Shops of Grands River.

“They created a tax increment district was created. One of their former councilmen told me they were generating about $1.6 million a year off that district. Those funds go directly back into that district to make it better,” Gilbert said.

The council also:

•appointed Bradley Grace to serve as the council’s required representative on the Planning Commission.

•approved local pastor Mahlon LeCroix as a part-time, fill-in dispatcher, reserve officer and chaplain for the department.

•learned from Chief Nick Smith that the city’s warrants have been entered in the National Crime Information Center.

Smith said the city has collected $1,133.50 in fines since the police department began using NCIC 13 days ago.

Cordova had more than $1 million in outstanding warrants when Smith was hired last fall.

The next Neighborhood Watch meeting is Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at city hall.