Headlines Cont. – 11/28/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – November 28, 2006


City officials get good news: natural gas price lower than 2005
By Jason C. Mattox

Batesville leaders learned that natural gas prices are currently lower than they were at this point last year.

Howard Randolph of Utilities Management appeared before the board last Tuesday to provide an update on Batesville’s natural gas supply for the winter months.

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Utilities Management purchases the city’s natural gas during the summer months and it is stored with Tennessee Gas Pipelines until it is needed.

"As you all know, we purchase your gas reserve for the winter during the summer months while the gas prices are considerably lower," he said. "You should be in good shape for the winter this year."

Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow asked how much natural gas the city had in storage.

"Right now you are at about 90 percent capacity," Randolph replied. "That should be more than enough to get you through the winter.

"We hope to see the rates continue to go down," he said. "The good news for consumers is that we did not have a hurricane that hurt production facilities on the coast this year.

"In short, the consumers will pay less for the same usage than they did in 2005," Randolph added.

Randolph added it is important for consumers to conserve gas as much as possible to keep the prices down.

"We are not able to predict what the winter months will be like, so it is always important for people to conserve gas whenever it is possible."

No action was taken.

In other board business:
Proposals for concessions at the Batesville Civic Center were scheduled for opening. No bids were received.
A temporary mobile home placement hearing and a variance hearing were set for the December 21 meeting.
Waste Water Treatment Plant superintendent David Carr was given permission to apply for Homeland Security funds that would be used to purchase a Kawasaki Mule.
City to provide TIF bonds for infrastructure at Covenant Crossing retail development
By Jason C. Mattox

Officials with the City of Batesville voted last week to allow Mayor Jerry Autrey to sign a resolution to proceed with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the Covenant Crossing development at the I-55 and Highway 6 intersection.

The city previously used TIF bonds to pay for the construction of the road adjacent to Lowe’s.

The resolution, presented to the board of aldermen Tuesday by attorney Bob Wood who represents developer Alvan Kelly, allows Autrey to sign a commitment letter regarding the TIF financing and outlines the developer’s plans.

The city has previously agreed to provide $1.5 million in TIF bonds to help pay for infrastructure at the development.

"The shows that the developer is committing to this as a three phase project," Wood said. "It also shows he will proceed with the development without the bonds being issued."

Wood said the city would not have to issue the TIF funding bonds until they saw what they deemed "significant progress" on the project.

"The bonds don’t have to be issued until such a time that you feel there is enough business out there to generate the tax dollars needed to repay the bonds," he said.

Christmas Tour of Homes
     Christine Fleming, with granddog Twinks, looks forward to welcoming guests for the December 3 Christmas Tour of Homes sponsored by the Batesville Garden Club. For tickets and information, call 563-1112 or 563-3126. The home of Bill and Christine Fleming is located at 112 Womack Cove.
For sale by city: two police motorcycles, minus sirens and radios
By Jason C. Mattox

A pair of motorcycles used by the Batesville Police Department will be advertised for sale again after bids at the meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen November 7 came in lower than expected.

Police Chief Gerald Legge told city leaders Tuesday afternoon he would like to negotiate with the high bidder, Rebel Cycles.

"I want to speak with them and see if they would allow us to keep the siren and radio that are on the motorcycles," he said. "We would be getting some more out of them that way."

Assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell said he didn’t believe a negotiation was possible.

"Due to the items being listed in the specifications that were sent out for bids, I really don’t think you can negotiate to keep the equipment," he said.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger said he was under the impression that the police department’s equipment was not included for bid.

"I don’t understand why we would want to take bids on the motorcycles and the equipment," he said. "That equipment can be used in the cars. Can’t it, chief?"

Legge acknowledged that the radios and sirens could be re-used by the department.

Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley suggested rejecting all the bids and keeping the motorcycles.

"I know we were originally selling these to put the money into the budget," he said. "But it seems to me the budget is holding its own right now.

"So, I think we should simply reject the bids, keep the bikes and advertise to sell them if we ever need to," Manley added.

Mayor Jerry Autrey suggested rejecting all the bids and rebid without the siren and radio included.

"Couldn’t we advertise for two different packages?" Legge asked. "That would allow us to market them to other law enforcement agencies as well as private individuals."

Aldermen voted to allow the motorcycles to be re-bid with two separate packages.

Ward 4 Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders and Ward 3 Alderman James Yelton were absent from the meeting.


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