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Council denies PCI housing request

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
Once again, the Poarch Creek Indians Tribe has asked the city of Atmore to enter into a housing agreement which would allow Poarch tribal members to purchase property in Atmore with the tribe providing financial assistance through the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
For the third time, the request was denied. The tribe made the request in 1996 and again in 1999.
Tribal Chairman Fred McGhee spoke to the Atmore City Council at Monday's meeting.
He also said there was some question in the past about property held by realtors being excluded from the process. He assured the council that was not the case.
To show the impact the tribe has on the city of Atmore, McGhee presented the following statistics:
The payroll for the tribal government is $3 million a year. The local impact is almost $2.5 million.
The bingo operation payroll is $668,000 a year. The local impact is $515,000. The operation put $20 million through the banks in Atmore. In addition, the big payout items such as cars and trucks are purchased locally.
The annual payroll at Best Western is $274,000. More than $1.5 million goes through local banks annually. Money paid to local vendors last year was more than $450,000.
McGhee also gave statistics for Creek Indian Enterprises, Muskogee Metal Works and the farm operation.
The total payroll was $4.2 million last year. More than $35 million was processed through local banks. The total payout to vendors was almost $3 million. This did not include items such as groceries purchased by the individual tribal members in their everyday lives.
McGhee said he would be glad to answer any questions from the council. There were none.
Mayor Howard Shell said he and McGhee had a long discussion a couple of weeks ago.
He then asked if there was a motion to approve the agreement. There was none. He called a second time for a motion. None was forthcoming.
The mayor then asked if there was a motion to deny the agreement. Councilman John Watkins so moved. Councilman Jim Staff seconded. The vote was unanimous to deny the agreement.
Escambia County, Monroe County, Baldwin County and Frisco City have entered into similar agreements with the tribe.
In other business, the council
approved a request by YMCA Director Terri Godwin allowing the local Y to hold a 5K run on June 2 as part of the YMCA's World's Largest Run. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Y, 700 chapters across the country will participate in a run at the same time.
Godwin requested use of the route used during the Williams Station Day run and a police escort during the run.
awarded a bid to McDonald Construction of Union Springs for the Owens Street drainage project. Bids were opened at the April 9 meeting but were not awarded at that time, pending review by the engineering firm overseeing the project.
voted to pass along recommendations from individuals regarding Fairview Cemetery to the Cemetery Committee.