City ‘no votes’ donation

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Council doesn’t motion proposal on Rivercane property

The Atmore City Council took no action on the donation of property out at Rivercane Industrial Park for a proposed Atmore community hospital due to a lack of a motion at its meeting Monday night.

Mayor Jim Staff brought up the business of making a donation of Rivercane Industrial Park property — which the city owns — for a proposed Atmore community hospital, during the last item on the agenda.

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When a second wasn’t heard, there was no vote on the property.

“This dies for lack of a motion,” Mayor Jim Staff said.

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, to introduce a new piece of business or propose a decision or action, a motion must be made by a group member, then a second motion must then also be made. Then, the group votes on the piece of business.

City Councilman Chris Harrison, City Councilwoman Susan Smith, City Councilman Chris Walker and City Councilman Jerome Webster were present at the meeting. City Councilman Webb Nall wasn’t present because he was serving on a grand jury.

The land donation request comes a month after the city council met with members of the Escambia County Healthcare Authority and the Atmore Community Hospital board during a workshop.

In the workshop, the ECHA and ACH boards explained a procedure they’ve gone through to try and save the current hospital and their justification for building a new one.

Two months previous, the ECHA and ACH boards released a statement saying that they are ending its management contract with Infirmary Health, which manages the current hospital, and are beginning the initial process for pursuing a new healthcare facility for the Atmore Community. The existing agreement with IH is for a 365-day transition period, a release said.

One of the main reasons the Rivercane property was requested is because of the new market tax credit, in which the area is eligible.

According to the United States Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s website, the new market tax credit program attracts private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities (CDEs). The credit totals 39 percent of the original investment amount and is claimed over a period of seven years.

On a local level, United Bank’s Community Development LLC (UBCD) offers new market tax credits.

The ECHA, in September, requested that the city of Atmore, which owns the Rivercane Development, give 10 acres of property for the facility.

ECHA President Ruth Harrell didn’t have a comment in regard to the no vote.

In other business, the council:

• adopted ordinance No. 2018-04, which is an amendment to the zoning ordinance for a wine bar and nightclub.

• adopted ordinance No. 2018-05 for an amendment to the zoning ordinance for political signs. Staff said the only requirement is that political signs be pulled from private yards seven days after an election commences.

In a workshop meeting, the council discussed necessary street paving in each district; making nominations to the Atmore Housing Authority and Atmore Historical Society; and whether or not to vote on the Rivercane property donation.