APD jurisdiction nixed

Published 2:02 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Andalusia City Council last night unanimously agreed to abolish its police jurisdiction.

The ordinance abolishing the jurisdiction will become effective Jan. 1, 2009, and is expected to save the city $50,000 per year.

At present, the city collects approximately $30,000 in business license fees inside the police jurisdiction.

Although state law allows cities to collect half of the city sales tax within the police jurisdiction, the city has not previously done so.

Mayor Earl Johnson said, “We are not abandoning the jurisdiction under all circumstances,” adding that the police department will provide back-up to the sheriff’s department under mutual aid agreements. It is a policy, Johnson said, that the fire department has already adopted.

“This does not mean folks within the former police jurisdiction would not have police protection,” he said. “The county sheriff is responsible for providing police protection in the county.”

Police Chief Wilbur Williams said the City of Opelika took this step three years ago and Anniston did the same thing earlier this year.

In other business, the council:

Extended a moratorium against house moving for six months.

Agreed to contract with Carla Hammond of Cornerstone Resources to pursue grant funding for the city.

Approved longevity pay for 19 employees who did not qualify for step raises this year. The total cost to the city was $17,700.

Agreed to a total of $40,000 in performance pay to be distributed by department heads. No more than 50 percent of a department’s employees can receive the pay and the bonuses must be approved by the mayor. Johnson said the practice began eight years ago and greatly boosted morale in the city.