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Opp delays liquor license vote

At Monday’s regular meeting of the Opp City Council, the council decided to take more time to consider a request for a retail liquor license at a local restaurant.

The owners of Rancho Grande Grill, a Mexican-style restaurant that will open at 113 S. Main Street where MD’s Café was previously located, asked the city to approve its license request. However, the council instead voted to table the decision for the council’s next meeting.

“I believe we should table this request and get some input from folks uptown, get their feelings on this,” said District 2 Councilman Jimmy Rogers. District 1 Councilman Scotty Short made the motion to table and District 5 Councilman Oren Stewart seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar said the license would be for the restaurant to maintain an indoor bar/lounge area where mixed drinks would be served.

“Veracruz has a license like this,” Edgar said. “It’s not an uncommon license to ask for. They’ve already had the paperwork looked at by the Alabama Beverage Control Board. They don’t approve it or disapprove it, they just check it and pass it on to us. ”

Before the decision was made to table the vote, District 3 Councilman Mickey Crew clearly voiced his opinion on the matter.

“I know that we need all the business we can get in Opp, but I can’t vote for this,” he said.

Also during the meeting, the council accepted a bid for repairs that are needed at the Opp Municipal Building, which houses the city’s police department. Catrett Construction Company of Opp submitted the lowest bid of $267,920. That bid was separated into a base bid of $194,000, a bid for alternate project No. 1 for $37,125 and a bid for alternate project No. 2 for $36,795.

Don Childre, Opp director of planning, explained the repairs in detail.

“The base bid was to replace all 55 windows in the building, to remove the existing shingle roof, extend the decking out over the existing gutters and to replace those gutters with new gutters,” he said. “The repair of some loose brick and the pediments — the little stone ornaments on each door — are also included in the base bid. The Alternate No. 1 bid was for a one-piece sheet roof over the main structure of the building. Alternate No. 2 was a little structure and a roof over the jail portion of the building.”

Edgar said the improvements to the building are long overdue.

“This building has been needing that repair for at least four years,” he said. “And we haven’t had the money to do that. But this falls under capital improvement, which we can do with our bond issue money. So it is my recommendation that we go ahead and fix it. We certainly can’t afford to build a new one.”

In other business, the council:

Heard a presentation from representatives with Habitat for Humanity of Covington County.

Dale Pancake, president of HFHCC, told the council that the non-profit Christian housing ministry will construct its first house for an Opp family. He explained that the ministry does not currently have a plot of land in Opp on which to build this house, and requested the city’s assistance in procuring land.

“I think it’s a great program and I know the council agrees,” Edgar said. “We certainly will do whatever we can to help.”