Florala Utilities to give city 3% of net profits

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Florala Utilities Board voted Monday to give the City of Florala 3 percent of its net profit.

Chairman Marvin Williford, who said the figure is estimated $34,000 a year, pledged his approval of the project when the city began its budget process in September.

“We felt like, with the city being short on revenue, that (the utilities board should) try to help them out,” Williford said. “The utility board is not that financially stable after our projects, but we needed to do it for the city.”

Two years ago, the utilities board completed the $500,000 Main Street project, which moved water and sewer lines from the middle of Fifth Avenue to the sides of the street. The board paid for the project out-of-pocket, but then last year, borrowed $500,000 to install an automatic meter reading system for its gas and water meters.

Mayor Robert Williamson said he was confident Williford would hold true to his promise that the city included the $34,000 in its annual revenue stream. Williford said the gesture was proof that “everyone seems to be in a good working relationship again.”

In 2008, a more-than-two-year strife between the two entities — caused by a disagreement over the number of municipal officers allowed to sit on the utilities board — came to an end with the installation of new board members.

In 2009, Councilwoman Hazel Lee addressed utility board members at a Nov. 9 meeting because she felt “the city is entitled to cash revenue since the city is the sole shareholder in the utilities board ‘corporation.’”

Williford said it has taken that long to “get things in order.”

Williamson said he and city officials were thankful for the money.