Council OKs deal for Opp biz

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Competing company threatens to leave

Despite threats from owners of an existing trucking company currently doing business in Opp that it “may” leave if the city agreed to give property to a competing company that wants to expand there, the city council approved a memorandum of understanding with the new company on a 3-2 vote.

There was a standing room only crowd at Monday night’s council meeting when the council approved the agreement with RCA Logistics LLC, which currently operates in Elba.

The agreement states the City of Opp will convey 16 acres of property to RCA after the company constructs and occupies an office building and shop facility there. RCA owners have pledged that their employment will increase to 70 employees in the next five years.

Dennis Busby and Chad Sessions, owners of RCA Logistics LLC, told the council last week that by bringing their current assets, building a facility, and adding the additional trucks, the total investment in the property in Opp would be $5.8 million.

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The agreement also is contingent upon the Alabama Department of Transportation’s agreement to help fund an access road.

Before the vote, Buck Moore, president of Buddy Moore Trucking, said that company officials are not happy that the council was thinking about bringing another trucking company to the area.

“We are here to be completely transparent with you,” Moore said. “We choose to do all of our business down here and we don’t have to, we are here because we want to be here.”

Moore said that he felt very strongly that if RCA Trucking moved to Opp, there would not be a fair playing field.

“We think that we are not being dealt with fairly,” Moore said. “To allow a competitor to come down the street and literally just give them property to go into business, we just don’t think that’s fair.”

According to Moore, they have 125 trucks and their entire fleet is tagged in Opp.

“I don’t think many of you understand how much we impact the economy here in Covington County,” Moore said.

Moore’s sister, Susan Moore Kirkpatrick, shared tax information detailing Buddy Moore Trucking’s impact to Opp.

“$46,461 of ad valorem tax goes to the city of Opp,” She said. “$22K goes to the school. Another thing, for the tires and equipment that we bought in 2017, we paid $13,411 of sales tax to the city of Opp. This year we have already paid $9,500 in sales tax. We love being a part of this community, and we do make a difference.”

Buddy Moore Trucking is headquartered in Birmingham. It expanded to Opp in 2013 when it acquired MSJ Trucking.

Moore said that the message came to Opp to share Monday was that if the agreement were approved, then Buddy Moore Trucking may pull all or part of their company out of Opp.

“We feel that strongly about it,” Moore said. “We want to be here, but we want to be dealt with fairly.”

Council members Chad Jackson, Charlotte Hunt and LaVaughn Hines voted for the agreement. Council members Gary Strickland and Skip Spurlin voted against.

“It’s like turning away four friends, for just one friend,” Strickland said after the meeting. “Moore trucking is already here, they provide so much for the community to risk having them pull out of Opp. That is just the way I see it. There is nothing personal about it, I respect Dennis [Busby], but I don’t want to lose Buddy Moore Trucking.”

Councilman Spurlin was not available for a comment.

Mayor Becky Bracke said it was a relief that the memorandum of understanding passed.

“This is a huge relief now that it is passed,” Bracke said. “I just hope that everybody will understand, and I hope that Buddy Moore Trucking will just wait and see and stay in Opp. There were several elements to this decision and the mayor has to think about all of those elements before making a hard decision.”