Construction moving outside city limits

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 21, 2002

It is an area that is expanding and will likely continue to expand in the future, say business leaders in Selma.

It is also an area that could bring additional revenue for the city. But so far there are no plans to expand the city limits in that direction.

The area is Highway 80 West, just outside the city limits of Selma, where new construction and new businesses seem to be flourishing.

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Hampton Inn, the new Alagasco building, a new Mr. Waffle restaurant, and the Central Alabama Farmers Co-Op are just a few of the businesses that have either built in the area or are planning to in the near future.

Although the area lies within the city’s police jurisdiction, it is outside the city limits.

When asked about the possibility of city annexation of the area, Selma City Council President George Evans said that the matter has not been discussed in any detail at recent council meetings.

“There really hasn’t been any discussion on it at all,” Evans said. “And the city has not made any plans, as of now, to take over the area.”

Jamie Wallace, president of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, and Wayne Vardaman, executive director of Selma’s Economic Development Authority, both say that the area is a prime location for development.

“No question about it there is a lot of growth out there,” said Vardaman, “and there will continue to be more growth.”

Said Wallace, “It really is a prime spot for development. There is a lot of activity occurring in that area.”

When asked if the city should annex the area, neither Vardaman nor Wallace offered any opinion, however.

“I cannot really on comment on whether it should be annexed or not,” Vardaman said.

Since the area lies in the city’s police jurisdiction, the city does collect some sales tax revenue, said Wallace. To collect the full amount, however, the city must have full ownership over the area, he said.

Even though it may appear to have advantages for the city, annexation is something which business owner Joann Butts says would jeopardize both her businesses and her financial situation.

Butts, who owns the new Mr. Waffle as well as the Crossroads Restaurant, both located in the area, said annexation would only end up doubling her taxes.

“Our taxes are already so high, we just can’t afford to pay any more taxes,” said Butts. “We’re just a small business, and increasing our taxes any further may cause us to go out of business. I am definitely against it [annexation].”

Added Butts, “I think if they do that, it will only prevent new businesses from coming into the area.”

Steve Flanagan, Selma’s district manager for Alagasco, a utility company that has a new building in the area, said that annexation would not affect his business.

“For us it really doesn’t matter, one way or the other,” said Flanagan.

“The main reason we located here is to better serve our customers in the Demopolis area.”