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July 21, 2013

Wallace State considering deal to bring all school property into Hanceville for sewer access

HANCEVILLE — Hanceville, its water department and Wallace State Community College are negotiating a deal to bring all of the school’s property into the city for sewer access.

The proposed agreement would also allow Wallace State campus police to use Hanceville’s emergency dispatch, city jail and court system. But although the Hanceville City Council and its water department unanimously approved an agreement last week, Wallace State has yet to sign.

“No deal has been reached yet,” said Kristin Holmes, Wallace State communications director, Tuesday.

Mayor Kenneth Nail said he is concerned the water board decided to cut the initially discussed 10-year waiver of sewer impact fees for Wallace to five years. Impact fees are charged to new sewer customers.

“I’m hoping we can work something out and revise the agreement so we can meet in the middle on this,” Nail said of the length of the waiver.

Nail said he and Hanceville Council President Jimmy Sawyer had a “productive meeting” with Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Hawsey Wednesday about the issue. Any changes to the agreement would have to be approved by the water board.

Nail believes the deal will be mutually beneficial for the city and the college which sits on roughly 300 acres with about 7,000 students.

“With the entire campus coming into the city, there are several parcels contiguous to it that could possibly annex into Hanceville,” Nail said.

Under the proposed arrangement, Wallace State would pay a commercial customer sewer rate, and any rate increases would be spread across the entire system.

Wallace State will be responsible for maintaining its sewer lines and pumping stations on campus and must monitor its waste water to prevent any possible industrial waste water from entering Hanceville’s system.

As far as police services, campus police will be allowed to use Hanceville’s dispatch, jail and municipal court. The city would retain court fines and costs, and it would not be responsible for any of Wallace State inmates’ medical bills. Records on Hanceville and Wallace State inmates would be kept separate, per the agreement.

“I think sharing the resources will have a very minimal impact on city,” Nail said. “We won’t get revenue from the school because they don’t pay taxes, but if those other properties nearby decide to come into the city, we would get more property taxes and add to our population.”

Tiffeny Owens can be reached at towens@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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