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Center Point Council discusses legal fees, reports updates from retail recruitment

By Nathan Prewett

For the Tribune

CENTER POINT – An update on business recruitment efforts to the city was discussed at a short meeting of the Center Point Council on Thursday. Before then there was a discussion on the city spending money for legal fees.

The Center Point Council. Photo by Nathan Prewett.

During public comments, Center Point resident Billy Hagood asked the council if any of the department heads have ever been sued. Council President Roger Barlow said that they have not to his knowledge. Hagood then asked if any individual workers or council members have been sued.

Barlow replied, saying that any lawsuits filed against council members have not been successful. Hagood noted that the consent agenda listed a $2,722.50 invoice to Russ, White and Keller for legal fees and asked how many hours were spent on attorneys. Barlow said that it was 12. 1 hours.

Hagood stated that the fees were high because of lawsuits being filed against the city and suggested the council consider changing “the way we do business.” However, the council said that most of the fees were not about lawsuits and that any lawsuits are usually unsuccessful. Barlow said that at least half of the fees are not from lawsuits.

Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson said that many lawsuits are not even related to the city, giving an example of a man who was hurt at Pinson Elementary School and tried to file a lawsuit because Center Point Fire District had responded to him.

The council approved the consent agenda. Afterwards, the council voted to consider a memorandum of understanding with Jefferson County for debris removal. The purpose of the memorandum is coordination with the county in the case of a disaster.

In his comments, Henderson said that the industrial business that he had mentioned was coming to Highway 79 in an April meeting may finish setting up in September. He said that he still can’t mention the name of the company.

Councilor Linda Kennemur reported that the regular meeting of the community watch will start back on Sept. 5. Because of the new school year beginning this week, she urged people driving on the roads to be careful as traffic will increase and more children will be walking to and from school and bus stops.

Barlow reported that he and the mayor have been in touch with Aaron Farmer of Retail Coach about research that the retail recruitment company has been doing on Center Point. At a meeting on June 22, the council voted to allow Retail Coach to study the city’s demographics and suggests ways to attract businesses.

According to the study, Center Point’s trade areas have increased from 66,000 to more than 75,000. Trade areas are geographic areas where retailers draw business from.

“That’s a big deal,” Barlow said. “75,000 is a threshold that many stores, many retailers have when they’re considering a neighborhood to go into.”

He said that the median income has gone from 46,000 to more than 50,000. The next phase will have Retail Coach send Center Point’s demographic information to retailers that may set up businesses in the city.

Also on Thursday, the council went into executive session to discuss real estate acquisition. The council reconvened after 10 minutes to adjourn the meeting.

The next Center Point Council meeting will take place on Aug. 24 with pre-council at 6:45 p.m. followed by regular meeting at 7 p.m.

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