CHIPLEY — The City Council approved the first reading of two ordinances allowing the abandonment of right-of-way and of a 20-foot alleyway in preparation for the construction of a new Dollar General store in Chipley, but not without some controversy.
Council member Kevin Russell asked if the city shouldn’t charge for right-of-ways instead of abandoning them to property owners during Tuesday’s council meeting.
“Is there a reason we abandon property, isn’t there a way we can charge for this?” Russell asked.
“The property belongs to the public, there generally isn’t any tax revenue coming to the city from it,” said City Administrator Dan Miner.
Tom Hodges, representing Teramore Development, said he had never encountered a city trying to charge for right-of-way.
Resident Cheryl McCall said the state charges for surplus property and asked why the city couldn’t do the same. “The state asks for fair market value on their property,” she said.
Hodges said the company planned on building a new facility which would increase the value of the property and increase tax revenue for the city.
“And leave us with an empty building downtown,” Mayor Linda Cain said.
Hodges said nothing was set in stone yet, but that he was there representing the property owners, who are local residents.
Dollar General is looking to build a 12,480-square-foot market on U.S. 90, and would relocate the store which is currently downtown Chipley to the new location, which will be a bigger Dollar General store and will feature more groceries and have up to 50 coolers, Hodges told the council at their Dec. 11. The store would be located across from Gulf Power on U.S. 90 East.
Dollar General Corporation, based in Goodlettsville, Tenn. is the nation's largest small-box discount retailer, according to the website dollargeneral.com.
Dollar General ranks among the largest retailers of top-quality, such as Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark, Unilever, Kellogg's, General Mills and Nabisco.
Dollar General has 10,000 stores in located in 40 states and 11 distribution centers, according to the website, and posted $14.8 billion in sales.
The council eventually voted to approve the first reading of the ordinances, with Russell voting against the ordinances.
The ordinances will come before the council again in March.
In other business, the council reappointed Chipley Redevelopment Agency members Helen Daniel and Amy Wiwi; approved of a special event application for the Merchants of Historic Chipley to allow the closing of Railroad Avenue for “Flea Across Florida” in April; and accepted a low bid of $219,210.41 for an Florida Department of Transportation Sidewalk Project.