ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - On Monday, the Alexander City City Council voted to move city hall from its current location downtown to Highway 280. The vote was 4 to 2 and came after much debate.
Since the proposal passed, the city will now purchase the former Russell Sales Office off Highway 280 along with 56 acres of land surrounding the area.
On that property are four duplex homes. Those duplexes are housed by eight families.
Michelle Jones, her 8-year-old daughter, and Jones’s mother have lived in one of the duplexes for four years. When Jones found out the city would be purchasing the land her duplex is on, she was shocked.
“We’re being forced to make a decision that it takes a family years to make. We have been in the dark," Jones said.
Jones said she didn’t find out until a few days before Christmas that her family’s future was up for debate.
“We found out that we had six months to leave here at this last city council meeting. Prior to that, we did not know anything until right before Christmas that the sales office was even a big topic with the mayor and city hall,” Jones said.
At Monday night’s city council meeting, when the council voted to move forward with the purchase, Jones, along with the other residents who live in the duplexes, was told she has six months to move out.
“The first thing somebody should have done is come and knocked on our doors and let us know. I know if I was a city representative or a landlord that’s what I would have done, and I would have given the residents tangible information," Jones said.
Jones said she questions the city’s transparency and wonders why she, and the others living on the property, were not told sooner.
“Our mayor [Jim Nabors], our city council and our landlords have not given these eight families...they have not given us any transparency whatsoever. They have not contacted us or anything," said Jones.
To which Alexander City Mayor Jim Nabors responded, “That’s been publicized at council meetings and things like that. We’ve talked about how much time they need to get out and that’s an excuse and nothing else.”
At Monday night’s city council meeting, city council member Buffy Colvin was against the city purchasing the former Russell Sales Office and the land surrounding it, and pleaded to the city to compensate those having to move because of the sale.
“Well, I’m the one that should get compensated. Why would you do that for them and not somebody else who’s got to move?" Nabors said.
Nabors said moving the town’s city hall was something that needed to be done.
“It’s old and everything needs to be replaced for the most part, so it’s just a way to bring all the parts of the city together so that we have a much more efficient operation," Nabors said.
The vacant Russell Sales Office off Highway 280 will become the town’s new city hall and police department, and Nabors said it should be ready within the next 12 to 15 months.
It will cost the city $9 million that will be paid over the next 10 years.