South Alabamian

‘Cross your fingers’ for PCA’s reopening, Mayor South urges

The Jackson City Council met late Monday afternoon by Zoom teleconference call. The council would have normally met on Tuesday but met a day earlier because of election day and the council chambers are used as a polling location.

Mayor Paul South said that PCA is still planning to restart the Jackson paper mill in September. “If not in September, then in October. We need to cross our fingers,” South said of a reopening.

The mill announced in April it would be taking downtime due to slowed paper sales because of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, plans were to resume operations in early July but the shutdown was extended through September.

Early in the shutdown, the mill kept some workers on to do maintenance.

PCA employs over 500 at its Jackson operations.

Voters list

Woodie Pugh, a Jackson citizen listening in, asked toward the end of the meeting why the municipal voters list was not published in the local newspaper this year. The list is normally published but this year the city opted to post the list in three places — at city hall, the local library and the police department.

Pugh is a former superintendent of education and an unsuccessful candidate for mayor four years ago.

He asked, “Are all the deceased people off” the list?

Mayor South said the decision was made not to publish the list by the city clerk and election manager to save money.

The South Alabamian had printed the list at a discount four years ago and offered the same price this year.

Jackson has an estimated population of 5,228 people. There are 3,988 on the voters list, or 76 percent of the total population.

Road money

The only action item on Monday’s agenda was to approve a transportation plan for the coming fiscal year as required by the Rebuild Alabama program which awards gas tax funds to municipalities for road projects.

South recommended applying for $50,000 in funds with a match of $50,000 from the city for a total of $100,000 and council members agreed.

Other items

South said work was to start on renovating the old Fred’s store to be a Tractor Supply Tuesday. He also said the Community Development Block Grant application for improvements to Cemetery Road have been submitted as has a grant application for a boat ramp and walking/nature trail in the Kimbell Lake area.

He asked council members to be thinking about projects to include in the new fiscal year budget. The budget will soon be prepared for the year starting Oct. 1.

South thanked all of the council members for their service and wished them well in the election. Council members in turn echoed his comments.

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