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Opelika council to vote on $63.2M budget

Opelika council to vote on $63.2M budget

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OPS Municipal Court

The Opelika City Council approved its $63.2 million budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 during its meeting Tuesday night.

The Opelika City Council will vote Tuesday night on a $63.2 million plan for next year’s budget and unveil new language that regulates where payday loan stores can do business.

The Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget goes into effect Oct. 1, as required by state law.

It projects sales tax collections to be off by about $1.2 million for next year, especially if local tourism takes a hit from less Auburn University football and basketball than usual.

The city will consider giving Opelika City Schools $3.3 million for help with operating expenses, as it does each year. The city also likely will spend an extra $140,000 next year to improve retirement benefits for its employees.

Payday loan changes

The proliferation of payday loan stores and other high-interest loan outlets in the city has gotten the attention of city leaders. The council will host a public hearing to vet new zoning language aimed at regulating where such businesses locate, including the following:

» “Studies have found that these uses tend to locate in lower income neighborhoods. In many instances, these uses cluster together which can have negative effects on surrounding properties,”

» Such “Alternative Financial Service Providers are prohibited unless the proposed use is located more than 2,500 feet from another financial service provider…”

» “Alternative financial service providers are prohibited unless the proposed use is located more than 200 feet from any property used primarily for a single-family residence…”

The council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Court chambers of the city’s new public safety building at 300 Martin Luther King Blvd.

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