PHENIX, CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - Many changes are on the table for Phenix City as there are plans to build a new fire station, new eating establishments, and new apartment complexes. This was discussed at the first of two special work sessions on Monday.
The biggest change on the table is a two percent cost of living pay raise for city employees in October 2019. Less than a year later, in April 2020, there will be an additional one percent increase for the roughly 460 employees.
“That’s just a cost of living increase to make sure that our employees are able to keep up with the cost of living and being fairly compensated,” said Phenix City Utilities Director Stephen Smith.
There’s planning for new commercial development like new fast food chains, gas stations, and convenience stores on Highway 431.
"We’ve just grown so much down there and there’s so much new housing and everything,” said Smith.
The city is also planning to open a new grocery store in January 2020.
“Many people have to drive to Columbus and spending their money in Georgia, and now they’re able to spend their money in Phenix City. It’s a partnership type of thing,” Smith explained.
One of the more expensive changes is a plan to build a new fire station in the southwest part of the city with the hope of construction beginning in 2021.
“We’ve just grown so much and there’s so much housing now and some of that housing is more than five miles from an existing fire station. So, we want to close that gap,” Smith said.
This would cost anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 million. This would be in addition to equipment like trucks and hiring a 12-man fire crew. They will begin framework next year.
“We are starting a longer-term plan for a fire station in our northwest section but that’s down the road,” said Smith.
They say homeowners who are five miles away from a fire station will have to pay higher home owners insurance. Phenix City city leaders said they want to grow with Columbus for future partnerships.