By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Moody Chamber of Commerce held their Political Forum where the local municipal candidates were allowed to debate the issues confronting the growing City. Incumbent Moody Mayor, Joe Lee is being challenged by lifetime Moody resident Fred Moody for the St. Clair County City’s highest office.
Mayor Lee told voters, “I have built relationships with the council, with the county, and with the state that qualifies me to be your mayor.” Lee said that the relationships he has developed over the years allow him to get things done for the city. Lee cited his ten years of experience as Mayor, twenty years of experience in city government, and thirty years of experience as a small businessman in the city as his qualifications for the post.
The challenger, Fred Moody said he was here in the 1960s when the City was being incorporated, was involved in zoning during the 1970s, and has been very involved in city affairs and attending the City Council meetings over the last six years.
Both candidates said that they support using incentives to lure economic development to the City. Lee said, “I do support economic development.” The veteran Moody Mayor cautioned that every business is different. You would treat a national grocery store chain differently than a fast food restaurant and a fast food restaurant differently than a travel center.
Mr. Moody said that the revenue for the city is 60 to 70% from retail. We need to encourage all new businesses, especially retail, to come into Moody.
Mayor Lee said, “Other than the people, one of the biggest assets we have is the property we have purchased parallel to I-20.” Lee said that the 36 acre site on Carl Jones Road, “is the next growth area of Moody.” “You will be able to spend your money there and those retail dollars will go back into the city.” Lee said that the city is in negotiations with grocery stores to locate in the city. Lee said that the 36 acre commercial development site owned by the city with another 10 acres under option will eventually be a place where the residents of Moody will be able to by groceries, clothes, dry goods, and electronics. In the future Moody residents will be able to do all of their shopping in Moody if they so choose. Lee said that the city is also working on developing commercial property at its second interstate 20 exit, Brompton.
Moody is currently well served by Food Giant. Its second major Grocer, Food World, closed when the Brunos chain filed for bankruptcy. That space has since been filled by a Freds store; but the city still would like a second large grocer to supplement the shopping choices capably provided by Food Giant.
Fred Moody while supportive of the Carl Jones Road and I-20 commercial development said that he would like to see the city less involved in real estate. He felt that development should be left to private developers.
Both Mayoral candidates support seeing Hwy 411 five laned from where the existing five lane U.S. Highway bottlenecks into a two lane all the way into the City of Odenville. The Alabama Department of Transportation recently took that project off of its five year plan. Mayor Lee said that the city is also looking at building a cutoff road connecting James Taylor Road to Kelly Creek Road and I-20 as well as parallel roads to Hwy 411 as ways to deal with traffic in the city.
Mayor Lee said that the city will soon connect the Moody sewer system with the Argo and Margaret sewer systems and there will not be a sewer rate increase for residents on sewers.
Mr. Moody said that the 6.5 year lawsuit he has against the city has nothing to do with his running for Mayor and that he expects that that case is imminently about to be settled. Mr. Moody said, “I would like to put the people back in the forefront so that they can be served.”