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Boaz Ratepayers Paying More After Pilgrim’s Shutdown

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BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) -- Now that the Pilgrim's plant in Boaz is shut down the next priority for county and city leaders is to get another company back into that building.

Boaz Mayor Tim Walker says empty, the building is costing the city's utilities customers money. "Our utilities are hit pretty hard because they were dependant on that industry and that's the reason it's important to put something back in its place," Mayor Walker says.

The Boaz Wastewater Treatment Plant expanded several years ago. Part of the reason behind the expansion was because of the Pilgrim's plant and the service it would need. When the plant was operational the large amount of revenue generated from it helped even out the cost of the expansions.  Now that the plant has shut down Boaz utilities leaders say the customers are left to pick up the slack.

A joint statement from the Boaz water and gas boards reads in part: "Every effort will be made to minimize the impact this closure will have on the Boards' customers and employees. Unfortunately, because Pilgrims Pride was a very large part of the revenue received by both Boards, some adjustments will have to be made in order to maintain the financial stability of these operations."

Marshall County Economic Development President Matt Arnold says he's been speaking at length with Pilgrim's leaders about expediting the sale of the building. "I think Pilgrim's has been very straightforward with us," Arnold says, "Corporate has been very amenable to talk to us in this process."

Arnold says Pilgrims has agreed to keep a maintenance employee on site when the building is shown to future buyers. He says having someone who knows the building's inner workings will be a valuable asset to have while potential buyers tour it, and help to expedite the process.

Mayor Walker says Pilgrim's has been working to put together a strategy to get another company in as soon as possible. He says during meetings with the company's CEO and other managers he was able to shed light on the situation Boaz ratepayers are facing.  "I think the folks at Pilgrim's realize that and I think they are going to be very eager to help out and try to make something good for this local community."

Both Mayor Walker and Arnold say they are in the early processes of working sell the building. Pilgrim's corporation says it does not want to sell the building to a competitor in the business.

1 Comment

  • Mason Myatt

    Too bad the City of Boaz, through its political and business leadership, could not create a convincing rationale for Pilgrim’s to remain in Boaz. That they failed in that effort does not bode well for their ability to attract an equally beneficial facility to take its place. I know that at least one company that sought to locate here a few years ago was thwarted by the city’s fear that the plant would attract illegal immigrants or people of similar ilk. My suggestion at that time that we should concentrate on monitoring the employment practices of the company’s management rather than to concentrate on the status of future employees was met with derision. It seems that we haven’t the fortitude to take on the real culprits—-every single illegal immigrant working in America was hired by a person in an authority position with the particular business but we seem to ignore the failure to follow the law by those who do the hiring and worry, instead, about “them illegals who are taking over.” We could avoid the problems with labor if we had the nerve to require management to obey the law in its hiring practices.

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