City trying to find a legal way to help Mater’s Pizza

Chris Roberts, right, is putting the finishing touches on his Mater's Pizza and Pasta Restaurant downtown. Early last month, Mayor Brian Baine and members of the city council toured the building under construction and saw a new sidewalk that Roberts wants them to help pay the costs to create. The city wants to, citing the expected economic development benefits to come, but they are awaiting a state attorney general's opinion to make sure the process is done legally.

Mater’s Pizza and Pasta came up at a Wednesday evening work session of the Fort Payne City Council as Mayor Brian Baine said they are still awaiting an opinion from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on whether they can legally go through the Amendment 772 process to help owner Chris Roberts offset his costs to re-do the sidewalk since the work has already happened.

Approved by Alabama voters in 2004, Amendment 772 set guidelines on how counties and cities could use taxpayer dollars to help recruit businesses, including such steps as purchasing and improving property, selling, leasing and granting property, granting public funds and issuing bonds.

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