Alabama city pays $1.3M for property, but won’t tell anyone what they bought or why they bought it

Published 4:49 pm Saturday, October 9, 2021

A central Alabama city agreed to spend $1.3 million to purchase property, but leaders refuse to disclose what they bought or why.

The Prattville City Council voted to spend the money on what’s known publicly only as “Project KATZ,” the Montgomery Advertiser reported Friday. Residents have expressed concerns about the secrecy, but state law allows local governments to buy property without disclosure until 60 days after the deal closes.

Council President Jerry Starnes voted for the purchase but said the situation was far from perfect.

“I don’t like not being able to tell the public what we are doing,” he said. “But sometimes when you are dealing with a seller, you have to play by their rules and stipulations. I think when it does come out, people will understand that it is a good move for Prattville and the future of Prattville.”

Council member Marcus Jackson abstained from the vote, saying the council as a whole doesn’t know what the final plans are and citizens have a right to know what’s going on.

Council member Blair Gornto, who voted against the purchase, said residents had approached him expressing their concerns about the secrecy surrounding the deal.

The city is currently undergoing a downtown revitalization that includes the renovation of an old cotton gin factory that is being converted into apartments.