‘Happy to have found Hamilton’ n Love’s official speaks to council

HAMILTON - Love’s loves Hamilton.
In the wake of the announcement of a new Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store to be built in Hamilton, Love’s real estate project manager, William Gleason of Oklahoma City, Okla., appeared at the Hamilton City  Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
According to Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, Love’s is planning to purchase 20 acres on River Road Drive, right off of Interstate 22’s Exit 14, for a large truck stop.
The City of Hamilton owns a three-acre plot of land at the site.
The council entered executive session during the meeting to discuss the potential sale of real estate.
Halfway through the session, Hamilton City Attorney Scott Hunt invited Gleason to join the council in a separate room.
After a 30-minute closed session, the council resumed its regular meeting and Page asked Gleason to address the council and the public.
“On behalf of our founders, Tom and Judy Love, I like to just say how happy we are to have found Hamilton,” Gleason said.
Gleason explained that he was instructed to find a location for a new store location between Tupelo, Miss., and Jasper.
“Hamilton has turned out to be a great location,” Gleason said. “You guys are open for business. I look forward to this Love’s being built and all the business that it will bring to the city off I-22.”
The project manager said that since the first day he walked into city hall to share the plans for a new Love’s that it has been an exceptional experience.
“It’s been a real joy working this project. Thank you,” Gleason said.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said, “Hamilton, get ready for a Love’s. We’re going to have one.
“We’re looking forward to seeing a sign up by the interstate and trucks rolling in,” Page said.
In other business, the council:
• Unanimously agreed to increase the pay $4.15 for chief  operators and Grade 3 and 4 operators at the city’s waste water and water treatment plants.
Hamilton Water Superintendent Rodney Williams said that chief operators will now be making $22.30 an hour; Grade 3 and 4 operators will now make $21.30 an hour.
Grade 1 foremans and Grade 1 construction crew employees also received a $1.35 per hour increase, bringing their pay up to $19 and $18, respectively.
Williams said that he believes this will build retention in the water department and will make the city’s pay more competitive.
The city had not budgetted for pay increases in the current year; however, Williams said that had the council not done so, it faced losing more employees to other water departments in the surrounding are which are paying higher wages.