City revenue up, expenses down; cuts to 2 big projects

Andrew Cryer

CULLMAN – Sales tax revenue was up by .5 percent, while expenses were down 7.5 percent in the city of Cullman for the last quarter of 2016, as compared to the same time in 2015.

Council member Jenny Folsom, who delivered the financial report at this week’s Cullman City Council meeting, thanked Mayor Woody Jacobs, as well as the city department heads for tightening the budget. Folsom says she didn’t expect expenses to fall; in fact, she expected them to be up with the recent raises that the City has given to employees; however, not only is city revenue rising, but so are requests for business licenses and building permits. Folsom reported revenue from business licenses has jumped by more than 324 percent and building permit revenue by almost 262 percent.

“It’s a sign that people are building and that things are happening in Cullman,” stated Folsom.

Also reported was that unemployment has fallen to 4.9 percent in the city of Cullman, which is the third lowest unemployment rate in the state of Alabama.  

The other big items of the night were the cutbacks on two big projects.

Fire Station No. 3- Two change orders were approved, reducing the cost by almost half a million dollars- $412,179.11.  The new station will be located on Alabama Highway 157 next to Merchants Bank. Eidson & Sons is handling the project. Eidson originally bid just more than $5.2 million. The new amount is now just more than $4.8 million.

Street Department Facility – Three change orders were approved, reducing the original bid from Building Construction Associates, Inc. by $239,800 and adding $332,500 for an extra storage building to be built to store building equipment and materials.

Police Chief Kenny Culpepper was given approval to competitively bid for an SUV, which will be used by the Cullman City Police Department, for the estimated amount of $32,184.  

A request from Ben Petty of Scout Marketing for a special permit to shoot a video in downtown Cullman to raise awareness of narcolepsy was approved. The video will be shot on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 11 a.m-9 p.m.

The council also granted the request of Stephen Gannon, a representative of 412 Public House LLC, for a restaurant alcohol license. The request received a favorable recommendation from the City of Cullman Alcohol Review Committee. The Public House, name subject to change, will be located at 412 Second Ave SE.

Other resolutions:

A bid for a bucket truck from Cullman Leasing, LLC, was approved in the budgeted amount of $37,000.

A 15-passenger vehicle will be purchased from Eckenrod Ford in the budgeted amount of $33,069.

Jacobs was authorized to purchase property adjacent to Heritage Park and the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center. This will cost the city $1.54 million, and the property will be managed by the Cullman City Parks and Recreation Department (CP&R). Jacobs was also authorized to enter into a master planning agreement, representing the City of Cullman, with Renta Urban Land Design, LLC. This master plan entails a green space plan as well as the creation of new parks to encourage walking.  CP&R will spearhead this project and further developments thereof.

Lastly, Jacobs was given the authority to negotiate the purchase of property for public purposes. Council member Johnny Cook abstained from the vote that otherwise passed unanimously.


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