CCCDC awards almost $110K in grants

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This month’s CCCDC meeting saw a packed house. / Andrew Cryer

CULLMAN – The Cullman County Community Development Commission (CCCDC) met on Monday evening at Cullman City Hall, where they awarded almost $110,000 in grants to nonprofits, community organizations and municipalities across the county.

Funding for CCCDC grants comes from taxes-  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in lieu of taxes and beer taxes. The CCCDC began the evening with $209,980 in available funds; however, the board has a $100,000 reserve policy. Grants are capped at $12,000 and are not issued for more than that amount except under extraordinary circumstances.

One of these extraordinary circumstances, according to the Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview and Fairview High School, is the disrepair of the track at the school. The school requested $50,000 for the project, one that is similar to the projects completed using CCCDC money at both Hanceville and West Point High Schools; both of those schools had their tracks renovated thanks to CCCDC funding.

The request from Fairview was not approved, however, due to current drainage issues at the site of the track. There was a lengthy debate, during which commissioner Jamie Speakman stated that the drainage problems have caused damage to the track and will only set the school back into the same position in a few years. This lead commissioner Bradley Williams to question if the request was an efficient use of taxpayer money. After a vote requiring a majority to pass, the request was not approved. It was not declined, however. It will be heard again next month. The commission stated in no uncertain terms that Fairview High School Principal, Dr. Chris Gambrill, should be at the future meeting to address the commission’s concerns about the drainage issue.

Four requests were rushed in preparation for the upcoming school year, since it will begin by the time the next CCCDC meeting is held. Holly Pond and Vinemont Elementary Schools were awarded $9,653 and $12,000, respectively, to purchase Chromebooks. The Cullman Area Technology Academy received $12,000 of the $12,560 requested, also for the purchase of Chromebooks.  The Cullman County Board of Education CARE Program was awarded $10,000 for Chromebooks as well.

Additionally, the following requests were approved by the CCCDC:

  • $6,000 to the Cullman Senior Center for upgrades and repairs
  • $4,000 to the Colony Senior Center for upgrades and repairs
  • $8,000 to the Cold Springs Community Center for the purchase a generator
  • $12,000 to the Vinemont-Providence Volunteer Fire Department for cardiac arrest life-saving equipment
  • $12,000 to the Fairview Volunteer Fire Department for a firefighting skid unit
  • $12,000 to the City of Hanceville for sidewalk expansion to Wallace State Community College, which the City hopes will encourage walkability between shopping areas and the college.
  • $12,000 to the Cullman County 4-H Shotgun Club for the purchase of two skeet throwers and a trap machine

Several requests were denied by the commission, mostly due to not falling within the commission’s set parameters of economic and community development, education, conservation and fire protection.

  • $12,000 to Camp Liberty- denied for being too vague. Without anyone present to address concerns, the commissioners said the request can be resubmitted at a later date.
  • $12,000 to West Point Elementary School for its playground project. This was denied because it fell outside the commission’s set parameters (playgrounds).
  • $12,000 to The Crossing- denied for falling outside the commission’s set parameters (hygiene items).
  • $488 to the Boy Scouts- denied for falling outside the commission’s set parameters (salary).
  • $12,000 to the Logan Preservation Foundation- denied because it fell outside the commission’s set parameters (playgrounds).
  • $8,000 to CATA for a conference for students- procedurally denied because the conference has already taken place.

The following requests were tabled due to a lack of information and/or available funds.

  • $12,000 to the VFW for its Veterans Day Celebration- tabled due to the request being made too soon following a previous award (12-month waiting period). The commissioners also voiced concerns, saying they did not receive the required paperwork following the VFW’s last award. The VFW can re-apply closer to the date of the celebration.
  • $12,000 to the Oktoberfest Committee- tabled because commissioners said they did not receive the required paperwork following the Oktoberfest Committee’s last award.
  • The Cullman County Probate Office requested $12,000 to partially fund an ongoing project preserving historic documents of the county, but the grant received by the commission would only cover a portion of the cost. Per CCCDC rules, the recipient of a grant must prove what they used the money for, and must complete the project that grants were allotted for.
  • A request from the Cullman County Commission for $100,000 to be used to repave/resurface County Road 813 was tabled due to lack of funds. 
  • $50,000 for the Fairview High School track (see above)
  • Nonprofit group Life That Counts requested $12,000 for “positive youth development.” The commissioners said they need more information before they make a decision.

CCCDC board members are appointed by Alabama state legislators.

Board members are:

  • Jamie Speakman- appointed by Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman
  • Bradley Williams- appointed by Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope
  • Acting Chairman Joe Golden- appointed by Shedd
  • Josh Speakman- Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle

To learn more or to submit a grant application, visit http://co.cullman.al.us/cccdc/cccdc.html. The next meeting will be on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at Cullman City Hall.

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