Cullman County passes $57.8M FY 2019 budget


Left to right: Commissioner Kerry Watson, Chairman Kenneth Walker and Commissioner Garry Marchman (Wendy Sack for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – The Cullman County Commission on Tuesday passed its FY 219 budget. The $57.8 million budget includes a 3.14 percent step pay increase for all County employees. The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office will receive a lump sum equal to 3.14 percent for all employees for Sheriff Matt Gentry to dispense according to the CCSO’s pay scale. The CCSO also received funds to hire two new full-time deputies.

The FY 2019 budget is $3.6 million more than the FY 2018 budget, and County Administrator Gary Teichmiller, in paperwork provided to The Tribune, noted that the increase is primarily due to:

— a one-time draw down of Public Building Funds for Road Maintenance for $1.5 million

— the purchase of dump trucks- cost to be fully reimbursed from sale of six dump trucks for $.9 million

— a one-step merit increase for all full-time and part-time County employees for $.6 million

— an increase in health insurance cost not passed to employees for $.3 million

— the purchase of transportation buses and other equipment for C.A.R.T.S for $.3 million

The biggest chunks of the new budget go to the General Fund ($19 million, 33 percent), the Water Department ($12 million, 20.9 percent) and Road Department ($10.6 million, 18.3 percent). Of the General Fund, the lion’s share goes to the CCSO and Cullman County Detention Center ($11.4 million, 52 percent).

Sheriff Matt Gentry two weeks ago asked the commission for approximately $1.5 million in new funding for the CCSO and detention center for eight new patrol deputies, 11 new detention center deputies, one mental health deputy, one investigator assigned to the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office, an eight percent pay increase over two years (four percent each year) to bring deputies’ compensation up to the average pay for deputies across the state and 24-hour medical care onsite at the detention center. In the budget passed Tuesday, the CCSO received an increase of $211,814 and the detention center received an increase of $179,522 for a total of $391,366.

In old business, the commission discussed a volunteer who camps at Smith Lake Park. Due to liability issues, Cullman County Attorney Chad Floyd said he will draft a volunteer agreement for the gentleman to sign. The agreement will be presented to the commission at its next meeting.

In new business, the commission:

— held a public hearing on the FY-2018 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and passed Resolution 2018-34 authorizing Chairman Kenneth Walker to sign a resolution in support of “Project Purple,” committing local resources to assist in the resurfacing, widening and striping of two county roads. The project is expected to create about 50 jobs with an average hourly wage of $21.44, according to Cullman Economic Development Agency Existing Industry Coordinator Luke Satterfield. Details of the project are expected to be released soon.

— authorized Walker to sign the Alabama Department of Youth Services Agency Grant Agreement for FY 2018-2019 in the amount of $196,000

— approved and event agreement with Stellar Entertainment dba Garden Brothers Circus to host a family circus at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center on Sept. 28, 2018

— approved an agreement with the City of Hanceville for maintenance of Mud Creek at $15,000 for one year

— authorized the Cullman County Sales Tax and Revenue Enforcement Office to begin collecting the half-cent sales tax for the Town of Garden City. The office already collects the tax for the City of Good Hope, Town of Fairview, Town of Dodge City and City of Cullman. The City of Hanceville’s half-cent tax is collected by the state.

— authorized Walker and Floyd to sign consent order to settle two separate delinquent tax cases with two businesses

— granted approval to the Cullman Area Rural Transportation Service (C.A.R.T.S.) to order 14 buses to replace eight vehicles destroyed in the March 2018 hailstorm and purchase six replacement fleet vehicles for a total of $1.1 million ($884,620.80 in federal funds and $221,155.20 from the C.A.R.T.S. escrow account)

— approved Walker’s reappointment of Ron Hogue to the Library Board of Trustees for four years

— reappointed John Riley to the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) Revolving Fund Review Committee for three years

— appointed Doug Davenport to the North Alabama Tourism Association for two years, replacing Donny Wilson, who moved to the executive committee

— authorized payment to Gorrie-Regan & Assoc., Inc. for time clock maintenance contract- $7,578.20

— approved the surplus of a copier/scanner for the probate office to be disposed of as scrap

— approved a proposed plat for Hart’s Cove subdivision, located off County Road 2023

— approved a bond extension for Stillhouse Point subdivision, contingent on receipt of a bond continuation certificate

— rejected Bid No. 1291 for snow plows (reject and rebid)

— rejected Bid No. 1292 for traffic signs (reject and rebid)

The Cullman County Commission will hold its next work session on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 8:30 a.m. in the commission conference room and its next meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. in the commission meeting room. The work session and meeting are open to the public.

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