Cullman council passes $102M FY 2019 budget; city prosecutor, engineer named

W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune

On Monday evening, the council got a special visit from 2018 Oktoberfest Burgermeister Ben Harrison (center). (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – On Monday evening, with the deadline right in front of it, the Cullman City Council passed its fiscal year 2019 budget (Resolution 2019-01) in the total amount of $102,338,416, almost $45 million more than the budget passed by the Cullman County Commission last week.  The bulk of city expenditures will come from the $40,134,660 General Fund, plus dedicated funds that target local schools, streets, industrial development, city facilities, corrections and judicial costs, parks and recreation, downtown revitalization, Brunner Street projects, debt service, sewers and water, and the airport.

Expenditure highlights of the 2019 budget include:

  • Four percent raise for all full-time City employees; two percent cost of living, two percent merit
  • One-time pay adjustment of up to $600 for all full-time employees
  • Five percent increases in insurance premiums and retirement contributions absorbed by the City and not passed on to employees
  • Employee family Air Evac memberships renewed
  • Full individual memberships and discounted family memberships continued
  • Increased stipends for advanced EMTs and paramedics
  • New or upgraded facilities:
    • New sanitation facility on Convent Road and storage facility at the wastewater treatment plant
    • Old fire station at city hall to be renovated for accounting
    • Nesmith, Art and Eastside Parks to be renovated
    • TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) improvements on First Avenue Northeast
    • CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) improvements on Brunner Street Northwest
    • ATRIP (Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program) improvements for Eva Road Bridge
    • Reconstruction and repaving of West Main Avenue
  • New equipment:
    • New fire department pumper truck
    • Continue replacement of City computers and police fleet vehicles
    • New air packs and bottles for firefighters
    • New dump truck, two mini excavators and a directional boring rig for the water department

New City engineer and prosecutor

The council passed a resolution creating the position of city engineer, and appointed Crystal Lucas to that post. 

At the request of Councilman Garlan Gudger, an extra resolution was added and passed to hire Matthew Carter as city prosecutor.

Other council business

The council approved a special event request from Sarah Walker of the American Heart Association for a special event permit to hold a 5K Run and Fun Run starting at 8 a.m. in Depot Park on Nov. 17, 2018.

The council adopted several resolutions, including:

  • Resolution No. 2019-02 to amend the position control policy for the City of Cullman, Alabama.
  • Resolution No. 2019-03 to adopt the new employee pay matrix and job classifications for the City of Cullman, Alabama.
  • Resolution No. 2019-04 in support of October being Dyslexia Awareness Month and recognizing the Cullman City Board of Education for implementing the dyslexia program.  The Alabama State Board of Education’s amendment to the Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-1-.01(20) requires ongoing dyslexia specific professional development for teachers and other educational personnel and the provision of appropriate educational services for students with dyslexia.
  • Resolution No. 2019-05 to renew the contract with Air Evac for employee family coverage.
  • Resolution No. 2019-06 to create a job description for city engineer and appoint Crystal Lucas to that post.
  • Resolution No. 2019-07 to amend the advanced EMT and paramedic incentive policy for the City of Cullman.
  • Resolution No. 2019-08 to adopt a shift differential policy and provide an extra five percent pay for employees working night shifts.
  • Resolution No. 2019-09 to purchase identifying clothing for dispatch from special police funds.

The council also passed ordinances to:

  • Name a previously unnamed street located between Apel Carwash and Eva Bank/Borden Family Pharmacy “Turner Street” in honor of Mr. Wells Turner, a local pharmacist, developer and civic leader.
  • Amend Ordinance No. 2018-26 approving the new building and fire codes to rescind the International Energy Conservation Code edition 2015.
  • Amend Ordinance No. 2018-30 designating the officers of the City of Cullman and adding the position of city engineer.

The council approved multiple appointments and reappointments, including:

  • Steve Murphree to the Utilities Board
  • Tommy Waldrop to the Downtown Development Authority
  • Jeff Hill, Shawn Crider, and Mark Bussman to the Industrial Development Board

During the designated time for persons not on the agenda, the council heard from Lee Black, owner of Vapors, Inc. “vape” shop and Joshua Register of the Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama, who came to respond to comments made at the last meeting by Dr. Scott Warner.  Warner requested that e-cigarettes be classified in the same category as tobacco products under the Clean Air Act.  The two speakers did not oppose the doctor’s request in general but requested that vaping shops be exempted from the regulations, so customer can try products and devices inside shops.  The council agreed to take their request under consideration, and to put the issue on the Oct. 22 meeting agenda.

The next scheduled meeting of the Cullman City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22 in the Cullman City Hall auditorium.  The public is invited to attend.

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