County proclaims Human Trafficking Awareness Month; parks employees recognized

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The Cullman County Commission poses for a photo with employees of Cullman County Parks and Recreation Tuesday morning. (Nancy Bryant)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Commission at its meeting on Tuesday proclaimed January Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Cullman County. Many municipalities across the county have also signed proclamations. On had Tuesday to receive the commission proclamation were Brooks’ Place/Child Advocacy Center (CAC) Executive Director Gail Swafford and Forensic Interviewer Blakely Hopper.

The commission also recognized Cullman County Parks and Recreation Director Doug Davenport and the staff at Sportsman Lake Park for their hard work during Sportsman Lake Park Winter Wonderland Christmas lights display. A proclamation was read praising the team for attracting more than 8,000 cars to this year’s Winter Wonderland. Besides the nearly 2 million lights on display, the event entertained thousands with sleigh rides, carriage rides, train rides, hot cocoa, Santa Claus and more.

Commissioners will interview candidates to fill the Cullman County Engineer position. Former Cullman County Engineer John Lang announced his resignation in November, and Assistant Cullman County Engineer Jon Brunner is acting as interim county engineer. Interviews will take place Jan. 21at 1 p.m. in the commission conference room. Eight applicants met the qualifications for the position.

Local contractor Mark Powell addressed the commission during public comments regarding Dumpsters, saying, “I don’t understand why we have to pay $900 for a Dumpster in Cullman when we can get one for $300 out of Addison.”

Powell described the practice as a “monopoly” and explained the burden the requirement placed on small business owners.

Commission Chairman Kenneth Walker responded, “One of the reasons our Dumpsters are so expensive is because the dumping fee we have at the landfill. We don’t own our own landfill.”

A resolution set by a previous commission (Resolution 2000-16 from January 2000) prohibits out-of-county entities from performing sanitation or roll off services in Cullman County.

Commissioner Garry Marchman suggested that the resolution be looked at, adding, “We don’t need to be in the business of being in business.”

The commission also approved the following items:

  • Resolution 2020-08 to continue the collection of half-cent sales tax for the Cullman City School Board and Cullman County School Board voted on by the people March 13, 2012 (Resolution 2012-19)
  • Purchase of a final drive for newly acquired CAT track loader
  • Surplus of a 963 track loader from the garage
  • Designation of bank for depositories for Cullman County funds
  • Ratified purchase of right hand steer of existing curb tender units
  • Cullman County Emergency Operations Plan
  • Appropriation of $10,000, requested from local census committee, for the 2020 Cullman County Counts campaign
  • Change orders to the metal roof of the Cullman County Courthouse
  • Renewal of the ACCA liability self-insurance for $395,725.91, a 1.1% increase from last year
  • Authorized Walker to sign an agreement with Loomis Brothers to host a family circus event at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center
  • Authorized Walker to sign an agreement with Post Panda Promotions to provide live entertainment/musical acts for the three summer festivals at Smith Lake Park (Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day/ Sweet Tater Festival)
  • Set date for county engineer interviews for Jan. 21, 2020 beginning at 1 p.m. in the commission conference room
  • Plat for Creekside Estates Subdivision located in District 3 on County Roads 1494 and 1498

Controversy

More than 100 supporters of nonprofit Victim Services of Cullman attended Tuesday’s commission meeting to voice concerns regarding the organization’s building possibly being sold.

Although an appraisal was given on the building, according to Chairman Kenneth Walker, “The building is not for sale publicly, but to them (Victim’s Services).”

Victim Services Executive Director Carol Horstman was still unsure after the meeting about the future of the building. She hopes to remain at the current location.

She said, “There are repairs that need to be made on this building and we can try to get funding from our grants to take care of that if we had assurance in writing. We just wanted some clarification of where we stood.”

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