Cullman City Council approves FY 2023 budget

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Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs is seen at the Cullman City Council meeting Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Friday, Sept. 30, convened for its last meeting before beginning of FY 2023, which starts Oct. 1. On the agenda were several items of interest including the budget for FY 2023, the appointment of City officers and City pay increases. 

The City’s general fund went to $52,899,395 based on actual revenue collection this year with the budget increasing by 9% due to inflation. All City of Cullman employees will receive a 6% cost of living raise with an $800 additional supplement going to all full-time employees this November. The City will also absorb the 7.5% increase in health care premiums to employees. 

Local sales and property tax will see $9 million going to city schools with another $1 million from the City going toward the construction of a new access road at Cullman City Primary School. An additional $600,000 will go toward the school system’s capital improvement plan. 

Approved grant projects include the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Warnke Road in the amount of $1.3 million. A Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for the streetscaping of Arnold Street, Clark Street and Second Avenue Northeast for $1.2 million has also been approved. Potential upcoming grants include funds for the widening of U.S. Highway 278 and Logan Avenue. 

The street department’s budget is more than $7 million, with $3.5 million specific to paving.  

The new pay scale for the Cullman Police Department and Cullman Fire Rescue was approved. 

Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism will see work continuing on the new civic center complex with grants funding Depot Park green space expansion and OTR trails at Palomino RV Resort. Heritage Park, WildWater and East Side Park will see upgrades in the year as well. 

Cullman Regional Airport will have $1.5 million for the construction of a 100-footx100-foot hangar, which will allow for vast improvement potential in the coming years. 

Mayor Woody Jacobs shared news that the road reconstruction on Second Avenue Northeast did not meet inspection requirements and the subcontractor will be required to repave the project. 

The following requests were approved: 

  • A special event request from Emily Trahan of St. Paul’s Church for a Reformation Fun Run and 5k on Oct. 29, 2022 
  • A special event request from Lynsey Todd of Warehouse District Merchants to close First Avenue Northeast on multiple Saturdays in November and December for Christmas in the Warehouse District 
  • A special event request from Adam Clark of the Cullman Police Department to hold the annual Trunk or Treat on Oct. 26, 2022 
  • A special event request from Karen Speegle of Seventh Street Baptist Church to hold the annual Fall Fest at the church on Oct. 30, 2022 
  • A request from Puckett’s, to be located at 6076 Alabama Highway 157 for a restaurant retail liquor alcohol license which received a favorable recommendation form the City of Cullman Alcohol Review Committee 
  • A request from The Venue at Cotton Creek located at 417 Third Ave. SW for a “Special Events more than 30 days” alcohol license which received a favorable recommendation form the City of Cullman Alcohol Review Committee 

The following ordinance and resolutions were approved: 

  • First reading of Ordinance No. 2022-32 to amend the department heads of the City of Cullman 
  • Resolution No. 2022 -112 to enter into Community Service Contracts for FY 2023 budget that updates titles of department heads 
  • Resolution No. 2022 -113 to adopt pay matrix job descriptions job classifications and pay increases for FY 2023 budget 
  • Resolution No. 2022 -114 to appoint officers of the City of Cullman 
  • Resolution No. 2022 -115 to adopt the annual FY 2023 budget 

Public comments 

When the meeting was opened for public comments, one city resident and three county residents spoke out against the upcoming Cullman Comes Out event on Oct. 8 citing concerns for “Christian values,” traffic logistics, Leninism, monkey pox, Satan worship and gangs.  

City resident Boyd Langford asked for the special event permit to be revoked as “not even a mask over the rectum will slow the spread (of monkeypox) nor flatten the proverbial curve.” Langford voiced his fear that the spread of monkeypox is far graver than the COVID-19 pandemic and referred to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey as “the shutdown queen in Montgomery.” 

Langford and another speaker also voiced concerns over possible traffic issues which they expect to come with the event. Cullman Comes Out, their event of concern, is scheduled the weekend following one of the city’s largest downtown festivals Oktoberfest. The following three speakers were residents of Cullman County, not within city limits, and voiced similar concerns.  

An online copy of the City of Cullman FY 2023 budget will be posted once it is made available. 

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