CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening passed the City’s 2024 fiscal year budget. The new budget totals $55,290,609, a 4.5% increase over 2023’s budget, which was $52,899,395. The council said the increase is due to inflation. The budget will go into effect Oct. 1.
Council President Jenny Folsom said full-time City employees will receive a 6% pay raise, along with an $800 annual pay supplement. The City will absorb the 7.5% increase in dental and health insurance costs for employees. Cancer insurance for firefighters will continue. The City is also committed to a 10-year capital improvement project for Cullman City Schools, with a capital improvement plan allocation of $600,000 for the fiscal year, plus approximately $10.4 million from local property and sales taxes.
Councilman Brad Smith announced the City’s plans to enhance public safety by hiring additional personnel. The City will add three new police officers and three firefighters to strengthen law enforcement and emergency response. Two new dispatchers will also be hired to improve communications within the public safety system.
Councilman David Moss said there will be no increases in water and sewer rates in 2024, and the usual annual rate adjustment will be waived.
Speaking of public works, Council President Pro-Tem Johnny Cook said grants have been secured for several infrastructure projects, including road improvements and safety enhancements. Notable projects include paving improvements, the installation of a traffic light for pedestrian safety on Main Avenue Southwest at Sheraton Road and the CSX Crossing Improvement project for a quiet zone from Eighth Street North to Ninth Street South. The CSX project is budgeted at $785,000.
Cook also shared that residential sanitation fees will remain unchanged for the upcoming year, with inflationary adjustments waived. The sanitation department will receive new equipment to support its operations.
Councilman Clint Hollingsworth revealed that the Cullman County Museum will undergo building improvements, including appliance and window upgrades. Hollingworth also shared that several Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism facilities will see enhancements, such as the new civic center complex, Heritage Park and pickleball courts.
Cullman resident Lance Conn addressed the council regarding an article in The Cullman Tribune (www.cullmantribune.com/2023/09/09/county-commissioners-sign-clean-up-alabama-petition-regarding-libraries), particularly comments from Cullman County Commissioner Garry Marchman.
“It is completely inappropriate for our elected officials to target specific communities of people and for us to let that stand,” Conn said in response to comments made by Marchman regarding the signing of the Clean Up Alabama petition. “Our state and our county has a history of allowing the majority to beat up the minority, whether that be based on the color of our skin, the choice of our religion or the sexual orientation, in gender identity of our families. My point in speaking here tonight is the shed light on something that is happening within our county and within our city and to stand against it,” Conn said.
Conn implored the city council members, both individually and collectively, to reach out to the library board and the county commission. He urged them to express their unwavering support for the current library leadership and policies.
The following public hearings were held:
- For Ordinance No. 2023-33 to rezone Alumni Properties of Alabama, LLC property located at Cherokee Avenue and Swafford Road Southwest from B-1 to B-2
- For Ordinance No. 2023-35 to expand the Special Events and Art Districts in the City of Cullman
The following special event request was approved:
- A special event request from Kelly Pulliam of CPRST for the annual Oktoberfest to be held Sept. 28-30
The following resolutions and ordinances were approved:
- Resolution No. 2023-76 to award bid for concrete materials to Ready Mix USA, the lowest responsible bidder
- Resolution No. 2023-77 to award bid for one or more flat-bed trucks to Eckenrod Ford Lincoln of Cullman, Inc., the lowest responsible bidder, in the amount of $59,929
- Resolution No. 2023-78 to accept the CDBG ($200,000) and ARC Grants ($500,000) which will fund a portion of the County Road 222 Road Improvement Project
- Resolution No. 2023-79 to enter into a contract with Community Consultants to administer the County Road 222 Road Improvement Project
- Resolution No. 2023-80 to execute a contract amendment with Rogers Group, Inc. to include resurfacing activities associated with grant projects
- Resolution No. 2023-81 to enter into a maintenance agreement with ALDOT to maintain sidewalk and ditch inlets and pipe on Cherokee Avenue Southwest
- Resolution No. 2023-82 to renew the contract with Air Evac for city employees
- Resolution No. 2023-83 to adopt the fiscal year 2024 budget beginning on Oct. 1
- Resolution No. 2023-84 to adopt the employee pay matrixes, job descriptions and job classifications
- Resolution No. 2023-85 to adopt the position control for the fiscal year 2024
- Resolution No. 2023-86 to enter into community service contracts for fiscal year 2024
- Resolution No. 2023-87 to waive the inflation adjustment and not increase the water, sewer and sanitation rates for residential customers located in the City of Cullman
- Resolution No. 2023-88 to authorize a one-time appropriation to the North Alabama Agriplex
- Resolution No. 2023-89 to authorize a one-time appropriation to the Good Samaritan Health Clinic
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-33 to rezone Alumni Properties of Alabama, LLC property located at Cherokee Ave and Swafford Road SW from B-1 to B-2, which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-35 to expand the Special Events and Art Districts in the City of Cullman, which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-36 to annex 96 County Road 1313 as R-1 Residential District, which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-37 to annex 68 County Road 1313 as R-1 Residential District, which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-38 to annex 297 County Road 1403 as R-1 Residential District, which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-39 to annex 474 County Road 1335 as R-1 Residential District, which received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission
- First Reading of Ordinance No. 2023-40 to issue General Obligation Warrants Series 2023 for the landfill project
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