Commission recognized for excellence in county government

Published 4:52 pm Monday, August 4, 2014

The Chilton County Commission will be recognized later this month in Orange Beach as the winner of the 2014 Excellence in County Government Rural Category.

Commission Chairman Allen Caton explained during the July 28 commission meeting that Chilton County received news from the Alabama Association of County Commissions (ACCA) that Chilton County won the award for 2014.

Caton told commissioners he applied for the award and told the ACCA about what the county had done in working to secure a new hospital.

“We sent in the application, and then we found out we won,” Caton said. “It is great to be recognized, and this is something we should all be really proud of. This is a tremendous thing for our county.”

The awards by the ACCA are intended to honor programs implemented by the commission and not its agencies or boards.

The awards are not to recognize those required programs that the county has carried out, but instead honor “special” efforts of county commissions to meet the needs of their community in an innovative way, according to awards packet information found on the ACCA website.

“Over the years, this award program has brought recognition to programs across the state ranging from innovative approaches to industry recruitment, to unusual efforts at solving community problems,” the packet said. “The 23rd Annual Awards for Excellence in County Government will be presented during the Annual Convention’s Awards Ceremony on Aug. 21. This awards program is designed to bring statewide attention to outstanding accomplishments on the part of the county government.”

The rural county category is awarded to a county with a population under 50,000.

The second excellence award is given to an urban county with a population of more than 50,000.

According to the packet information, the ACCA did not present a county with a rural county award in 2013.

Elmore County received the excellence in county government for the urban category in 2013.

Commissioners adopted a resolution in 2013 supporting a bill to be introduced in the 2014 Alabama Legislature for the funding of a new hospital in the county.

The bill called for a 1-cent sales tax increase, as had previously been agreed upon by local officials, including the county’s legislative delegation of Sen. Cam Ward and Rep. Kurt Wallace.

Chilton County voters overwhelmingly approved the 1-cent sales tax increase to fund the construction of a new hospital during the June 3 Primary Election.

Voters approved the measure by a count of 7,853 (79.6 percent) in favor to 2,012 (20.4 percent) against.

On June 4, the commission formally ratified the sales tax increase to fund the construction of a new hospital at a special meeting.

All seven commissioners voted unanimously to ratify the vote and set a date of Aug. 1 to begin collecting the tax, which would fund the construction of a new hospital facility to be operated by St. Vincent’s Health System off Highway 145 in Clanton.

A round of applause followed the vote.

Caton told commissioners the award would be presented during the annual ACCA convention held Aug. 19-21 in Orange Beach.

“I am just really proud we won this award, and it really highlights that we are moving forward in this county,” Caton said.