Commission discusses finances, projects

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Chilton County Commission discussed finances and potential projects during a meeting on Jan. 11.

The commission is making its next payment on its option to purchase property at Interstate 65, Exit 200. In a previous meeting, it was mentioned that at this time there is a 50/50 chance of a business or industry being interested in locating there.

Commissioner Allen Williams said the subject of debt limit had come up at a previous meeting, and he was concerned that spending now may delay future plans for a new courthouse. Maintenance concerns at the current courthouse has prompted recent discussions of a new building.

Williams said combining the cost of the Exit 200 property and the county’s portion of the grant for a sewer system for the site would total $2 million.

“We are just adding to our debt,” Williams said.

He said the commission needs to look at reducing debt “if we are going to look at spending the kind of money we are going to have to bond out for a new courthouse.”

“When we are talking with companies that are interested in coming (to the site), that is going to be part of those (negotiations) helping pay that for the sewer, the way I understand it,” Commission chair Jimmie Hardee said.

Williams said the money that was being spent on purchasing the property ($850,000 total) could have been used to pay down existing debt.

“We’re investing money to make money,” Hardee said. “That’s the way I look at it.”

Four payments of $20,000 have been paid on the option to purchase, and the next payment of $20,000 was about to be paid. Securing the option on the property had been approved at the July 13, 2021 commission meeting. A final decision to purchase the property has not been made. Purchasing the property would be an additional $750,000.

Commissioner Matthew Mims said it was a good price for land near the interstate.

Williams expressed concern that the property was too steep to be built on.

Also during the meeting, the Commission:

  • Reclassified an employee from contract to part-time.
  • Approved putting the 2021 County Rebuild Alabama certificate of compliance in the minutes for the meeting.
  • Approved A form for department heads to fill out to request new employees to create consistency.
  • Approved allowing payroll deduction option for LegalShield.
  • Heard an update from Hardee that the 911 Board was meeting about an ambulance contract on Jan. 13. He said he should have more information for the Commission after the meeting.