Commission waiting on decisions to finalize budget

Published 12:35 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission continued to work towards ratifying its budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1 at its meeting on Sept. 13.

Butch Billingsley made public comments about requesting the commission to continue its $50,000 appropriation of funds given to the Chilton County Firefighters Association for 2022 and 2023.

While the commission told Billingsley they would take his request into consideration, Commissioner Joseph Parnell made comments about the commission not being able to ratify their budget at the meeting due to not knowing if they will need to pick up the Chilton County Board of Education’s portion of the P25 system contract. If so, the commission will need to alter other portions of their budget to balance it.

“We have things pending with the board of education that very much affects our ability to balance our budget,” Parnell said. “If they withdraw from that (contract), in order for us to balance our budget … we are going to have some shortfalls we need to address depending on how their meeting goes. That is why we are not ratifying a budget tonight, and there are several things that are in limbo.”

Commissioner Joe Headley expressed his support of continuing the appropriation of funds to the Firefighters Association during his commissioner report. Billingsley was asked to come to the commission’s work session on Sept. 20 to explain how the fire departments get the money, and how they utilize it.

The commission’s goal is to have the budget balanced and ready for ratification by their next meeting on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. The next BOE board meeting is on Sept. 20, and there is expected to be a vote on the future of the contract.

Parnell gave an update on utilizing the county’s investment monies, and asked for a resolution to move the CD investments to treasury bills. There is not a definite answer to the rate of return on the investments, because that number is based on how much treasury bills are selling for the day the investment monies are placed into the account.

Parnell said he and county administrator Sylvia Singleton asked for quotes on the treasury bills for Sept. 13, and the county got back two quotes that were a full interest percentage point higher than the CD rates. It would yield around $65,000 higher per month in interest, according to the treasury bill rates that day. That would give the commission over $700,000 more in interest per year if they invested in the treasury bills rather than the current CDs.

A resolution to move the CDs to treasury bills for investments purposes was approved unanimously.

The meeting was the third for nominations for the two vacant spots on the Industrial Development Authority board — one a three-year term, and the other a three-month term. Commissioner Matthew Mims removed Wade Connell from consideration, but nominated Ricky Green for consideration. Connell asked for his name to be removed because he was recently added to a state-level board. Commission Chairman Jimmie Hardee nominated William “Bear” Newton, and Jacqueline Sullivan and Richard Worthington were up for nomination.

Worthington was elected to fill the three-year term position in a 5-1 vote. Commissioners Randell Kelley, Darrell Bone, Headley, Mims and Hardee voted for Worthington, and Parnell voted against and Williams abstained.

Newton was elected to fill the three-month term position in a 5-1 vote. Headley, Parnell, Hardee, Kelley and Bone voted for Newton, and Mims voted no and Williams abstained.

County grant writer Cara Stallman gave the commission an update on the requests for qualifications (RFQs) for engineering firms to do the engineering for the grant application at Exit 200. The county must bid out the engineers before applying for the application for the grant, and to make sure the engineering firms are paid with the grant money.

A decision on which firm is due by Sept. 30 at 4 p.m., and engineers will submit statements of qualifications to the commission before that date. Hardee, Kelley and Mims will review the RFQs and make a recommendation to the commission as to which one to go with.

Parnell asked Hardee to form a committee to address the subdivision regulations, as it was brought to his attention by a prominent home builder in the county that there may be restrictions that are burdensome for growth. There are also concerns on holes in the wording of the regulations that are allowing RV parks to pop up in the county, while the regulations are supposed to prohibit them.

Williams said he hopes to have a list of land with acreage and location that the county owns in hopes to begin selling the land they do not use. He said he should have the list at the first work session in October.

Also, during the meeting the commission:

  • Approved Hardee to sign an agreement between L2 Architects and the Chilton County Commission to build a Public Safety Building for the Emergency Management Agency.
  • Renewed the annual bids for road materials for the road department.
  • Removed an employee from the road department payroll, approved permission to hire a replacement operator and approved hiring Chris Parker as a truck driver effective Sept. 14.
  • Approved hiring Jaylen Tillis to the litter department effective Sept. 14.
  • Awarded Thomas Oil the bid for gasoline for the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Approved the claims list, however, Williams abstained from voting on it.