Commission adjusts lodging tax agreement on hotel

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission made a slight adjustment to their lodging tax agreement on bringing a hotel to Exit 205 at its Sept. 27 meeting.

The adjustment was prompted by updated audit information from the future business owners. Chairman Jimmie Hardee said the original value of the projected revenue of $3 million was off by about a half a million dollars, and the new number sits at $2.5 million.

The original agreement with Mansa Hospitality LLC was a rebate of 3% of the lodging tax the hotel brings in for 10 years or $1 million, whichever comes first. A resolution to change the number of years from 10 to 15 was presented, but the 3% and to not exceed $1 million will remain the same. The 15 years will not begin until the construction of the hotel is complete and they have opened their doors for business.

The resolution passed unanimously 5-0, with commissioners Matthew Mims and Joseph Parnell absent from the meeting.

The commission approved a resolution unanimously to allow Hardee to negotiate with Chilton County Board of Education on providing payment for their portion of the P25 countywide emergency communications system. Hardee said he is planning to meet with the BOE this week.

The commission voted 4-1 to sign the contract with Motorola for phase 2 of the P25 system that would erect two new towers in the county.

Commissioner Allen Williams was the only no vote, and had some concerns about the coverage area the new towers would provide and dead spots in certain places. However, Chilton County 911’s Trae Caton said the project to get coverage for those dead spots are a separate project, according to Motorola. The contract that was being voted on did not include that project, and Williams wanted clarification before voting. Williams said he was unaware that the project to address the dead spots was not included which led him to vote no, and he is in full support of getting the P25 system into Chilton County.

“I am 100% behind P25, and anyone that knows me knows that,” Williams said after the clarification from Caton. “I want this system done, and a complete package.”

The commission approved the budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023 at the meeting in a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Joe Headley voted no, and said his reason was the $50,000 appropriation to the Chilton County Firefighters Association was not included in the budget. Hardee said the appropriation was not included because the county looks at the fund for the fire association on a year-to-year basis, and they have done well with the funds given to them in the past and needed to balance their budget.

“We appreciate our volunteer fireman all around,” Hardee said. “We need to make sure we cover all areas. We have helped the fire association for the last three years, and they been good stewards with it.”

Commissioner Randell Kelley commended the association for how they have managed their funds having some of the appropriation from last year still available. The fire association has $30,000 left over from the appropriation last year.

Hardee said if there is an emergency that affects the county as a whole, and the fire association needs additional funds, they can come ask the commission for assistance.

Resolutions to transfer line items in each fund as necessary to balance the 2022-2023 budget, and to roll over the additional funds from the 2021-2022 fiscal year to the next were passed unanimously.

Also, during the meeting, the commission:

  • Heard a request by Commissioner Darrell Bone for a resolution to put security lights around the playground at Higgins Ferry. It was approved unanimously.
  • Approved the Sheriff’s Office to hire Jimmy Ray Blankenship as a full-time corrections officers effective Oct. 1.
  • Passed a request to hire a temporary emergency hire for the Appraisal Office, remove an employee from the road department payroll and permission to hire a replacement laborer.
  • Approved the transit department to hire Richard Williams, Steve Robinson and Tony Emfinger as operators effective Sept. 28.
  • Approved a request for Higgins Ferry to advertise and hire an assistant park ranger.
  • Approved the Probate Office to surplus auto mark voter machines.
  • Approved the 2022-2023 holiday schedule and commission meeting schedule, an increase of $82 in family coverage insurance for the next fiscal year and to pay bills that may become delinquent before the next meeting due to the fiscal year ending.
  • Approved the change in rates at Higgins Ferry and Minooka Park to $575 per month, $170 per week and $35 per day to camp. Those prices are effective Oct. 1 and will be all year. Approved requiring a one-night, non-refundable deposit for camping reservations at Higgins Ferry and Minooka Park.