Commission hoping to expedite new courthouse project

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission approved its courthouse committee, who is in charge of spearheading the project for a new Chilton County Courthouse, to organize a public building authority for the project at its meeting on May 9.

Retired judge Sibley Reynolds, who is a member of the courthouse committee, went before the commission to give an overview of how forming a public building authority can expedite the project. Reynolds said that if a public building authority is formed the commission can do a design build on the project, which means the designer and the builder collaborate together under a single contract throughout the project.

This would eliminate having to bid the project out to a contractor, eliminate change fees during the construction when changes to plans are made and start the project sooner. Instead, interviews by the public building authority with prospective contractors will be done to find the best candidate. Forming the public building authority also eliminates the commission and courthouse committee needing to have a full plan in place to begin breaking ground. The project can begin, and more details with the project can be worked out between the two parties as the new courthouse continues towards completion.

The public building authority for the courthouse will operate very similarly to how the Chilton County Heathcare Authority did while working towards bringing a new hospital to the county after the Chilton Medical Center closed in October 2012.

Commissioner Darrell Bone made a motion to give the courthouse committee authority to pursue the formation of a public building authority, and to present it to the city of Clanton for their approval. The resolution was passed, and Commissioner Joe Headley abstained from voting. Commissioners Matthew Mims and Joseph Parnell were absent.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Commission Chairman Jimmie Hardee gave a statement to clarify that the commission has not raised any property taxes. If any citizens’ property taxes were raised it came from the state of Alabama and how they calculate each tax.

The only property tax that has been discussed by the commission in recent months is the trade school tax that is split 60-30 between the county and the Chilton County Board of Education. No action, resolution or motion has been made on any new property tax.

The county’s portion of the funds of the trade school tax are earmarked and have to be used towards industrial and rural development. The school board’s portion goes directly to LeCroy Career Technical Center to help fund its programs. The tax was put in in 1963, and it will be up for vote to continue it or not on the presidential primary ballot in March 2024.

Also during the meeting, the commission:

  • Approved the hiring of Richard Gregg, James Porter and Danny Rye with the Chilton County Road Department, and the hiring of Felicia Teer with the Chilton County Transit Department.
  • Approved a cooperative education program, or internship, between the road department and LeCroy Career Technical Center.