At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the county commission unanimously approved its FY10 budget, a $34.2 million financial plan that is actually a 2 percent increase from last year.
It’s quite a statement, considering the economic climate.
“We are very pleased to be in the sound financial shape we are in,” chairman Stan Batemon said in a prepared statement. “Diligent management of county funds on all levels, from our department heads on down, has helped us maintain a healthy financial status, and we, as a commission, are pleased to approve the 3 percent raise and to be able to continue to offer a premium benefits package at no additional cost to the employee.”
According to a statement released by the county, projected revenues for the coming fiscal year are just over $25.5 million, roughly 2 percent less than last year. Those expenditures include the county’s “special projects,” like the renovation of the Ashville Courthouse and the replacement hospital in Pell City.
The statement also notes that while sales tax revenues have decreased, the county has seen an increase in ad valorem money. Other noteworthy items in the budget are financial assistance to the City of Springville to support the creation of a Senior Program in that city; two new deputies funded through a partnership with the St. Clair County School Board and a Safe Schools grant; and level funding for agencies such as the ARC of St. Clair County, Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging, KidOne Transport, county libraries, Alabama Cooperative Extension, Animal Shelter of Pell City, St. Clair Fire and EMS Association, and others.
“While our neighbors are announcing layoffs and budget cuts, St. Clair is offering raises and has no intentions of lying off personnel,” Batemon said. “At a time when other local governments are cutting funding to outside agencies, St. Clair County is able to offer the same level of funding we have in the past.
“Overall, the financial climate in St. Clair County is a healthy one.”
Department heads in attendance also lauded the commission, with sheriff Terry Surles thanking them for their efforts in his department.
“We appreciate the consideration you’ve given us,” he said. “We know the economy’s tough, and we feel like the commission has gone over and above for us.”
In other business, the commission:
• Appropriated $19,869 to fund the start-up of a senior center in Springville, to be paid from bingo funds.
• Accepted the resignation of Floyd Goodgame from the New London Water, Sewer and Fire Protection Authority, and approved the appointment of Gary Smith to complete his term.
• Approved a motion hiring Barbara Turbvile as accountant for the commission, as well as Sandra Wolfe as advanced clerk in the commission office.
• Approved the FY09 budget amendments.
• Approved three separate bids for law enforcement uniforms, janitorial products and office supplies.
• Approved a motion to appraise the office space for public transportation, as well as an amendment to the minutes of the July 14 meeting to reflect the official name of public transportation as “St. Clair County Public Transportation.”
• Approved annual bids as recommended by county engineer Dan Dahlke, and also approved awarding the re-bidding for plant mix.
• Approved Dahlke’s recommendation to allow road department employees to work five, 8-hour shifts per week.
• Approved a motion to let bids for rock trucks for the Waldrop Road relocation.
• Tabled applications for a retail beer and retail wine license for The Dam Store in Cropwell, as well as a restaurant retail liquor license for Green Acres Golf and Grill in Springville.
• Approved increases for Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health and Dental insurance.
• Approved contracts for FY10 for software/hardware maintenance, long-term detention subsidy, inmate medical care and auditing services.
• Approved payment of monthly bills.