VIDEO: DeKalb County Commission passes $19,245,388 Budget
September 28, 2017
Southern Torch (3918 articles)

VIDEO: DeKalb County Commission passes $19,245,388 Budget

PHOTO: County Administrator Matt Sharp discusses the 2018 Budget at Tuesday’s meeting of the DeKalb County Commission. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Full Video at the Bottom) In yesterday’s meeting, the DeKalb County Commission passed the budget for 2018, totaling $19,245,388.00. The county’s budget includes, but is not limited to, funding for road paving, The Sheriff’s Office, the county tag and revenue offices, as well as other essential services. By law, the county government must pass a budget by September 30. County Administrator Matt Sharp addressed the commission on the budget:

“Highlight of the budget is that we are at about a 3 percent increase (in revenues), so that’s good. In 2008, we totaled 17 and a half, and we’ve went down for about 2 years, and it’s taken a little while to get back up. Projected wise, we’re still probably a million (dollars) less, or maybe $2 million less than what we projected, if it hadn’t been for the recession. When the recession hit, they said it would be 2018 before it was over and that’s probably correct,” explained Sharp.

After the meeting, Sharp seemed optimistic about the county’s revenues:

“We’ve bottomed out but started to go back up. We’re above what were three years ago, but still behind what the projection called for. We’re cautiously optimistic about that,” said Sharp.

Sharp highlighted a few of the bigger items on the budget including revenues from the 7-cent gas tax, the budget for the Road Department, the sheriff’s office, and expenses at the jail.

The county received $1.4 million from the 7-cent Gas Tax Fund, which goes to the Road Department, Engineering, and Maintenance. The overall budget for these departments is $3.9 million. Of these funds, around $800,000 will be dedicated to road paving and maintenance, which is an increase from about $700,000 from last year’s budget. In previous meetings, the commission had discussed the lack of funding for road paving and maintenance.

“Really it needs to be a lot more than that to get everything. This will do about 15 or 20 miles, and we have 1500 miles,” explained Sharp of the paving situation.

For the Sheriff’s Office budget, which includes the DeKalb County Detention Center and School Resource Officers, the sum totals $6.6 million. Of this, around $3.2 million goes to the jail alone. This also does not include the bond issue, which is the yearly payment for construction of the jail. The county commission is currently in a dispute with the municipalities in DeKalb County over housing city inmates. It’s the county’s position that cities must pay to house inmates in the county to pay the bound issue, and the cities insist that court costs collected are to pay for that.

The bound issue requires the county to pay $691,000.00 per year, but the county only receives $329,000.00 through court costs to pay the bond issue; leaving them in the hole over $300,000.00 each year. Negotiations regarding this are still ongoing. The county also feeds inmates in the Fort Payne City Jail for $5 per inmate, per day; a price that has not changed in around 20 years.

The county commission also issued a special proclamation to honor the DeKalb County Homemakers Club, which is made up of the many homemakers groups in the county.

Commission President Ricky Harcrow introduced the group: “These ladies do a valuable service in all of our communities, and we are happy to make this proclamation, and the second week in October is our Community Homemakers and Community Leaders week.”

Harcrow then gave the floor to club President Jo Ann Strickland, who discussed the group’s impact on the community:

DeKalb County Homemakers Club President Jo Ann Strickland. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

“Combined, all seven clubs, volunteered last year volunteered 31,517 hours, donated over 2,209 items, collected money, did bake sales, did fundraisers, and donated over $22,758.00. They collected pop caps for Ronald McDonald House and other charities; totaling over 111 pounds of pop caps. They donated books… they have a project called, ‘Books for Newborns,’ at DeKalb Regional, and we take books in to encourage parents to read to children, and we donated 780 books,” explained Strickland.

“Our Boo-Boo babies, that we make out of socks, they are stuffed, have a ribbon, and put a face on them. They give them to small kids at the Health Department for them to hold when they start crying. We donate 1400 boo-boo babies. Box tops for education, 1790,” she continued.

“This is just a small part of what these clubs do. We have an educational program every month at our meetings. The ladies learn about everything; environment, family life, homemaking skills,” said Strickland.

“We appreciate the DeKalb County Commission recognizing the second week in October as DeKalb Homemakers and Community Leaders week. I just can’t brag on these ladies enough. We have the highest membership numbers here in DeKalb County, and I’m very proud of them,” concluded Strickland.

The homemakers club members were issued a framed proclamation and had a photo op with the DeKalb County Commission.

Homemakers club members with the DeKalb County Commission. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

The next meeting of the DeKalb County Commission will be held on, Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

Other items addressed in the meeting: 

  • Road Department: All three patch trucks are back on the road, and the department is hauling chert to District 1 currently. Crews are hauling from a new pit in Hammondsville and currently crews are seeing how the material works out. Crews are also mowing in Districts 3 and 1, and applying herbicide. The department also auctioned off their old trucks last Tuesday, at a price of $171,000.00 more than they originally paid for them. Broyles said, “It was probably the best sale we’ve ever had.” Most of the sold trucks are headed to areas that are cleaning up after the recent hurricanes.
  • Engineering: County Engineer Ben Luther briefed the Commission on Snow & Ice removal bids submitted by the county to the state. Each year, the State of Alabama requires the county to submit bids for Snow & Ice removal on state roads. Luther also asked the commission to vacate an abandoned portion of County Road 608. The commission voted to start the process.
  • Sheriff’s Office/Jail: Chief Jailer Jonathan Langley asked the commission to move Robert Paris to an open part-time position to replace Troy Brown. Paris was currently serving as an SRO, and Mark Patton was approved to replace Paris in the SRO position. The Sheriff’s Office also asked the commission to accept the resignation of Tiffany Barksdale at the Jail. The commission approved the resignation. Langley also asked the commission to approve the food bill for the jail, which they approved.
  • MR Board Appointment: Linda Crumbly’s term is up on the board, and she asked to be reappointed to the Board. The commission approved the appointment.

Watch the Full Video: 

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