County to review finances at Jan. 16 meeting

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/20/17

The Walker County Commission will likely hold a major updated review of its finances at its first night meeting on Monday, Jan. 16, with one commissioner saying some departments are “trending over budget.” 

Discussion about the timing of that meeting arose at Monday’s commission meeting, as the commission voted to move its Tuesday, Jan. 2, meeting to Thursday, Jan. 4. The meeting day had already been moved from Jan. 1 because of the New Year’s holiday.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

County to review finances at Jan. 16 meeting

Posted

The Walker County Commission will likely hold a major updated review of its finances at its first night meeting on Monday, Jan. 16, with one commissioner saying some departments are “trending over budget.” 

Discussion about the timing of that meeting arose at Monday’s commission meeting, as the commission voted to move its Tuesday, Jan. 2, meeting to Thursday, Jan. 4. The meeting day had already been moved from Jan. 1 because of the New Year’s holiday.

County Administrator Cheryl Ganey asked if the commissioners wanted to delay the meeting until later in the week, because Jan. 2 would be shortly after the holiday and some commissioners and other officials might not make it back in time. She said another alternative might be to cancel the meeting.

“I would probably suggest maybe (moving the meeting to) that Thursday, on Jan. 4,” she said, at the normal time of 9:30 a.m.

The commission approved the Jan. 4 date, and later voted to delay its decision on joining a lawsuit against drug companies making opiods until that meeting.

Davis said the Jan. 15 meeting is a holiday for Robert E. Lee/Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, so the meeting would fall that day on Tuesday, Jan. 16. He also said it has been designated as the first of four quarterly night meetings set for the commission this year at 6 p.m.

The other Monday evening dates in 2018 will be held on April 16, July 16 and Oct. 15.

“We’ve got so much to do that I don’t know that we can afford to cancel another meeting. I would think the 4th would work for me,” he said.

Davis also said the commission had talked of sitting down in January to look more closely in reviewing its budgets in the wake of the commission’s first principal payment on its current debt coming on Feb. 1.

“I don’t know if we can have everything ready by the 4th,” he said. “We could probably have it ready by the 16th for that night meeting. We have some departments trending over budget, and that is going to have to be addressed.” He did not reference which departments he was referring to.

District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams said last week that the commission might come up short on the finances needed to pay the $1.5 million annual payments, which are scheduled for the next 15 years.

He suggested the commission put the 1-cent sales tax proposal back on the ballot, altering it so that it only goes for debt and roads. A more complex 1-cent sales tax proposal failed at the polls in August. No discussion or reference was made Monday of Williams’ proposal.

In other action, the commission: 

•heard from County Engineer Mike Short that his department had collected up the vote tabulation machines from the U.S. Senate special election.

•heard from Short that a demonstration will be held in District 4 soon for a spray truck.

•approved the official state holidays, which the county follows each year due to civil service rules. However, the commission has to approve the holidays.

In 2018, they will include New Year’s Day, Jan. 1; Robert E. Lee/Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Jan. 15; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s Birthdays, Feb. 19; Confederate Memorial Day, April 23; National Memorial Day, May 28; Jefferson Davis’ Birthday, June 4; Fourth of July; Labor Day, Sept. 3; Columbus Day/Fraternal Day/American Indian Heritage Day, Oct. 8; Veterans Day (which will be marked on Monday, Nov. 12, as Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday); Thanksgiving, Nov. 22 (upon designation by the governor); and Christmas, Dec. 25.

Mardi Gras on Feb. 13 is observed only in Baldwin and Mobile counties. All other state employees are granted one personal leave day each year if in employment status on Jan. 1.

•agreed to allow the 282nd Quartermaster Company, a reserve unit based in Montgomery, to use the old airport to conduct annual deployment night vision driver’s training on Jan. 4-5, 2019, with 54 people in attendance. The event would use Hummers and 2.5-ton trucks in the training.

The request was approved pending insurance can be provided, which officials planned to do as soon as that afternoon. The unit used the airport in 2005 for 18-wheeler training before deployment in Iraq.

A platoon of the company is located a quarter of a mile from the old airport.

•voted to approve the establishment of a new cemetery area on the Curry Highway. Documents released by the commission show the cemetery to be an addition to the Curry Cemetery and that Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, an adjacent landowner to the new cemetery property, agreed to sell the land subject to the success of the petition for the new cemetery addition. Senior Environmentalist Jason Azbell of the Walker County Health Department wrote to the commission on Nov. 7 that he approved the application for the cemetery. “However,” he wrote, “due to the signs of seasonal or actual groundwater present, I recommend that the interment depth be as shallow as possible in order to meet the guidelines of the burial plots (1.) having 18-inch minimum earth cover and (2.) not being closer than 1 foot above the seasonal or actual groundwater.” Short said the county has no zoning requirements that would permit the county to reject it.

Davis said it was in his district, and some adjoining property owners had some concerns on water drainage for their property and were invited to attend Monday’s meeting, but they did not show up to the meeting. He said he did not oppose the proposal, noting the Health Department had signed off on it.