Paying the Bills

Due to higher than usual worker’s compensation injury claims in the last year, the county’s worker’s compensation insurance premium went up to $88,190 for the coming year. County Administrator Derek Reeves has asked for County EMA Director Kirk Smith to work with Career Services to train employees about safety and hopefully reduce some of the accidents and in turn, the premium.

The Commission also approved a renewal of support for the local office of Alabama Youth Services, in which the county provides a bed for their facility.

Due to the Coroner’s currently used gurney wearing out and collapsing under load, he has requested a new one be purchased. The Commission approved the $2,833 purchase.

Engineering Contracts for the new industrial park water tank and Bibbville Road have been approved to go to McGiffert. No contract details were discussed at this time.

Donations

After a brief discussion regarding the benefit to the county, the Commission agreed to donate $250 to the Woodstock Music Festival coming up in October. Options presented were $250, $500, or $1,000 as standard levels of contribution.

Commissioners were also presented with a new ask they’ve not seen before: the Bibb County Schools Foundation requested a donation of $100 to help teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms. After acknowledging how much money teachers pay out of pocket to fill the gaps in funding, the Commission approved this donation.

Title Changes

The County Administrator asked that the County Payroll Clerk title be changed to County Payroll and HR (Human Resources) Clerk, do to actual duties performed. He also requested that the County Accountant title be changed back to Assistant Administrator as it had been until recent years. The Commission approved both of these requests.

County Engineer

Jeff McKinney updated the Commission on a previous item of repair to the county airport runway edge drainage. The work is done, and came in very close to the estimated budget of $3,300. Because of legal requirements of how money can be spent, the Commission was presented an invoice to pay the Road Department for the work, which they agreed to pay.

The County Engineer also requested approval to pursue purchasing two new Kenworth trucks on the same rotating purchase and sell program the department has used in recent years which resulted in making a profit while having use of new trucks. This is possible because of guaranteed auction selling price. According to “worst case scenario” the department may finance overall $108,000 over the years financed on roughly $271,000 worth of two new trucks. While existing trucks do not need replacing by standards of wear, the financial benefit of staying with the new truck rotation in this guarantee buyback system requires the cycle of selling off and buying new on a schedule hitting now.

Mobile Home Tie-Down Safety

County EMA Director Kirk Smith asked the Commission to look for legislation standard that the County could adopt to be sure mobile homes are properly and safely secured. According to Smith, reports about mobile homes surviving the storm in Lee County that devastated so much, simply because they were tied down to foundation pilings properly, or more so. Smith wants to be sure Bibb County residents are as safe as possible, and wants to not only make sure installers are following proper methods, but that residents occupying mobile homes know what to look for and how to stay safe in a storm.

Fiscal 2020 Operating Budget

County Administrator Derek Reeves presented the new Operating Budget to the Commission for approval. Reeves stated that the budget is balanced, meaning income and expenses are a wash, with no deficit. In fact, the contingency fund allocated (“whoops we forgot that” money) is more this coming year, which translates to more revenue without excess spending.

The overall budget is $3,791,550. The contingency balance is allocated based on budget surplus, and for 2020 is $117,010. This is up considerably from 2019, which saw about $66,000 in contingency funds.

Reeves mentioned a good year for revenues, with funds coming in from the education tax, as well as the new gas tax.

The higher funding also means a salary increase for the Sheriff’s Department, as well as Roads Department and administrative employees, bringing these all more in-line with comparable positions elsewhere in the state. Other county employees received a 5% increase as well, for a more substantial raise than has been seen in several years.

A budget top-sheet letter from the Administrator’s office to the Commission explained  budget estimates:

“Revenues are budgeted by comparing actual receipts over the past 12 months and reflect an increase of 6.33%.  Expenditures are budgeted in the same manner, but also include input from department heads as well.  Also included in the General Fund is a transfer out of $110,250 of education tax funds to the Gasoline Tax Fund.  Total proposed general fund expenses are increased by 6.33% over fiscal year 2019.”

The County will be purchasing a new vehicle for the jail, and also much spend $21,000 on new election software and related equipment for the upcoming 2020 elections.

The Commission accepted the proposed budget.

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A father, creative professional, and an alumnus of Bibb County High School, Jeremy has found his way back to Centreville after many years away. He studied Finance and Economics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and almost a decade ago left the "normal" business world for audio and video production. A freelance writer, photographer, sound engineer, and film and video producer/director/editor, his work has appeared online for Southern Living, People, Health, Food & Wine, Sports Illustrated, Cooking Light, Al.com, It's a Southern Thing, and This Is Alabama, as well as for independent musicians and filmmakers across Alabama.

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