County passes $24.6 million budget

Pictured above are DeKalb County Commission board members discussing the new budget changes for the 2022 fiscal year.

The DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday approved a $24.6 million budget for the 2022 fiscal year, along with new personnel transfers for both the DeKalb County Road Department, the Sheriff’s Office and a new Government Services Alabama (GSA) contract for the Revenue Department.

According to Matt Sharp, county administrator, “[online sales tax] has been one of the saving graces that we’ve had in the last couple of years…it’s really one of [the county’s] only growth revenues.” He said the only other revenue increase is the state gas tax, which in total added to a million dollars.

Chris Kuykendall, District 3 commissioner, said, “we’d like people of the county to understand that this is a long-term work in progress, and because of the increases we’ve had, we’re already seeing twice as many roads resurfaced each year.”

The local fuel tax fund received $186,000. This will be allocated to the DeKalb County ARC and to the county board of education. The former received $10,000 and the latter received $176,000.

The commission approved the following budget for the 2022 fiscal year:

• General Fund

- $5.6 million in total

- $4.5 million for total local government funding

• Sheriff’s office/jail

- $8.8 million in total

- $1.7 million for the federal inmate revenue fund

- $2.5 million for the jail operating fund

- $32,100 for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge

- $2.5 million for patrol

- $707,500 for SRO program

- $465,700 for dispatching

• Road Department

- $7.6 million in total

- $4.5 million for the gas tax fund

- $3.8 million for the road department

- $282,500 for engineering

- $424,100 for shop

The entire 2022 budget amounts to $24.6 million.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the DeKalb County Road Department brought attention to a public hearing for vacating a lot known as Pony Drive near Ider, affecting the dead end portion outside the town limits. The county commission passed a resolution that would allow it to be vacated.

Two damage claims were made for Gault Avenue N. and on County Road 24 concerning unfilled potholes. The claim for the former states the edge of the roadway has been broken off; the latter claim stating a pothole caused a radiator to be knocked out.

The DeKalb County Revenue Department reported that the Government Services Alabama (GSA) will assist in moving appraisers across different departments. GSA is a company that has done business personal property for several counties across the state, according to Tyler Wilks, DeKalb County revenue commissioner. According to Wilks, GSA has been doing data entry and reconciliation for the revenue department. GSA will allow different appraisers to be easily moved throughout the department without the need for hiring new personnel.

Other revenue related business includes a Mapping Agreement Resolution, where the commission board approved that the Alabama Department of Transportation be granted access of aerial photographs of the county for $10,000.

The commission also:

• approved to hire Randy Mattox to replace Drake Casey at the road department

• approved the following personnel changes for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center:

- Eric Tidmore hired to replace Scott Tarrant as part-time investigator with the Drug Task Force.

- Brianna Monroe transferred from part-time to full-time dispatcher to replace Ronald Gibson.

- Sarah McAnelly transferred from the revenue commissioner’s office to the sheriff’s office dispatch to replace Hannah Neel.

- Austin Gamez to replace Tonya Ransum as correctional officer.

- Charles Young promoted to chief correctional officer to replace Hannah Weathers Eubanks

• approved to hire Gloria Aguilar to replace Meny Marselvas as an appraisal clerk at the revenue commission.

• approved a resolution to set the sped limit on County Road 135 between Skirum and Geraldine from County Road 20 to 52 at 30mph.

• approved a resolution to set the speed limit on County Road 610 from County Road 85 to County Road 608 at 25 mph

• provided a list of equipment and operator rates for potential snow removal to the Alabama Department of Transportation. The rates are virtually unchanged from last year, according to County Engineer Ben Luther.

• approved the list of annual low bids for materials for the fiscal year. The materials range from hot mix asphalt material to corrugated metal pipe, which will cost significantly more due to the fluctuating nature of the steel industry, Luther said. Some of the materials will see a 70% swing in prices for the coming year. Luther said the county can expect to pay a good bit more for the materials and experience some difficulty getting access to them. He said this may impact the choices of materials used and how this affects what they can do project-wise. They have continued to use a price list from 2008 that has continued to include discounts and has never reflect this degree of change in the past. “Some of the material increases may be very substantial and require us to look at things very closely this next year,” Luther said.

• amended the county transportation plan as required by the Rebuild Alabama project to utilize all of those funds. At the previous meeting, the commission approved 10 projects in district one through four. The approved list does not represent the totality of all projects the county wants to complete but shows what they are spending as it related to being able to exchange federal aide money for match funds. “We’re having to spend this money down before they will exchange our federal funds, so once we get through these projects, we will see how much money we have left,” Luther said.

The next county commission meeting will convene on Oct. 12, 2021.

Editors Note: Publisher Steven Stiefel contributed to this article.

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