Can county use state funds for airport bond?

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Covington County Commissioners Tuesday authorized county attorney Stacy Brooks to seek the attorney general’s opinion on the use of proceeds from the Alabama Trust Fund to pay for airport bonds.

Every month, the county is paying $22,500 toward the bonds. The cities of Andalusia and Opp also make payments on the bonds.

Commission Chairman Bill Godwin said the commission contacted the Association of County Commissioners for advice on the matter.

“They’re not clear on that and they recommended we seek an opinion that these funds specifically address in the law as such,” Godwin said.

Godwin said the county receives money from the oil and gas fund from the State of Alabama every year on the royalties from the leases, adding that the law says that 50 percent of those funds can go toward construction and the maintaining of roads and capital improvements.

“The way the law reads is that we don’t own the land where the buildings are, but we entered into an agreement to guarantee the hangars,” he said. “Our question is can these moneys be spent to pay the loan out there?”

Godwin said having tenants out in the hangars isn’t enough to help pay for the bond payments, and the A.G.’s opinion would determine whether the commission can use the proceeds from the trust fund to pay the loan rather than take it out of the general fund.

In other business, the commission:

• approved a recommendation from county administrator Karen Sowell to buy one and finance three new 2015 Mack trucks with Regions Bank at 1.26 percent interest for three years. Each truck costs $138,000.

• tabled a motion for budget amendments, including looking into the fire equipment for the jail and the sewerage bids; and,

• took no action on amending personnel policies and procedures. The proposed amendment would clear up how department heads ask for raises.

Godwin said the commission is trying to get to a point where it can allow department heads to ask for raises.