County Commission approves budget amendments

Published 7:30 am Monday, January 16, 2023

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The Covington County Commission approved several items and heard an annual report on their Rebuild Alabama projects at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10.

The commission approved several budget amendments in relation to capital outlay.

“When we were presented with the budget in September, we made a decision at the time to remove some fixed assets that were budgeted until we saw actual collections on certain revenue sources. We have a couple of department heads that now need to make purchases of some vehicles and other equipment. Merit money was also taken out at that time, so we need to consider adding some merit money back to those departments,” Administrator Karen Sowell said. After confirmation that the noted revenue items were materializing as anticipated, the commission voted to reinstate the budgeted items as requested.

The commission approved the county taking over maintenance of Bethel Road in the Babbie community from the Alabama Highway Department.

“This is the section of old Highway 84 that turns to the left as you’re approaching Babbie. It goes up by Babbie Cemetery and City Hall before it loops back in to Highway 84. It’s not part of the state’s route now and is less than 1 mile,” Chairman Greg White said.

In other business:

  • The commission approved the sponsorship of a Covington County Pageant to be held with the winner receiving an entry into the Peanut Festival’s annual pageant.
  • The commission adopted a resolution for participation in the ACCA’s liability self-insurance fund for three years beginning in 2024. The commission has been a member of this fund for over 20 years.
  • The commission approved a contract with PH&J Architects of Montgomery to complete several projects expected to total between $2 and $2.5 million, subject to final review by the County Attorney. Those projects include expansion of the jail, new office space for the Engineering and Road departments, and minor improvements to the Covington County Administration building.
  • The commission approved out-of-state travel for the Sheriff’s Department to medical patrol and investigators classes in Florida and a narcotics class in Mississippi. Sheriff Blake Turman also stated that his department needed to make a trip to Massachusetts to pick up recently acquired equipment. Commission policy states that any out-of-state travel by County officials or employees must be approved by the commission at an open meeting.
  • The commission approved the purchase of four new Chevrolet Tahoes for the Sheriff’s Department at a cost of $177,200, which includes a $400 delivery fee per vehicle. This action awarded the bid for patrol vehicles by the Sheriff’s Department to the lone bidder Brannen Motor Company of Unadilla, Georgia.
  • The commission approved the surplus of 10 items by the Sheriff’s Department and one item by the Engineer’s Department.
  • The commission approved entering into a contract with the municipalities of Andalusia, Opp, Red Level, River Falls, and Sanford for trash pickup and inmate services, as well as costs related to work release inmates.
  • The commission approved the solicitation of bids for a striping truck and bush hog crew service truck. Both are to be used by the Engineer’s Department.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Jan. 24, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.