Commission renews county’s alcohol licensing for 2023-24

Published 9:15 am Friday, February 17, 2023

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The Covington County Commission approved the renewal of county levies for alcohol licensing for 2023-2024 and also approved an agreement with the Probate Judge’s office at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The commission renewed the county levies for alcohol licensing at the current rates.

“This is the annual approval needed from the state.  All counties have to adopt their fee schedule.  We are requesting no changes once again and leaving the fees at the maximum level,” Administrator Karen Sowell said.

The commission approved the funding for the Probate Judge’s office to contract with a company to scan deed books and convert them into a digital format. These digitized records will be available and accessible to attorneys, realtors, and lenders from remote locations. The public may also come into the Probate office and access the digital records.

“Under Alabama law, the Probate Judge is required to keep certain records. Down in our basement, we have hundreds of books of records. For the past several years, I have had an employee whose primary duties were to scan those books and get them digitized. We’re not making very good progress that way. This is a request for funding to get the deed books done. These are the books used by the public the most often. There are 178 deed books with an estimated cost to digitize of $58,000,” Probate Judge Stacy Brooks said.

According to Brooks, a company will scan deed books and transfer the scanned documents into a format the Probate Judge’s vendor will then index.

“When people look up documents, they look them up by book, page, and typically name. It will all be put into the system we already use. Everything is going digital, and these books aren’t going to last forever. We have records back until the last time the courthouse burned. This is what’s coming, and I don’t want to be left behind,” she said. “I think it’s a great project moving forward,” Chairman Greg White added.

In other business:

  • The commission approved the appointment of Daniel Cox on a six-year term to the Covington County Industrial Development Authority. Cox replaces Greg Henderson whose term expired Tuesday, Feb. 14.
  • The commission approved the re-appointment of Don Cotton on a three-year term to the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission’s Revolving Loan Fund committee. Cotton’s previous term expired Wednesday, Feb. 15.
  • The commission approved the re-appointment of Joe Richburg, Sammy Glover, and Patricia Gunter on three-year terms to the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission. Their current terms expire Saturday, Feb. 25.
  • The commission approved the appointment of Gary Strickland, Mattie Freeney, and Jimmy Jackson on three-year terms to SARCOA. Their current terms expire in March.
  • The commission approved out-of-state travel for the Sheriff’s Department to have deputies attend a school in Pensacola. 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 addressed resolutions submitted by Sheriff Blake Turman requesting an increase in booking fees and paper service fees. They agreed to discuss those in further detail at a future public hearing and meeting.
  • The commission approved a revised construction agreement for state public road and bridge funding for the project presently underway on County Road 107. This new agreement simply extends the state’s commitment to provide matching funds for the project.
  • The commission approved the solicitation of bids for cold mix.
  • The commission awarded a bid for seed and fertilizer to Andalusia Farmers Co-op, who was the lone bidder.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Feb. 28, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.