Andalusia City Council adds $4 million to capital fund

Published 7:30 am Monday, March 13, 2023

The Andalusia City Council on Tuesday agreed the city’s finances are at a historic high, allowing for the transfer of $4 million into the city’s Capital Fund.

The transfer of funds from the city’s General Fund marks the second consecutive year the council has moved $4 million into the Capital Fund, which officials said benefits the city in several ways.

“Putting this money in our capital account gives us security for the future. It’s also extremely important in the eyes of our creditors when they look at our books and see we have a good margin in our capital account. Moving this $4 million is a big step in that direction,” said Mayor Earl Johnson.

With the transfer, the General Fund will have a remaining balance of about $2.2 million.

“This puts us in excellent position to finish our fiscal year,” said City Clerk John Thompson. “It’s important to note, the council has the luxury now to make choices that we haven’t always had in our careers.”

Dist. 5 Council member Terry Powell praised the city’s department heads for their efforts in streamlining costs, using the example of the council’s ability to approve the purchase of a new street sweeper during the same meeting.

“The department heads have done a great job of managing the funds they have available. In 2012, we would have had to make do with an old sweeper, but today we are not batting an eye to replace it. A lot of work, on a lot of people’s parts, have us in really sound financial condition,” Powell said.

Mayor Johnson agreed.

“The City of Andalusia is in the strongest financial position it’s ever been in. Not by a little margin, but a good margin,” he said. “That’s because of the good work of our department heads and employees. They deserve good equipment to work with and this money will help us continue to provide them with what they need to do their jobs well.”

The council did vote unanimously to purchase a new street sweeper, citing the current one is “worn out.”

The cost of the sweeper is $231,887, which will be financed through CCB Community Bank at a 5.2 interest rate over a 60-month period. The city’s monthly payment will be $4,422.

“This is one of our most-used pieces of equipment. The streets and curves are looking much better, not just because of this particular piece of equipment, but also the smaller ones we purchased that can get into tighter areas. The whole downtown is looking better,” Johnson said.

The sweeper will be purchased from Bucher Municipal of North Carolina.

The council also discussed the following items during the meeting.

  • The council agreed to replace portions of the roof at the Andalusia Public Library. The areas to be replaced include the roof of the Dixon Center and children’s area. The roof over the main portion of the library was said to still be in good condition.

The cost for replacing those roof areas is $29,270.

  • After several months of testing locally, the council voted to purchase two mobile security systems at a cost of $93,458. The funds will be spent from CARES Act (COVID-19) funds.

The camera systems are used by law enforcement and can be moved to specific areas to increase security. The police department has placed the mobile systems at various locations and has used them for specific events, including Candyland in December.

  • The city will also be purchasing 120 new barricades, matching those already owned by the city and used to manage traffic and crowd flow.
  • In preparing for the League of Municipalities annual meeting, the council voted Mayor Johnson to serve as the city’s voting delegate at the event. Councilman Joe Nix will be the first alternate and Powell is the second alternate.
  • The city also recognized the players and coaches of the Andalusia 10U Soccer All-Stars, which won the state championship in November. Each player was presented a championship ring from their coaches as well as proclamation from the mayor in recognition of their achievement.

The next meeting of the city council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 6 p.m., at city hall. A work session precedes the meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.