Commission adopts resolutions for jail booking, pistol permit fees

Published 7:30 am Friday, March 31, 2023

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The Covington County Commission adopted two resolutions from Sheriff Blake Turman and also approved an agreement for broadband services at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 28.

The first resolution adopted was the proposal for a booking fee at the jail.

“The booking fee will be a $40 fee that an inmate will pay to the Covington County Sheriff’s Office before he is released. This booking fee would be placed in escrow until adjudication of the case. Once the case becomes adjudicated, if found guilty, then the funds are for the Sheriff’s use. $5 of the $40 will go to the District Attorney’s office for use at the Child Advocacy Center. If an inmate is found not guilty, we will return the $40 just as it was paid,” Turman said.

The money collected from the booking fee would be used towards funding for the Sheriff’s Department.

“We have seen a drastic reduction in pistol permit monies, and hopefully, this will be able to fix that reduction. With these funds, we will also be able to free up county funds to use in different places,” Turman said.

Chairman Greg White added that the Sheriff and his predecessors have used discretionary funds in past years. “These funds typically provide special equipment for their officers and occasionally a couple of vehicles each year. It does go into good use and is subject to audit by the Examiners of Public Accounts just as all other public accounts are.”

The second resolution adopted was for an increase in the cost of a pistol permit fee.

“According to the current Covington County local law, pistol permits are $20 per application. We need to bring the pistol permit fee to $25 a year in order for us to truly do what we need to do for lifetime and veterans’ permits. A lifetime permit for ages 19 to 59 is $300 and $150 for 60 and over. You must have five years prior of prior permits to qualify for the lifetime permit. Veterans receive their permits for free as long as they were honorably discharged. Under the new law that was passed on Jan. 1 this year, you have to be 19 to apply for a pistol permit unless you are in the military. I would like to come in line with the state,” Turman stated.

Both of these resolutions will now be submitted to the state legislature for approval.

The commission approved entering into an agreement for broadband services through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

“The Alabama Community Broadband Technical Assistance Program provides services to understand what broadband services are needed in each county or community. We have contracted with the state agency ADECA to help us do the initial assessment of broadband needs. We are very fortunate because Buzz Broadband is building out of the entire county and reaching every one of its customers. There are a few residences that will not be served in the initial stage, so we are looking at how to approach getting service to all of those with no dark spots in the county,” White said.

In other business:

  • The commission approved the purchase of a 4-seat Polaris Ranger 570 UTV with accessories for the Sheriff’s Department at an approximate cost of $16,698.98 to be paid from the Sheriff’s discretionary funds.
  • The commission approved the declaration of two Sheriff’s Department vehicles to be surplus. These vehicles will be listed through the GovDeals auction.
  • The commission approved the solicitation of bids for annual plastic pipe, geotextile, railroad tank cars, and Conex boxes to be used by the County Engineer’s department.
  • The commission heard a report from Covington County EMA Deputy Director Frank Shaffer about March, April, and May as the peak months for severe weather. Shaffer encouraged the public to contact the local EMA office for any assistance.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, April 11, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.