Commission approves $26 million budget for fiscal year 2024

Published 11:00 am Friday, September 29, 2023

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The Covington County Commission adopted a total budget of just over $26 million for the fiscal year 2024 at a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Sept. 26.

The budget includes a 5 percent cost of living increase for all county employees, and the commission absorbed the increase in health insurance premiums for employees.

“The commission met in a public workshop last week. The budget was balanced, and we had $200,000 in contingency funds built in for cushion. There were some changes noted during our conversation, but Karen gave us a cover page that recaps those items,” Chairman Greg White said.

The general fund, which funds county operations other than highways, roads, and bridges, totaled just over $12 million. This includes senior services, recreation, public transit, and courthouse operations, as well as law enforcement (Sheriff) budget, which is $3,487,000, and the jail’s operating budget of $2,984,000. The highways, roads, and bridges budget is approximately $13.3 million, which includes $1,590,000 in Rebuild Alabama funds for resurfacing and new construction.

“The changes that are proposed here are well within the bounds of the budget that we worked on the other day. We can cover this and still have contingency monies on hand,” White added.

Administrator Karen Sowell announced the county’s debt was down from $13 million to $9 million.

In other business:

  • The commission approved a preliminary engineering assessment for economic development. Commissioners were split on the vote with the Chairman breaking the 2-2 tie.
  • The commission approved an appropriation of $1,000 to the 2023 Farmer’s Banquet.
  • The commission approved a resolution for a deputy contract for the Town of Sanford.
  • The commission approved a K-9 that was provided free of charge to the Sheriff’s Department from Okaloosa County in Florida. Bruno performed a demonstration during the meeting.
  • The commission approved the solicitation of annual bids in the Engineer’s Department.
  • The commission approved a $150,000 ADEM contract for tire cleanup.
  • The commission approved the solicitation of bids for right of way clearing.
  • The commission approved the awarding of a bid for liquid asphalt to Hunt Refining Company, which was the lowest bidder.
  • The commission approved entering a contract with Southland to provide county employees vision insurance at a cost of $12 per month for single coverage and $20 for families.
  • The commission upheld the recommendation of the personnel review board on a personnel matter, which had been considered during an executive session.
  • The commission approved a request from W.S. Harlan Elementary School physical education teacher Tyler Zessin for assistance with the school’s youth basketball programs. These funds will be pulled from Dist. 3 Commissioner Lynne Holmes’ discretionary funds.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.