Commissioners postpone budget vote
September 15, 2017
By Bill Wilson
The Anniston Star

The Cleburne County Commission voted unanimously Thursday to postpone voting on the county’s budget until Monday at 5 p.m.  

Thursday’s meeting was supposed to have been held Monday night but was postponed due to Tropical Storm Irma.

The council also unanimously voted to  postpone a revenue department personnel proposal. That proposal would re-classify one of its employees from assessment clerk to appraiser-assessment clerk beginning Oct. 1.

The commission also voted unanimously to table a resolution that would remove a $1 a month fee from county residents’ garbage bill. In June the commission awarded the garbage contract to Advanced Disposal Services; the contract established the $1 per month fee.

County Attorney Jason Odom cautioned the commission to not pass the resolution due to legal concerns.

“All of the bidding contractors would have taken that specification calculated into how they figured their bids, and if a non-successful contractor wanted to come back and say ‘Hey you changed the specifications after you awarded it,’ it potentially opens us up to liability with them,” Odom said. Odom did say there are other ways the commission can give the money back to residents but amending the contract after awarding it is not one of them.

Chairman Ryan Robertson was not pleased that the residents now have what he called a garbage tax.

“The garbage is mandatory and it already went up 20 percent, and then put a dollar per month tax is wrong in my opinion,” Robertson said.

Commissioner Laura Cobb was also against the extra dollar that residents must pay.

“I do not feel like that we should put that dollar cost onto the people, I don’t think it’s fair to the people,” said Cobb.

The commission also voted to approve contributing $7,500 to the town of Ranburne for a parks and recreation project. Ranburne Mayor Jim Smith approached the commission in August to request money to build a 500-foot gravel road on a piece of town-owned property along Alabama 46 in Ranburne. The vote was not unanimous, as Commissioner Jake Durham voted against it.

“After speaking to some of the residents in Ranburne I think we are not going to get a very good return on our $7,500 investment,” Durham said. Durham called the project an empty field at this time as no work has been started on the project.

Commissioner Emmett Owen praised the project and thought it would be for Ranburne and the county.

The commission also passed a resolution to support Heflin’s Industrial Board for three more years at an amount of $50,000 per year, or $150,000 total. The vote was not unanimous, as Cobb abstained for financial reasons and Durham voted no.

The commission also voted unanimously to make modifications to the budget for fiscal year 2017 by approving these allocations, which will be reimbursed by the state:

— $6,182.96 from the general fund to the Board of Registrars.

— $63,000 from the general fund to hold elections.