Marengo County Commission approves $20M budget in Tuesday meeting

Phillip Spence, right, post surgeon for the Marengo County unit of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, accepts a resolution from Commission Chairman John Crawford Jr., passed by the Commission to proclaim Sept. 15 as POW/MIA Recognition Day. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Marengo County will operate with $20,118,622.52 for the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 after the County Commission voted to adopt the budget Tuesday. Estimated expenses for the year are expected to be $17,369,274.28.

That will leave a difference of restricted funds of $2,749,348.24.

The Commission made it possible for Demopolis voters will have a chance to approve a 3 mil tax renewal for Demopolis schools by putting the issue on the December ballot.

Demopolis City Schools Supt. Kyle Kallhoff said the tax is renewed every 10 years and brings in some $225,000 per year to the school system.  He said the funds in the past have been used for nurses, transportation and School Resource officers.

Only ballots in Demopolis will have the tax issue.

Phillip Spence, post surgeon for the Marengo County unit of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, accepted a resolution passed by the Commission to proclaim Sept. 15 as POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The resolution “honors the commitments and the sacrifices made by our nation’s prisons of war and those who are still missing in action.

County Engineer Ken Atkins presented bids on road repair materials. Commissioners approved the lowest bidder for each item with the stipulation that the bids meet specifications.

Also approved at the meeting was a contract with the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center. The contract, renewed annually, guarantees one bed per day.

Juvenile Probation Officer Darren Glass said if the county uses more than 365 days, it will be charged $60 per bed per day.

Commissioner Jason Windham forwarded a request from the Demopolis Industrial Development Board for a contribution toward the ribbon-cutting for Two Rivers Lumber Company, now set for Oct. 19.

Windham said the Marengo County Economic Development Authority and the IDB also are helping to pay for the event.

The Commission voted to contribute $1,000, but the money was made as a budget amendment to MCEDA, since the county cannot directly give to the company.

Probate Judge Laurie Hall told commissioners that the primary election went well, with only one complaint about moving a polling place.

Commissioner Freddie Armstead thanked all of Marengo County for the effort to help Hurricane Harvey victims. He said the Demopolis Fire Department especially went above and beyond to man the trailers that held the items that were donated.

In other action, the Commission approved:

  • Leaving the Tobacco Tax CD at Sweet Water State Bank.
  • The Grand Jury Report.
  • The first step in declaring Peace Lane a public road.
  • A consultant for work on Sparks Road.

A note from Marengo County Revenue Commissioner

I sold this property 6 months ago! Why did I just receive the tax notice??

In Alabama, we tax property a year behind. For example, the owner as of Oct. 1, 2014 is the same person who receives the tax notice on Oct. 1, 2015.
When you purchase/sell property, real or personal, please make sure there is an agreement made between buyer and seller for the upcoming property taxes.
If you need more information on this issue, please call (334) 295-2214. If you purchased the property in the last year, you need to be sure the taxes are paid even though you did not receive the tax notice.

—Sharon B. Barkley, Marengo County Revenue Commissioner

FREE Tax Help at Demopolis Public Library

FREE TAX HELPposterdemopspring15

Voters should choose progress Tuesday

Tuesday is a critical day in our city’s history. More appropriately, Tuesday is a critical day in our city’s future. Tuesday is the day when Demopolis citizens will go to their designated polling places and cast their votes for mayor and their respective city council people.

While this election is important simply because it is an election, the races take on added meaning given that tenuous state of our community. And, make no mistake, it is tenuous.

The economy has been down for some time. And while we keep hearing there never actually was a recession and that the recession is over and the recession is almost over, the truth is none of us really knows what happens from here.

As a community, we sit poised to move forward with the development of certain projects that could ultimately land us new industry. New industry means more jobs. More jobs mean more people. More people mean more tax dollars. More tax dollars mean better infrastructure. Better infrastructure means better quality of life.

Those are the issues in a nutshell. It boils down, quite simply, to one question. Where do we want to be as a community?

If we desire progress in the aforementioned direction, we must cast our votes in favor of leaders with unselfish, unhindered vision. At the very least, we have to cast our votes for the available individuals who are closest to that description.

The truth is that this election is about our future. And Tuesday must represent a vote for progress.

For far too long, our city has been hampered by petty politics. Decisions have been made or not made based on who is or is not in support of a given idea and not the idea itself.

Board members have been appointed based upon personal relationships rather than qualifications.

The buddy system of small town politics has hamstrung the city, wasted its taxpayers’ dollars and forced it to accept one ridiculous outcome after another.

That is what is at play here.

There are a number of issues that will be thrown about in the general rhetoric surrounding the races. But it is not black vs. white. It is not wrong vs. right. It is not the fire department vs. the police department. And it is not potholed streets vs. freshly paved roads. It is a matter of vision vs. shortsightedness.

As a community, we can no longer allow ourselves to be hindered by the childish bickering that leaves city business undone. We need leaders whose greatest interest is the good of the entire community, not just the one district, one neighborhood, one street or one individual.

Our city must demand leaders who stir us toward progress rather than those who merely stir the pot.

Four years from now, we will either look back on this election as the time that we took steps toward making ourselves better for the long haul or as the day we handed a blank check to selfish, nearsighted children who dress as men and talk as men but have yet to put away childish things.