Commissioners acquire two pieces of property, adopt budget

·3 min read

Sep. 10—Public land owned by Calhoun County has grown a bit, thanks to two pieces of property acquired by the County Commission. One is a gift from the Jacksonville Industrial Board and the other was purchased from three landowners.

Calhoun County Commission chairman Lee Patterson announced at Thursday's meeting that one-sixth of an acre is being added to the county's Ladiga Trail Landing Park, which is located on the Alexandria-Jacksonville Road. The landing is used by walkers and bikers as a place to park their cars before entering the trail.

"The City of Jacksonville was gracious to give us that piece of property," said Patterson. "It is in my district, District 5, and I am working to place a restroom on the property and to increase the parking area."

In the county's other acquisition, landowners Doug Trantham, Randy Sheffield and Jonathan Grace sold 17.1 acres to the county for $75,000, which will increase the size of the property near the Ag Center, at the northern end of the Bynum-Leatherwood Road.

"We got it at a good price," Patterson said, "and it will be used for many things, such as an ag arena. We hope to use the new strip of property for the fairgrounds."

The new property is across from the road from the agricultural center and is adjacent to 90 acres the county already owns.

Assistant County Administrator Melissia Wood presented the budget for fiscal 2023, which the commissioners voted to approve.

The general fund budget is $21,053,709, which is the main operating budget for the county. It is used for operating the sheriff and law enforcement departments, the largest expenditures, and all other departments.

The total budget, which includes the general fund budget, is $79,656,033. The additional funds are provided to other entities in the county and only passes through the county commissioners' hands as a service to agencies such as the judicial system.

The adopted budget gives a cost-of-living allowance for full-time employees of $2,600 and paid for increases in insurance costs. Part-time and seasonal workers received a raise of $1.25 per hour.

Two new appointments the commission made include Jacksonville State University President Don Killingsworth, to the Anniston Museum and Garden's advisory committee, and Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade, to the Highland Health Systems Board.

A longer-than-usual list of other resolutions passed during the meeting. In summary, these include using $250,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to update the transfer station at the Calhoun County Landfill, awarding several bids for routine maintenance of the county's properties, advertising surplus items on and approving agreements with the Alabama Department of Emergency Management and the Alabama Department of Transportation.

In addition, the commissioners passed a resolution allowing the district attorney's office to apply for the Pretrial Intervention Program, which amounts to $57,000. If the sum is awarded, it is to be used by the 7th Judicial Circuit Domestic Violence Crime Unit.