Commission ratifies countywide taxes for school usage
by Shane Dunaway
TALLADEGA — The County Commission voted 4-0 to approve two resolutions and orders confirming and ratifying the levy of a three mills countywide property tax and countywide sales tax during a meeting held Monday.

The 98th Amendment allows the government body of Talladega County to collect a special school tax not exceeding three-tenths of 1 percent on the value of taxable property within the county. Section 40-12-4 of the Code of Alabama 1975 authorizes the countywide sales tax.

The tax proceeds are allocated exclusively for public school usage.

District 3 Commissioner Kelvin Cunningham abstained from voting due to his role within the Talladega County Board of Education.

“The schools are going to use the money for capital improvements and refinancing some debts,” Cunningham said. “It’s good for them to take advantage of some of the lower interest rates because it extends the value of the school systems’ dollars and allows money to be applied elsewhere within the school systems.”

Attorney Alan Zeigler, who represents the county board of education, presented the resolutions and the board’s pledges via three Special Tax School Warrants on how the money will be spent.

The cumulative dollar amount allocated to the board totals approximately $14,715,000.

The tax is nothing new, said Attorney Barry Vaughn, who represents the commission.

“It’s a smart move by the board to capitalize on these lower interest rates,” Vaughn said. “They’d be crazy not to do so.”

The commission also voted unanimously to accept the liquid asphalt bid by Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions, Inc. while authorizing Tim Markert, county engineer, to negotiate with the company in an effort to get a better rate.

Markert did not disclose the amount of the bid during the meeting, but deemed the rate to be “competitive.”

At the April 8 commission meeting, the commission unanimously approved rejecting the previous liquid asphalt bid awarded to Vulcan Asphalt in September 2012 due to Markert’s recommendation citing “substandard asphalt” as the primary reason.

Markert claimed this was the second year in a row Vulcan Asphalt had been awarded the bid and the second time the company failed to live up to expectations.

“I’ve taken samples from the most recent bid,” Markert said. “The asphalt wasn’t sticking to the ground. If we can use the samples to prove the company did a substandard job, then we may take them to court over it.”

Other commission actions included:

• Amending the agenda to include discussing the April 23 budget work session.

• Approved minutes from the April 8 meeting. District 2 Commissioner John Luker abstained from voting.

• Voted 5-0 to cancel April 23 budget work session.

• Unanimously approved County Emergency Management Director Deborah Gaither’s request to transfer 911 building surveillance and door access equipment to the county 911 center.

• Voted 5-0 to approve a Hazard Mitigation Plan drafted by Gaither.

• Unanimously approved a request from Gaither to surplus a bucket truck and use the proceeds to purchase a smaller bucket truck for use by EMA.

•Voted 5-0 to approve an Agreement of Understanding between Talladega County and the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board.

• Unanimously approved an administrative contract with East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.

• Voted 5-0 on a request by County Administrator Wayne Hall to surplus an IBM 6400 printer because it no longer functions properly and was no longer in use.

• Unanimously approved Hall’s request to surplus a 2009 Chevrolet Impala to be used for spare parts.

• Voted 5-0 on a request by Hall to send four Talladega County Jail employees to the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy’s Jail Management Course in Shelby County July 8-18. The course is included in the county’s budget.

• Unanimously approved eight personnel changes, including two resignations, one new hire, three promotions and two transfers.

• Voted 5-0 to approve expeditures.

•Approved convening meeting for an executive session with Vaughn regarding potential litigation.

• Upon reconvening, Voted unanimously not to take action regarding discussion in the executive session.

• Announced the next meeting to be held May 13.

• Announced the Greater Talladega and Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce holds the National Day of Prayer May 2 at noon on the front lawn of the courthouse.

Contact Shane Dunaway at

© 2013