County Commission passes FY 2022 budget

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission approved a $69 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a Sept. 13 meeting.

The budget for Fiscal Year 2022 includes nearly $69.2 million in projected General Fund revenues and about $69.1 million in expenditures, with an ending balance of about $89,400.

The new budget reflects a nearly $3.5 million increase in General Fund revenues and a $7.3 million increase in expenditures from Fiscal Year 2021.

“We probably worked more hours than ever on the analysis of the budget to make sure that we are trying to meet as many of the demands on the budget to serve the residents of the county,” County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “We’re ready to implement this new budget, and we’re excited about the opportunities to invest back into residents.”

Scroggins said his staff worked closely with leaders from the county’s various departments, including the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Property Tax Commissioner’s Office and Shelby County Probate Judge’s Office, to determine future needs.

Public safety comprises a significant portion of the budget. Expenses are projected to total about $35.9 million, an increase from $33.1 million in the 2021 revised budget.

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego said the SCSO plans to fill eight full-time deputy positions, a process that likely will last until early 2022.

The new budget also places an emphasis on fire and emergency medical services.

“Thank you for investing in EMS,” Samaniego said to the Commission. “We have taken steps to train our personnel, but we do need to move in that direction with EMS services.”

In addition to the SCSO’s eight new positions, the budget includes a trail construction supervisor position, bringing the total for 2022 to nine new full-time employee positions.

Shelby County Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Naugher noted a 5.9-percent expense increase projected with the county’s health insurance plan of $644,407.

Also included in the budget are the county’s ongoing and new capital improvement projects:

  • Shelby 280 Center
  • Major distribution water main – replacement of existing line on U.S. 280
  • Design of MSW Cell Number 5 at Shelby County Landfill
  • Cahaba River Park – North Sector Trail Expansion and South Sector
  • Dunnavant Valley
  • Double Oak Park
  • Dunnavant Valley Greenway Phase 2 Extension
  • American Village – theater project in the Supreme Court building – Independence Hall construction
  • Veterans Park on Alabama 119
  • University of Montevallo College of Fine Arts Facility and Performing Arts Center/Main Theater
  • Inverness Parkway Trail
  • Park capacity/improvement projects or tourism-associated projects

“We closed on some park property about a month ago, and we have started some actions to make that open to the public,” Scroggins said of the new parks, which likely will be called Dunnavant Valley Park (Mt Laurel area) and Double Oak Park (Double Oak Mountain area). “We will potentially have some back-country horse trails. It will take several months to get that developed.”

Scroggins said the county is going back to fully funding its park and recreation grants after only half-funding last year.

The application process for the park grants will start Oct. 1 and run for about 60 days.

“We want to award those by the end of this calendar year so they have nine months to implement those,” Scroggins said.

The budget includes $900,000 in projected expenses for capital projects, and nearly $19 million for the Shelby County Highway Department.

The Commission on Sept. 13 awarded a $217,650 bid for the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Shelby County 52 and Shelby County 93 to Stone and Sons Electrical.

The Commission also approved for the county to enter into a maintenance agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for the passive warning devices at the railroad crossing on Shelby County 433 near Chelsea.

Commissioner Lindsey Allison complimented Scroggins, Naugher and Chief Operating Officer Phil Burns for their extensive work on the budget.

“I have a lot of confidence in this budget, and I appreciate it,” Allison said. “In a very volatile time, we’ve taken care of the employees.”