T.C. Coley

Coley said the capital projects presented by both the Tallapoosa County and Alexander City school boards would potentially be $72 million, the largest ever public investment in the county.

Tallapoosa County Commission chair T.C. Coley expects the 1-cent sales tax tabled by the commission last fall to be voted on at its August meeting.

“It will be on the agenda for August to be voted up or down or maybe tabled,” Coley said at Monday’s commission meeting .

Coley said the capital projects presented by both the Tallapoosa County and Alexander City school boards would potentially be $72 million, the largest ever public investment in the county.

“This is probably going to be one of the largest public expenditures that we have ever had in the history of our county,” Coley said, “between the $47 million being discussed by the Alex City board and the potential $25 million talked in county schools. So we are talking about a $72 million possible investment about in the future of Tallapoosa County. Anything larger would likely have been in the private sector.”

Coley said letters were sent to the superintendents and all of the board members of the Tallapoosa County and Alexander City boards of education.

The letters requested information in four categories:

• A list of proposed projects to be completed from the 1-cent sales tax

• The cost per item or project

• List of priorities of those projects

• Projected completion dates

Coley said this information will need to be approved by the boards in July.

“We want to make sure the list is from the most current information for those governing bodies on how to use those funds,” Coley said.

Coley said he had heard already from the two superintendents with Dr. Keith Lankford at Alexander City replying, “Thank you very much. We will get on this right away.” Coley said Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Joe Windle also acknowledged receipt of the request by saying, “Received, thank you.”

Coley said the information should be received by the commission Wednesday, Aug. 7, so tit can have time to review the lists before its meeting Monday, Aug. 13.

Coley said he has already heard from one board member who was thankful for how non-partisan and transparent the process was.

Coley encouraged commissioners to ask constituents to communicate with members of the Alexander City and Tallapoosa County boards of education to inform the boards what residents would like to see them do with funding if the 1-cent sales tax is put in place to secure bonds.

County administrator Blake Beck said the commission has started the budgeting process for fiscal year 2020. Beck said he expects there to again be increases in benefit costs, especially healthcare.

“We have been seeing increases in healthcare for the last 10 to 12 years,” Beck said. “I think we will see a slight increase in our retirement costs.”

Beck also said his staff was looking at massaging the salary matrix since step increases topped out at 10 ½ years. He also said he and county road engineer David Moore would be looking at how to budget the new gas tax.

“The new gas tax has some new requirements,” Beck said. “We won’t see the first money until January and will ramp up over a few years.”

Beck said the county is on target with current operations for the current fiscal year.

Tallapoosa County probate judge Tal East asked commissioners to be on the search for poll workers for the upcoming election cycle.

“We have four or five that have expressed interest in not doing it again,” East said. “If any of you know anyone who might be interested please let us know so we don’t struggle when the time gets close.”

Coley expressed the commission’s thoughts on the passing of Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance executive director Don McClellan.

“There are not sufficient words for us to express this,” Coley said. “We will always appreciate what he did recruiting industry. We would like to extend condolences to his family and the staff he worked with.”

In other action the Tallapoosa County Commission:

• Approved warrants and purchase orders.

• Approved a final plat for the Hideaway at StillWaters.

• Approved the nominations of Kevin Eason, Ruth Milwid and Chad McKelvey to be forwarded on to the State Department of Revenue to select one for the Board of Equalizations. Eason has been on the board for eight years.

• Approved the Emergency Operations Plan update. Tallapoosa County EMA director Jason Moran said there is not much change other than making certain things fit national formatting standards and making adjustments for “human caused threats.”

• Heard from Tallapoosa County tourism director Sandra Fuller the department’s website has been up and running. “I’m still adding information,” Fuller said. “I don’t think that will ever stop.”

• Approved a grant application for the Walnut Hill Water Authority. Beck said the authority would provide the $401,000 in matching funds if it is awarded the grant.

The next meeting of the Tallapoosa County Commission is 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.