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County raises $7M in jail tax revenue

The temporary sales tax set to raise funds for a new Pike County jail has already amassed nearly $7 million and the county is looking to help that money grow faster.

The Pike County Commission unanimously approved moving $3 million of the funds raised into a CD account from the checking account to gain an interest of 2 percent over 12 months as compared to 1.5 percent.

“As of now that would raise about $15,000 extra,” Wilson told the commission. Attorney Allen Jones said that number would actually grow as well as the county is consistently bringing in $300,000 or more each month.

Wilson said the other approximately $4 million would be left in checking so the county has no issues as expenses start to come in on the project.

The commission heard at its last meeting from TCU consultant Ken Upchurch in executive session on a detailed analysis of four sites that were being considered as possible sites.

Now the commission is down to two sites, which have been publicly revealed for months – Dunbar Drive and the county’s Road Department property.

The commission is expecting Upchurch to appear before the commission during the work session at its July 22 meeting to present the analysis of the sites publicly and for the public to give feedback before the commission takes a vote on which site to move forward with.

County Engineer Russell Oliver also announced to the commission that the Road Department is now working on its plan for the Rebuild Alabama Act annual transportation plan.

The plan for how the funding will be spent is due by the end of August, although collections from new revenue may not arrive to the county until January 2020. The collections will begin on September 1.

However, $400,000 in state funds will be available October 1, Oliver said, and that funding would be included in this plan. The commission must also report its spending at the end of the year in accordance with the accountability portion of the act.

The commission unanimously approved the acceptance of $500,000 in reimbursement from the EDA for the resurfacing of The project will help to resurface approximately four miles of County Road (CR) 7714 (old Highway 231) from CR7724 north to CR7707. The county also will be reimbursed $500,000 by CDBG funds.

Oliver advised the commission to extend a short-term line by one year and increase it from $1 million to $1.5 million as these projects all get underway to support the new Rex Lumber saw mill, as these funds do not cover expenses until they’ve already been paid.

EMA Director Herbert Reeves alerted the commission about a tropical development in the gulf that could become a tropical storm by the end of the week.

“I’m not trying to be an alarmist, we just need to be ready,” Reeves said. “There’s about an 80 percent chance it will develop right now. We’ll keep you updated.”

The commission will meet again Monday, July 22, upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.

The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the business meeting will follow at 6 p.m.