County manager: County’s economy creeping toward pre-recession levels

Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock speaks with members of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 26 at the Pelham Civic Complex. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock speaks with members of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 26 at the Pelham Civic Complex. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Shelby County saw tens of millions of dollars worth of business and capital improvement projects in 2013, and saw its economy take a step toward pre-recession levels, the county’s manager told local business owners on Feb. 26.

Shelby County Manager Alex Dudchock gave the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce a “state of the county” address during the chamber’s February luncheon at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena.

During the presentation, Dudchock said the county’s revenues were about $54 million during the 2008 fiscal year before taking a sharp dip during the economic recession in the following few years.

In 2013, the county saw about $52.7 million in revenues. From Oct. 1, 2013 – when the county’s 2014 fiscal year began – until Jan. 31, the county’s revenue collections were about $476,725 higher than projected, Dudchock said.

“We’re not there yet,” Dudchock said of the current revenue numbers compared to 2008. “But we are working toward it. We can’t change our spending overnight just because we have an uptick.”

Despite being affected by the economy over the past few years, Shelby County worked to bring several major capital improvements and attract multiple businesses to the county in 2013, Dudchock said.

The county was able to secure federal grants to help fund 22 road projects, seven bridge replacements, two intersection improvements and 13 resurfacing projects last year, and completed large projects such as the Veterans Shrine and Register of Honor at Montevallo’s American Village.

The county also worked with local and state agencies to construct a new spillway bridge and scenic overlook at Oak Mountain State Park, and also worked to build a new Vandiver-Sterrett Senior Center.

The Shelby County Airport saw the addition of a large new hangar and saw bids awarded on another hanger and a park-and-ride lot. In Montevallo, the county worked with the University of Montevallo and the city to complete projects such as the UM on Main building and a new bookstore.

The county also worked to move the DAY Program for at-risk students into the second floor of the new Alabaster YMCA building and also saw Hibbett Sports complete its 360,000-square-foot distribution facility in the Shelby West Corporate Park.

“We have had a lot of opportunities and a lot of challenges in the county,” Dudchock said. “We are only able to meet those because we’ve got staff members in the room today who work hard.”