County revenues outpace projections four months into fiscal year

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission reviewed a positive four-month budget review at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 24, but discussion was once again dominated by the proposal to build a toll bridge over Lay Lake to connect Shelby and Talladega counties.

No action related to the proposal by a private developer was on the Commission’s agenda, but the meeting room was full of local residents against the proposal and several voiced their concerns.

The bridge proposal is still being reviewed by the county, and no date has been set for the Commission to make a decision on whether to grant a license for the project to proceed.

Residents at the meeting noted that the bridge would belong to the developer to raise rates as he sees fit, or even to sell the bridge to another entity, and also took offense to recent comments that they understood as portraying South Shelby County as a poor area in need of an economic stimulus.

One resident said the proposal is part of a larger plan to connect the Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes plants in Alabama with Calera as a “hub;” and another resident presented information about the history of toll bridges in the state, in particular the Foley Beach Express.

Concerns about environmental issues, traffic, quality of life and public safety were also brought up.

During the review of the county’s budget so far this fiscal year, commissioners learned that the county’s general fund revenues have outpaced projections by 2.9 percent, and are 4.9 percent above receipts during the same time period the previous year.

General fund revenues through four months were budgeted at $37.7 million but have come in at $38.7 million, which is also well above the amount collected the previous year ($36.9 million).

Categories most responsible for the windfall include real property and sales/use taxes.

Transportation and Water Services funds have also outpaced projections.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Approved a restaurant retail liquor license for The Point Grill and Bar, and a retail beer and retail table wine license for Paradise Point Marina.
  • Reappointed Fredricka Henne, John L. Wright and Ken Mobley to the Shelby County Department of Human Resources Board.