The Shelby County Chamber holds ‘Annual State of County’ luncheon
Published 10:13 am Monday, October 31, 2022
By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff writer
PELHAM – The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce meeting held its annual luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. at the Pelham Civic Complex.
Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins gave updates to the community at the luncheon.
“First of all, I think it’s important for us to really understand what are we, who is our county and who are our leaders,” Scroggins said. “Many times, we have people who want to come and bring their business to Shelby County, and we simply do not have the land space. We have lost many economic projects to the flat lands in the northern Alabama area around Madison, Alabama. That dictates a lot about what we do and how we recruit tourism, how we recruit business and how our communities develop.”
Scroggins recognized the nine county commissioners of Shelby County.
“When you have 225,000-plus residents, it is a very busy job,” Scroggins said. “They have a shared responsibility to do what we are here to do.”
The County Commission districts are currently being balanced.
“When they ask, ‘Why do you balance the commission districts?’ (It is) because certain areas grow faster than others,” Scroggins said. “Mayor Picklesimer is here from Chelsea, his area has grown extremely fast. That district will change. We are in the process of balancing those districts right now.”
Scroggins discussed the importance of being resourceful in the county.
“One of the things I really want everyone to understand–we talk about this with our staff members and our team,” Scroggins said. “We only take the resources of our residents and our businesses and provide service back to the residents of our county. You’re a resident of Shelby County, and we take that very seriously. We are here to provide service. We use those resources to serve you. That is our sole purpose.”
Population growth has risen from 223,024 to 226,902 from 2020-2021 an increase of 3,878.
“In Shelby County, the county itself is focused on quality life,” Scroggins said. “You can improve quality of life a few ways. You’ve got to provide people a place to work. You need to have a very good education system, which we do. We have a top-ranked system between our private schools and public schools in Shelby County, we have some of the top-ranked high schools in the state of Alabama.”
Scroggins spoke about additional aspects of the county that promote a good quality of life for its residents.
“You need to have good public safety,” Scroggins said. “That is our police department, our Sherriff’s Office, our fire departments and our EMS services. Those things combined build the quality of life.”
Scroggins said that the county gets one-half of one cent sales tax.
“One-half of that cent goes somewhere else,” Scroggins said. “We keep one-half of one cent. If we poured all of our eggs into the sales tax generation basket, it wouldn’t prove to be a long-term sustainable process in growing our county. We focus on quality of life. We assist our municipalities with a retail growth so they can generate sales tax. We work together in that manner.”
Scroggins discussed the values of properties in the Shelby County area and how the increase in value ultimately leads back to the county’s overall emphasis on quality of life.
“The number that is impressive here is year over year, the values of the properties in Shelby County increased by $478,” he said. “The properties in Shelby County had a value increase in the last 12 months of $478. If you’re looking at a year back, 478 million dollars of property value growth is significant in our county. That really goes back to that quality of life issue that we are all a part of to make that happen.”
The per capita income is 39,712 for Shelby County.
“(For) most of our residents, there is two incomes,” Scroggins said. “If you look at this per capita income, it is a number that we are way ahead of in most areas. If you look at where we rank nationally with other counties, it is pretty impressive.”
There are 947 miles of paved roads in Shelby County and 104 miles of unpaved rides. There are 154 miles of subdivision streets that the county highway department maintains. The county contains 190 bridge structures.
“We have 89 bridges that are less than 20 feet long,” Scroggins said. “Bridge structures are very expensive to build, they have to be replaced and maintained.”
The fiscal year budget is $166,610,288. This breaks down into $39,266,212 for public safety including the Sherriff’s Office, EMA, Juvenile Development Services, volunteer fire and EMS. Highway Department receives $19,970,212. Water Services receive $23,413,297 which includes transmission line infrastructure and plant infrastructure. Landfill receives $10,513,293 covering MSW Cell #5 construction and land purchase.
“A very large budget, the largest budget in history,” Scroggins said. “We continue to grow. Shelby County received $42 million dollars of ARPA funds from the federal government, those funds have to be in place. We are investing those in infrastructure projects only. Our goal with the ARPA funds are to invest in infrastructure that lasts a minimum of 20 years.”
Scroggins reiterated how conservatively the budget is maintained in order to allot for any necessities the county might encounter.
“We budget in case there is a downturn in the market,” he said. “We budget in case there is inflation which then has recessionary issues which follow that inflation period. We do that because if we receive more, it is just going to go into savings for future projects.”
Details were given during the meeting about previous and current projects including the Alex Dudchock county services building on 280.
“One of things we are most proud of is being able to take the services to the people,” Scroggins said. “We wanted to be able to combine some services where it was most convenient for you to do everything you needed to do in one location. Many of you probably have been (to the Alex Dudchock building.) It is a phenomenal facility, it was built about $2 million dollars under the architect’s estimate.”
A mobile medical clinic is now available to those within the county.
“We utilized the opportunity to go after grant funding to provide a mobile medical clinic and really partner with the Community of Hope Clinic to be able to go into our communities,” Scroggins said. “We are able to go to the rural forces of our county as a part of the Community of Hope commission to provide medical services to the underserviced. It is truly a mobile doctor’s office. We are proud of this.”
On Thursday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. a ribbon cutting event will be occur at Double Oak Park in order to celebrate its opening.
“Double Oak Park was an opportunity for us in August of 2021 to purchase some land and preserve it and to trail outdoor opportunities within our community,” Scroggins said. “This is within one of our highest grossing areas in Shelby County. It is a 750-acre outdoor park. We are excited about this ribbon cutting that is coming up.”
More information on the Shelby County Chamber can be found at Shelbychamber.org.