By JOEL McNEECE
Calhoun County is currently projected to experience a 2.57 mill increase next year as supervisors continue budget deliberations. The board met for nearly five hours last Wednesday to discuss the budget. The board made several cuts to the originally proposed budget before settling on the 2.57 mill increase.
Among the factors provided as reason for the increase were due to an $85,000 cut in homestead exemption funds by the state, a mandated expense of county mapping by airplane (done once every 12 years), a quarter-mill increase sought by the school district, and one mill for a pay increase for county employees.
Calhoun Tax Assessor/ Collector Bill Malone said the proposed 2.57 mill increase would result in a $8.16 hike for a person with a $100,000 house.
In terms of vehicles, Malone said the increase would be approximately $6 on a $10,000 vehicle; $12 on a $20,000 vehicle and $18 on a $30,000 vehicle.
Malone said the total assessed value of the county increased from $77 million to $79 million due to new construction and the Haworth (United Chair) expansion.
The county budget is still a work in progress and won’t be finalized until September.
•In other news, the board continued discussions about possibly raising the garbage bill $1 to $11. No action was taken.
The board appointed E-911 Director Wayne Stone as the new county flood plain administrator.
County Engineer Chodie Myers resigned from the position due to the new requirements that will “significantly” increase the time needed to perform the job.
“It’s a lot more responsibility than I even thought,” Myers said.
Myers noted that Calhoun has more flood plain than virtually any other county in “The Hills” with nearly 40% of Calhoun in the flood zone.
The board expressed concern about the new flood plain ordinance, which the county is required to pass to be eligible for any government monies, regarding its requirement of permits for any construction.
Myers said his interpretation of the ordinance was that anyone building anything anywhere, not just in the flood plain, would have to acquire a permit from the administrator.
Myers asked that Board Attorney Sonny Clanton read the ordinance and see if he interpreted it the same.
A meeting is set for Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. at the courthouse with a representative of MEMA to discuss the county’s requirements to adhere to the ordinance.
•The board passed an order requiring a contractor working on a Corp of Engineers project to post sufficient bond to repair any damage to roads.
Supervisor Howard Morgan said despite the county’s ordinance requiring a permit for hauling on county roads, some out-of-county companies aren’t adhering to the policy and give no notification.
Morgan said a Corp of Engineers’ project along Bear Creek called for 14,000 tons of rock (more than 600 loads) to be hauled over county roads 462 and 418, which were just resurfaced by the county last year.
Supervisors said the haulers routinely exceed the weight limits which cost the county to repair the damaged roads.