2% sales tax funds several important county projects
By ZACHARY SEIFTER/ Staff Writer
In 2019, the Chilton County Commission passed a resolution to add a 2% sales tax in the county.
While most do not like getting taxed more, this extra 2% has gone a long way in funding some important county projects over the past two years.
It has made a real difference in some county departments, and has allowed the commission to add or repair key structures or pieces to different areas.
For example, this added sales tax has allowed the commission to provide competitive salaries to deputies in the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office. This has allowed them to recruit and retain their deputies. Salaries in the Sheriff’s Office have increased 5.5% over the last two years, not including promotions, according to Chilton County Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell.
The Sheriff’s Office also was able to add eight employees that include patrol deputies, general crimes and narcotics crimes investigators and corrections officers.
The department also was able to maintain match funding to keep School Resource Officers at Verbena schools and Isabella High School, all of which are in unincorporated areas, according to Parnell.
Along with extra funding for the Sheriff’s Office, the county has been able to make improvements to both Minooka Park and Higgins Ferry Park.
In the last two years, 23 campsites have been added to Minooka Park. Sewage, water and power connections have been added to 18 of them while just water and power have been added to the other five.
Along with that, a new playground was built and a new recreation area is being built that will include corn hole, pickle ball, shuffleboard and basketball courts, according to Parnell.
At Higgins Ferry Park, sewage has been added to four campsites, and the boat slips at the park have been repaired. Soon, a new building for equipment and office space is being added at the park. According to Parnell, the money that has been spent on these projects at the parks is approximately $290,743.
The money has also been used on important infrastructure projects.
In recent months, the commission conducted a broadband feasibility study in a pursuit to improve the broadband across the county. That study cost the commission approximately $70,000.
There has also been significant money spent on road paving. In 2020, the county spent over $5 million on having roads paved. So far in 2021, over $3.7 million has been spent on the roads, and the county estimates that $986,807 will be spent on the roads before the end of this year.
Completion of these projects have been made possible thanks to the added 2% sales tax. In two years, the commission has been able to add $1,135,550 to its budget.
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