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Minooka Park upgrades continue

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Chilton County Commission approved additional funding for improvements at Minooka Park during a meeting on Oct. 27.

Spending $5,476 for new signage, including a large entrance sign, was approved 4 to 1. Commissioners Allen Caton, Steve Langston, Matt Mims and Jimmie Hardee voted in favor. Commissioner Joe Headley voted against. Commissioners Joseph Parnell and Greg Moore were absent.

Headley said he was voting against because this funding had not been approved in the budget.

Langston said some of the existing signage has been refurbished to save between $7,000 and $8,000 on the project.

Funding for lighting upgrades, 23 campsite rings and upgrades to make the pavilion ADA complaint were also approved. Headley also opposed these votes for the same reason.

Hardee said it was good to see the park become a revenue producer with all of the campsites booked each holiday.

“This is an investment,” Hardee said.

Headley said that since improvements to the park have been made, revenue generated from the trails and camp sites has increased.

According to Headley, in 2019, Minooka Park generated $74,000, so far in 2020, it has generated $130,000.

“The state shut us down for 60 days on our trails (because of the pandemic), which is 35% of our revenue,” Headley said. “… We doubled our money in a pandemic.”

Replacing rotten wood in the park offices and pier was also discussed. However, since this would be a costly endeavor, it was left for the next Commission to decide.

Langston and Caton were thanked for their service on The Commission, as this was their last meeting, and reminded of the many accomplishments that the Commission has achieved during their tenure.

Incoming County Commissioners will be sworn in on Nov. 11 at 9 a.m.

Also during the meeting, the Chilton County Commission approved:

  • Hiring two-part time and two full-time officers for the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Renewing the contract with Avenu Insights & Analytics to continue to collect sales tax. The company also performs random audits and requested audits of local businesses.
  • Authorizing the County Attorney and the County Administrator to sign a document needed for a $3.2 million economic development grant from CARES ACT funds for allowing the land owned by the city and county, which will be the future site of the Alabama Farm Center at Alfa Centennial Park, to be available for COVID-19 testing or aid in another crisis. The document will verify that the land was purchased without using eminent domain powers.
  • A resolution that the Chilton County Commission approve all job descriptions. County administrator Sylvia Singleton said this has been the procedure, but the actual resolution could not be found and the auditors are requesting it.
  • The updated reappraisal budget.
  • Declaring two pickup trucks from the county engineer’s department to be surplus.
  • A 3% increase in pay for Maranda Acreman.
  • Allen Caton to the Sheriff’s Merit Board to replace Billy Singleton. Singleton is resigning from the board after being elected to the Clanton City Council.