It was a challenging year, but a good year for the County Commission, Chairman James Hutcheson said.
“We got a lot accomplished, despite the pandemic,” he said.
Perhaps the biggest piece of business for the county in ’21 was borrowing $5 million to completely renovate the county jail. It came at a good time. One county bond issue paid off in November and the county borrowed the new money at that time. The payments will be pretty much identical.
“We’ve worked hard to save money and the county is in good financial shape,” Chairman Hutcheson said. “We’ve got an AA stable bond rating, which is very good for a county our size. It allowed us to borrow this money at 1.38 percent.”
It’s a 10-year bond, as the Commission has made a point of trying not to issue any long-term debt.
Other business in 2021 he mentioned included:
• Finalizing the P-25 radio system for the sheriff’s office, EMA and
the district shops. It’s expected to go online soon. “The county’s part was $420,000,” Chairman Hutcheson said.
• The Commission approved Probate Judge Andrea LeCroy’s request to add
a new satellite tag office in Boaz. It is expected to go online possibly in February. “We will now have tag offices in Guntersville, Arab, Albertville and Boaz to make it more convenient for the citizens to get their tags,” the chairman said. “We really appreciate Boaz being a partner in this.”
• A new shelter has been added at the Driver’s License Office so
people waiting for service don’t have to wait out in the weather.
“This was long overdue,” the chairman said.
• County employees were given a longevity raise just before Christmas,
the first time this had ever been done. The chairman said it’s more important than ever to take care of employees and make sure they have benefits that will keep experienced employees in place for the county.
There are about 220 county employees.
• The Commission quietly boosted Courthouse security in 2021, adding a
number of new security cameras following a bomb threat at the Courthouse.
• “We got a special $400,000 grant to rebuild the Thomas Lane bridge
in Kennamer Cove,” Chairman Hutcheson said. “We have a great relationship with State Highway Director John Cooper and it has been very beneficial to Marshall County.”
• A new $38,000 roof was put on the District Attorney’s annex. “It had
been needing it,” the chairman said.
• The Courthouse lawn renovations are nearing completion. The lawn had
to be completely redone when large 100-year trees fell during a storm.
“The trees uncovered an old well and we worked with the Guntersville Historical Society to preserve he well,” the chairman said. He said more landscaping and a fence will be coming for the Courthouse lawn soon.
• Looking ahead to 2022, the Commission will begin to consider how it
will spend $18 million in federal coronavirus money. The chairman said they want to spent it on projects that will benefit the citizens of the county long-term for many years to come. They expect to dedicate some of the money to water system improvement projects around the county. Chairman Hutcheson said they also want to dedicate some of the funds to various heating and air systems in county buildings.
• The county should go to bid soon on renovating the Marshall County