Cleburne Commission

Cleburne County commissioners Terry Hendrix and Laura Cobb, shown at a meeting Tuesday night in Heflin.

HEFLIN — The Cleburne County Commission brought up a number of topics during a Tuesday night work session it expects include in next week’s regular meeting, but the county’s 2020 budget wasn’t primary among them. 

That’s because the budget, which must be finalized this month, will be dealt with during its own work session on Sept. 16 at 10 a.m., with a final vote scheduled for Sept. 25.

Commissioner Laura Cobb suggested the commission tuck away $100,000 per year for bridge maintenance saying, “we have no solution” to the question of how to pay for repairs to the county’s aging bridges.

“We’ve got bridges that are going down and we do not have any funds there for bridge work,” Cobb said.

Commissioner Terry Hendrix said he did not have a problem with Cobb’s idea but it would take 20 years to save up money for a bridge.

Cleburne County engineer Lee Estes said there are seven truss-style bridges left in the county that will be expensive to replace. 

Out of those seven truss bridges, two of them might not pass inspection during the next round of bridge inspections, according to Estes.  

The commission also talked about the upcoming 2020 census and how important it is for every Cleburne County resident to be counted. Hendrix said for every person who is not counted the county loses $1,600 in state and federal monies. According to Hendrix the state as a whole is in peril of losing a U.S. Congress seat if population figures decline. 

The commissioners also discussed the county’s Cleburne County E911 agreement, which will cost the county five percent more than last year’s agreement. 

Cobb was concerned with the increase.

“I’m looking at a two to three percent increase from our budget, what we can afford,” Cobb said. 

E911 board chairman Corey Cochran told commissioners, “I guess where we kinda messed up is that we didn’t increase it last year and we should have.” Cohran said he hopes that if there is an increase next year, it will only be two and a half percent.

“We’re still $12,000 from meeting our budget,” said Cochran.

Cochran said the increase in fees is related to making a part-time employee a full-time employee which includes salary and training costs.

For the last two years,  the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office has paid $69,762.59 in dispatching fees. The E911 fee schedule for the Sheriff’s Office for the upcoming fiscal year is $73,250.72.

Hendrix said the matter will be discussed under “new business” at next week’s commission meeting. 

Tim Cooper, executive director for the Arc of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties, a nonprofit that serves people with cognitive/intellectual and developmental disabilities, told the commission what the organization does for county residents.

Cooper said that Arc has summer day camps for kids and adults, art classes, garden programs and job readiness classes. Cooper asked the commission for $5,000 to help with the employment programs that Arc offers.

Pati Tiller, Arc’s outreach coordinator, told the commission that Arc has been serving Cleburne County residents for the last 23 years.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.