Adam Downs

Cleburne County coroner Adam Downs talked at the County Commission meeting Monday about how he needs a hydraulic lift for the county morgue to put bodies on the top shelf of a storage cooler. The county will pass the fiscal year 2020 budget next week. Photo by Bill Wilson / The Anniston Star

HEFLIN — Cleburne County employees will see a little something extra in their paychecks next year.

The Cleburne County Commission tentatively agreed Monday to give all county workers a raise next year thanks to a $100,000 carry-over from last year’s budget, according to Kim Brown, Cleburne County’s chief finance administrator.

“We won’t know until that final vote,” Brown said. The county employees 85 people, according to Brown.

The commission will vote on its $7.8 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year next week. Brown called the budget “fair.” 

Brown said the budget will have more revenue, including nearly $800,000 from a new gasoline tax and from federal aid money used for roads and bridges.

Commissioner Terry Hendrix said the budget was “pretty flat,” except for a few items that will be a one-time cost. 

“I think we held the cost down pretty good,” Hendrix said. “It’s going to go up a little bit but nothing extraordinary.” 

The commission heard from various department heads and county officials during the two and one half hour meeting.

Adam Downs, Cleburne County coroner, requested a budget of $35,000, including a couple of items the commission questioned. Downs hopes to get a hydraulic lift to deposit bodies into the three-level cooler at the county morgue and two new cots at a cost of $6,200. Downs said that the top shelf of the cooler can’t be used due to the difficulty of lifting a body into it. 

Downs also requested $3,500 for morgue improvements, including remodeling and an air conditioner for the coroner’s office space.

The commission decided to revisit Down’s two requests at a later date.

Dennis Green, Cleburne County sheriff, submitted a $900,000 budget for his office and requested two new Chevy Tahoes at a cost of $70,000. The commission whittled his request down to one Ford pick-up truck, which the sheriff said he was OK with.

The commission agreed to fund another investigator for Green’s office for one year. 

Crystal Cavender, Cleburne County emergency manager, spoke to the commission about changing over from antiquated warning sirens to a mass notification system to alert residents to hazardous weather. 

Cavender said that the county has 22 sirens, but eight don’t work. She proposed taking down five of the sirens at a cost of $14,000 because they might be a liability to the county. She said sirens will still be in use at county schools and at Coleman Lake, a recreation area in the Talladega National Forest. 

Cavender said the mass notification system will be available for county residents this December. Residents can sign up for texts or calls to their cell or landline phones to warn of hazardous conditions. 

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