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County Revenue office collects $12.7 million in tax revenues

The Covington County Commission met Tuesday morning and outlined several administrative items.

Revenue Commissioner Chuck Patterson discussed assignments for the 2020 tax year in Covington County, stating that total collections is over $12.7 million.

“We had a tremendous year and it was challenging because we went from one software company to a new software company. We were one of three counties who transitioned to the new software and I’d like to commend my staff for doing a wonderful job,” Patterson said.

County Engineer Lynn Ralls requested a change in workforce classification to allow an existing employee to be properly classified based on their current duties.

Ralls also received approval on solicitation of bids for seed and fertilizer as well as a bid for a motor grader lease program.

The commission had extensive discussions on the funding they have received under the American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed in response to the pandemic.

“These funds are being provided to every county in the country and Covington County will receive in excess of $7 million over the next couple of years. Half of the funds are already in hand,” said Commission chairman Greg White.

There are restrictions on how the funds can be spent. “We are in the earliest planning stages for utilizing the funding,” White said.

The commission approved a contract with the Association of County Commissions of Alabama to provide administrative services for 6 percent of the grant funds received. “Typical administrative services for grants run anywhere from 5 to 15 percent, depending on the grant size and complexity of the program.”

The commission appointed District 4 Commissioner Tommy McGaha to be the county’s representative on the ACCA Legislative Committee.

The commission also approved a project to provide a new entrance to the probate office’s recording department from the west hall of the courthouse. “This is for a door from the recording department to the hall between the probate’s office and the revenue commissioner’s office,” said Probate Judge Stacy Brooks. “It will make it easier for the public to get a deed or mortgage without having to come through the tag line, down the hall, and back into the revenue office. It’s really for safety purposes and would help the flow of the courthouse.

Brooks added that an architect firm from Montgomery looked at the matter and discussed it with a local contractor. The total project cost will be approximately $35,000 and will retain the historical appearance of the courthouse.

The commission adopted proposed levies and fees for new classifications of ABC licenses primarily related to the sale of table wines. Consistent with other ABC licensing assessments, the commission approved the maximum county rates allowed by law.

Administrator Karen Sowell said there was a recent change on the Board of Registrars and the commission approved training pay.

“Felicia Cope had to take a leave and Buddy Wilkes was appointed to fill her position, but there is a need for training time to work with him. The Secretary of State pays for registrars but there is an option where the county can provide more help. I think it would be a great time to handle that so our elections are held with integrity,” she said.

Sowell also requested the employment of a public information officer to coordinate projects in a contract position.

“We need someone in place to do some of the legwork on getting the website updated and keeping the public informed better of what is going on,” she said.

The commission voted to approve a candidate who would work 20 to 24 hours a week for a 6-month trial.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, July 27, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.