By David Lazenby
A future county park geared toward off-road recreation moved forward Tuesday when the Cullman County Commission named the facility and introduced its new director.
During its semi-monthly meeting, the board agreed to Commissioner Doug Williams’ proposal the 1,456-acre off-highway vehicle park be named Stoney Lonesome OHV Park in Cullman County.
“Stoney Lonesome is the big creek that runs through the whole property,” Williams said about the land located in Bremen the county purchased for $1.8 million in March 2007.
Shortly after the new moniker was selected, the commission heard from John Sellers, who was hired by the county to manage the park.
“Building this park, we believe, will bring extensive sales tax revenue to Cullman County from outside of Cullman,” said Williams. “Outside dollars is where we make money to operate the county.”
Along with increasing county revenue, Sellers said he hopes to create “a place that everyone can be proud of.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, county commissioners came closer to reaching an agreement with AT&T; of Alabama specifying obligations for providing video franchise service through the company’s U-verse product, a group of services provided through Internet Protocol that includes television service, Internet access and telephone service.
County Attorney Dan Willingham said the final agreement hinges on a small technicality in one paragraph of the agreement. However, AT&T; Alabama representative Gary Pledger assured the commission “this is not an issue — we will resolve it.”
Willingham could not be reached Tuesday afternoon to elaborate on his concern about the agreement.
The agreement was amended from the original document discussed at a recent commission meeting. It was changed so that the county’s revenue from the company would mirror the portion it receives from franchise agreements with other media providers, which currently stands at 3 percent.
“It amends the revenue portion to make our payment to the county the same as your getting from the cable company — whatever that is,” said Pledger. “If that changes, going forward, we will change with it.”
Also at the meeting, the commission agreed to take part in the state-wide 2008 Sales Tax Holiday that will take place Aug. 1-3.
Chris King, the director of Cullman County Sales Tax, said the event gives shoppers an opportunity to purchase certain items free from state sales tax and does not decrease local sales tax collection.
“We haven’t seen any negative effects as far as our sales tax collections over the past couple of years,” King said.
In other business, the commission took the following actions:
‰ Heard from Ja Williams who expressed concern about the Cullman County Animal Shelter.
‰ Approved a request for a $1,000 donation to Center Hill Community Center.
‰ Approved the surplus of three sanitation department trucks that have been replaced by other vehicles.
‰ Authorized Chairman Wiley Kitchens to sign a Federal Transit Administration grant application for C.A.R.T.S., the county’s public transportation service.
‰ Authorized the chairman to sign a Senior Community Service Employment Program Host Agency Agreement for fiscal year 2008-2009.
‰ Accepted a bid to service Sheriff’s Office and other county vehicles.
‰ Received an update from George Mann on plans for the future Purple Heart Memorial Park.
The next County Commission meeting will be at 10 a.m. June 23 at the Cullman County Courthouse.
By David Lazenby
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