- Cullman, Alabama

Top News

September 19, 2013

Hanceville prioritizing to fill budget hole

HANCEVILLE — City leaders here are sifting through department expense requests carefully in an effort to close a deficit in the upcoming fiscal 2014 budget.

Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail and the city council have held a string of after-hours budget meetings this month with department heads to get a handle on the nearly $3 million general fund budget which begins Oct. 1. After Monday’s meeting to go over the municipal court budget, officials estimated they still had roughly $46,000 to trim.

A working draft shows expense budgets for the following major departments and their percentages of the general fund: $873,761 for police (29.2 percent), $454,939 for public works (15.2 percent), $272,051 for fire (9 percent), $159,798 for parks and recreation (5.3 percent) and $26,292 for library (0.88 percent).

Officials project $562,622 for general fund expenses and $168,000 in alcohol tax expenses. The alcohol money is split accordingly: 50 percent to the general fund, 35 percent for infrastructure and 5 percent each to Hanceville schools and fire and police departments.

“The city, by law, can only spend a lot of these funds it receives on certain things,” Nail said. “Like the oil and gas tax money; it can’t be used to pay for salaries or insurance.”

On Monday, Court Clerk Angie Finley proposed a number of measures aimed at squeezing more revenue from the city court system for the general fund. One of the most significant changes would be increasing court costs per case by $11, bringing it in line with what the Cullman County Circuit Court charges. That’s projected to increase revenue for Hanceville’s corrections fund by nearly 28 percent, Finley said.

Council president Jimmy Sawyer said his most pressing concern in the municipal court budget was how to recover more than $300,000 in outstanding warrants. Hanceville does not currently have a police officer dedicated to executing the warrants because it can’t afford to hire one.

Finely asked the council to consider hiring another full-time magistrate to help keep up with the case load and be aggressive in recovering all fines, fees and court costs possible.

Council members also agreed they wanted to keep $15,000 of the capital improvement fund to pay for renovations on the first floor of city hall for more storage. The money had initially been moved to the police budget for renovations on its office on the second floor. The capital fund has $77,528, said City Clerk Tania Wilcox.

The council discussed possibly using capital funds to make drainage improvements at the baseball fields to attract more tournaments which could increase revenue. Councilman Charles Wilson proposed installing a HVAC unit at the recreation center to encourage more event rentals there too.

“We’ve really got to be as frugal as we can and then try to do things that bring people in for revenue,” Wilson said.

Wilson proposed a new schedule for police that would have one day-time patrol officer working with Police Chief Bob Long and the city investigator and then two night-time patrol officers.

“I think we can work with fewer officers than Chief Long is telling us. Less than the 10 we have currently,” Wilson said.

Nail said Long, a salaried employee, could not work over 40 hours, and the city investigator was already “bogged down to the heels.”

Councilman Doug Batemon said the city should not hire anymore full-time employees until it “can get our house in order.”

The Hanceville City Council plans to hold another budget meeting to make the necessary departmental cuts to close the $46,000 deficit before voting on the 2014 budget.

Tiffeny Owens can be reached email at or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

Text Only
Top News
  • Good Hope band School grappling with massive Good Hope band growth

    With the band more than doubling in size over the past four years, Good Hope High School is dealing with what principal Anita Kilpatrick calls “a great problem to have.” But, it’s still a problem.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • WEB MUGS 2 Cullman men arrested in Garden City cemetery on drug charges

    Two Cullman men were arrested in a Garden City cemetery after 28 plastic baggies allegedly filled with marijuana, methampheatmine, and crystal ice were found in their vehicle.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Beatles Rehearsal WSCC singers to pay tribute to the Beatles

    It’s been 50 years since the Beatles made the leap from across the pond to shake up the music scene in America. Their influence is still being felt today and will on display as the Wallace State Singers present “Revolution: A Musical Celebration of the Beatles.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FHS 2 Academics improve after anti-bullying program implemented at Fairview High School

    Last year, Fairview High School teachers and students listened as speakers from a program called Rachel’s Challenge taught them about how to deal with bullying in their school.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Danny Ray Allred Former Cullman man sentenced in sex abuse case

    An Arley man accepted a plea bargain of a suspended 10-year sentence in connection to a 2012 Cullman County sexual abuse case involving his stepdaughter on April 4.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • lawenforcementreports.jpg Arrests, incidents reports for April 17, 2014

    Here is a look at the incidents that were reported to the Cullman City Police Department for Thursday:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local groups get $38,500 in grants

    The Cullman County Community Development Commission (CCCDC) awarded two local fire departments $10,000 each at its monthly meeting last week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Bussman Spay-neuter clinics lose bid to gain legitimacy

    Alabama Sen. Paul Bussman received more than $14,000 from veterinarians across the state — including $10,000 from the Political Animal political action committee — prior to filibustering a bill to allow nonprofit spay-neuter clinics to continue operating in the state.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • WSCC Gill Accomplished vocalists to perform Tuesday at WSCC

    Two amazing vocalists will perform on Tuesday, April 22 at Wallace State Community College as part of the college’s annual Arts in April celebration.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Relay For Life Survivors' breakfast

    The committee planning the annual Relay For Life of Cullman County event will once again host the Survivors’ Breakfast to honor both cancer survivors and caregivers. The breakfast will be held at 7 a.m., Wednesday, April 30, at Cullman Church of Christ. The church is located at the corner of Highway 157 and Childhaven Road.

    April 18, 2014