Rehau’s latest expansion proved to be bigger than the automotive supplier had expected.
After receiving a 10-year property tax abatement from local governments last year for an announced improvement project that, at the time, was set to bring 70 new jobs to Cullman, the company ended up more than doubling its originally forecast investment of $12,485,000 in the project.
Local city and county leaders have welcomed that kind of news, even if it means adjusting the original abatement to waive ad valorem taxes on the project, since it also means more jobs and an accompanying bump in education taxes, which cannot be waived. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Cullman County Commission joined the City of Cullman (which already had approved the adjustment back in June) in signing off on an amendment to the original $12,485,00 amount, after the total project cost swelled to $24,849,000.
Cullman Economic Development project manager Luke Satterfield told the commission it’s always a positive sign when an established industry re-invests in its local footprint. “What happened is, they spent a lot more money, which is good,” he said. “It’s good news, because over the 10-year abatement span, this will create, roughly, an additional $600,000 in educational funds for schools in both the county and the city — plus $200,000 in use tax funds, all for a total of $800,000 for schools over the next 10 years.”
Separately, the commission also signed off on bringing an annual infusion of federal dollars to the Cullman County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), authorizing chairman Kenneth Walker and EMA director Phyllis Little to sign this fiscal year’s Emergency Management Performance Grant Program (EMPG) agreement, which reimburses Cullman County $43,153 for money spent on emergency services.
The commission additionally approved the signing of a supplement to the EMPG grant, which reimburses an additional $12,000 for EMA staff training and certification; as well as an additional EMPG supplement from the State of Alabama for $2,342. All three awards together total $57,495 — or roughly 27 percent of the EMA office’s annual budget, according to Little.
In other business at its regular meeting, the commission:
- Proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Cullman County.
- Held a public hearing on a proposed vacation of a 50-foot right of way between lots 3 and 4 on Lake David Drive N.W. With no comment or objections, the commission approved the vacation.
- Authorized Walker to sign a waiver of liability for the use of the Cullman County Ag Center facility by the Vinemont-Providence Volunteer Fire Department. The department plans to use the area outside the Ag Center as a venue for an upcoming Halloween haunted house fundraising event.
- Ratified a payment to Trane for HVAC repairs at the Cullman County Detention Center at a cost of $5,902.47.
- Ratify this year’s premium payment for Volunteer Fire Training Center liability insurance at a cost of $5,031, which represents no change from the previous year’s premium cost.
- Ratified the signing of the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program (JAG) grant, administered annually by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), in the amount of $24,000 for the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office.
- Approved a maintenance agreement for county computer software for the current fiscal year in the amount of $18,114.42.
- Approved the annual subscription for the Revenue office’s mapping software at a cost of $50,000, to be paid by the Revenue office.
- Approved repairs to the septic system at Smith Lake Park, to replace a tank and fuel line that serves 26 RV sites at the park.
- Approved paying the annual premium for volunteer fire department workers compensation at a cost of $10,941, representing a $50 increase over last year’s premium.
- Approved the purchase of 6 tandem dump beds and frame length reductions from Warren Truck and Trailer, Inc. at a cost of $132,840. The retrofitting will be made to surplus machines previously purchase for the road department’s use.
- Approved the purchase of a 2021 Freightliner M2-106 for use by the Sanitation department at a cost of $424,829.
- Surplussed a salvaged 2009 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado to be transferred from the Reappraisal department to the County garage.
- Surplussed a vehicle from the Sanitation department, to be used by the Road department.
- Extended a bid award for emulsified asphalt to Ergon Company, for use in ongoing county paving projects.
- Awarded a bid for ongoing acquisition of corrugated plastic pipe to Bear Concrete, for use in county paving projects.
The next regular commission meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27 in the commission meeting room of the Cullman County Courthouse. A public work session will precede the meeting at 8:30 a.m.