The city of Cullman’s third quarter revenues are up nearly 19% over last year’s revenues for the same period, but expenses - driven by capital improvement projects - are also up.
Council President Jenny Folsom said the nearly 14% increase in expenses over last year are due to construction costs for Nesmith Park, Heritage Park, the First Avenue streetscape project and the RV park.
“Anyone who is doing any construction these days knows all materials have gone up drastically,” she said. She also noted that the city purchased new sanitation trucks and containers, which added to the city’s expenses.
The city’s sales tax revenue was up nearly 18% over last year, while liquor taxes were more than 30% higher than this same time last year and revenue from the internet sales tax was 48.32 percent higher. The highest increase, though, was in fines, which have brought in $129,500 more this year than in 2020. The only decrease in revenues was in the tobacco tax, which was down .47%.
At Monday night’s meeting, the council appointed City Councilman Clint Holingsworth and Josh Wiggins of Johnny’s Bar-B-Q to the newly created Cullman County Tourism Bureau. The bureau was approved by the state legislature earlier this year and has the mission of “promoting tourism through festivals, events, and tournaments throughout the City of Cullman and Cullman County for the benefit of all of the residents of Cullman County.”
The bureau consists of two members appointed by the city council, one of who has to be part of the restaurant industry and the other a city council member; two members appointed by the Chamber of Commerce, one being the Chamber chairman or president and the other a representative of the Smith Lake Community; two members appointed by the County Commission, including a county commissioner and someone from the agri-tourism industry; and one member each appointed by the Hotel Association, city parks and recreation, county parks and recreation, Wallace State and the Cullman legislative delegation.
Following Monday’s meeting, Hollingsworth told The Times, “I think this is going to be more equal and fair representation for the city and the county, representing Cullman as a whole.” He said the make up of the bureau is more inclusive. “Everybody is going to benefit,” he said.
In other business, the council:
- Set August 9 at 7 p.m. for a public hearing on an ordinance to amend the Zoning Ordinance to modify parking space requirements from 20 feet in length to 18 feet;
- Set August 23 at 7 p.m. for a public hearing on an ordinance to vacate an unimproved right of way behind 605 St. Joseph Drive, N.W.;
- Approved a special event request from Laci Schuman for a parent-hosted Pep Rally-Jubilee for CMS football season kickoff on Sunday, Aug. 22 in the Warehouse District;
- Approved a resolution to extend a bid for concrete finishing with Ortiz Concrete;
- Approved a resolution to extend the bid for plumbing services with Dulaney Plumbing, Inc.;
- Approved a resolution to extend the bid for electrical services with K&M Electrical Contractors, LLC;
- Awarded a bid for various types of rock to Blount Springs Materials Co., Inc.;
- Awarded a bid in the amount of $48,000 each for super duty trucks to Schultz Motors, Inc.;
- Passed a resolution clarifying that “structure” in the building codes includes retaining walls, fences, pergolas and large, free-standing fireplaces;
- Approved the annexation of 975 County Road 623 into the city as R-2 Residential;
- Approved the annexation of 452 County Road 1333 into the city as R-1 Residential;
- Approved the annexation of portions of properties located in Lot 17 Magic Farms, 2027 County Road 1319, County Road 1420 and County Road 1422 as AG-1;
- Heard from resident Rhonda Byrd who questioned why the restrooms at Heritage Park are locked on the weekends and holidays. She said she understands that the city is concerned about vandalism, but, “It seems like the crooks have the rights and we don’t.”