A Hired Hand PolarCool Evaporative Cooling Unit is seen on sideline at Oliver Woodard Stadium during a Cullman High School Football game on Sept. 11, 2020.

A Cullman County-based manufacturer is getting ready to expand, with Hired Hand planning a $3.35 million investment in a new 60,000 square-foot facility at its Cold Springs-area campus.

The Cullman County Commission on Tuesday agreed to a 10-year $189,500 sales and use tax abatement on the project, clearing the way for construction on the new building to begin. Hired Hand is a diversified maker of agricultural systems widely used in the poultry industry and beyond.

As is typical of capital investment abatements, Hired Hand will still pay all taxes that are earmarked for education. The Cullman Economic Development Agency, which helped move the project through the approval process, says the expansion will add 15 full-time jobs.

“For a company to invest almost a $3.5 million and create those new jobs at a time when COVID has affected the economy nationwide and throughout Alabama, it’s a remarkable thing,” said the agency’s Luke Satterfield. “Everyone who’s been involved is glad to see this project moving forward.”

In other business at its regular meeting Tuesday, the commission:

Approved transfer of ownership of the old Crane Hill Senior Center building to the Crane Hill Fire Department. Commission chairman Kenneth Walker said the move was done in order to streamline ownership, since the county has always owned the senior center building — but not the property where it’s located.

Ratified a contract amendment between the commission and Cullman County Partnership for Children, Inc. to house juvenile offenders at the Cullman County Detention Center.

Ratified the signing of an agreement with Trane Commercial HVAC for service maintenance to replace air filters in HVAC systems at the Cullman County Detention Center. The county also approved a $15,150 service agreement with Trane to maintain out-of-warranty HVAC equipment at the sheriff’s office.

Approved an exchange agreement between the commission and the state for use of federal aid road funds for the resurfacing and striping of County Road 1141.

Awarded the Cullman Farm City Committee a one-time grant of $300.

Approved the purchase of three mapping computers for the reappraisal department at a cost of $7,320.

Approved a new employment contract agreement for county engineer Bryan Cheatwood.

Authorized Walker to sign the State Local Disaster Assistance Agreement, an annual agreement that obligates the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund 75 percent of emergency relief funds at a 25 percent match against the contributions of local governments, with Cullman County and the City of Cullman each sharing 12.5 percent of the local contribution.

Approved a one-year maintenance agreement with Johnston Technologies, Inc. for battery backup for the dispatch office at the Sheriff’s Department.

Approved a $529,598 annual payment to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama Worker’s Compensation Fund, which will cover the county’s worker’s compensation insurance from Oct. 1 of this year through Oct. 1 of 2021.

Approved an agreement with Unity Reinsurance Company, Ltd., doing business as UnityRe, to provide employee health stop-loss insurance for the 2021 fiscal year at a cost of $660,664. UnityRe’s quote was 7% over current stop-loss coverage costs, but 8% less than the renewal quote from the county’s current carrier.

Approved a plat proposal for 587 Subdivision, a minor subdivision consisting of 4 lots located on County Road 587 in District 4.

Approved a plat proposal for Duck Creek Estates, a minor subdivision consisting of 4 lots located on County Road 587 in District 4.

Approved a plat proposal for Duck River Estates, a minor subdivision consisting of 6 lots located on County Road 1650 in District 4.

Approved a plat proposal for a minor subdivision with 6 lots located on County Road 39 in District 2.

Extended for 6 months current bids for structural steel, as well as reinforced steel, to Hanceville-based Harris Steel.

Awarded a one-year bid for sheriff’s office vehicle service and maintenance to Havoline Express Lube of Cullman.

Awarded a split bid for cold laid plant mix to Advance Asphalt Products and to Good Hope Contracting, with purchases based on availability and the vicinity of the paving project.

The next regular commission meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22 in the commission meeting room of the Cullman County Courthouse. A public work session will precede the meeting at 8:30 a.m. 

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