Vinemont shelter

Vinemont storm shelters are seen in this Times photo from April 2015.

Residents in northwest Cullman County should have in place a community-wide option for weathering the storm by next spring. 

At its regular meeting this week, the Cullman County Commission approved its contributing toward the total cost of a new community storm shelter at New Canaan, to be located adjacent to the New Canaan Community Center. 

The shelter, which is 75 percent funded through a FEMA pre-disaster mitigation grant, would add the shelter at the community just south of the City of Arab near Alabama Highway 231. The City of Cullman and the county commission will split the difference in funding the remaining 25 percent, with the commission contributing $25,060 — which can be done via-in-kind services as well as money — toward the project’s overall $100,242 cost. 

Under the terms of the grant, the shelter project must be completed by March of next year. 

In other business at its regular meeting, the commission:

Approved bid work on the next phase of improvement work at Cullman Regional Airport, signing off on a connector between Taxiway B and the main runway. 100 percent of the work will be federally reimbursed. The commission also approved its 25-percent contribution toward installation of a new AWOS (Automated Weather Observation Station) at the airport, with the State of Alabama contributing another 50 percent, and the City of Cullman funding the remaining portion. 

Held a public hearing and subsequently approved a pair of grants to fund operations and fleet maintenance for CARTS (the Cullman Area Rural Transportation System). The federal grants total more than $3 million in total funding, with the commission obligated to contribute $153,640. Drawn from the Formula Grants for Rural Areas (Section 5311) and the recently-passed CARES ACT, the money will be used to supply 14 new CARTS vehicles, as well as supplement the agency’s operational expenses as ridership remains lower than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ratified the opening of a new account at Merchants Bank for CARTS Escrow as requested by the Alabama Department of Transportation, which is a condition of CARTS receiving federal reimbursement under the under the CARES Act. The account will consist of deposits from contact transit revenue, as well as advertising revenue.

Approved a pair of resolutions lowering the speed limit from 35 MPH to 20 MPH on County Roads 1684 and 1762.

Accepted County Road 1636 into the county road department’s maintenance system.

Appointed associate commissioner Garry Marchman as Cullman County’s delegate to the Legislative Committee of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA), as well as naming Marchman the area’s One Voice Session representative to the ACCA.

Ratified insolvencies, errors, and taxes in litigation for the 2019 fiscal year, as well as uncollected insolvencies and taxes in litigation for previous years for the Cullman County Revenue Office.

Named Cliff Harris as chairman Kenneth Walker’s appointee to the Health Care Authority Board of Cullman County, to fill the unexpired term of Stephen Donaldson, which will end on June 30 of next year.

Greed to leave in place county employee’s current Tier 1 contributions into the Retirement Systems of Alabama retirement fund. The action was necessary due to the commission’s previous adoption of a resolution bringing Tier 2 employees into the qualifying portions of RSA’s Tier 1 benefits umbrella. 

Approved a plat proposal for seven lots at Clear Creek Cove, a minor subdivision located on County Road 813.

The next regular commission meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 11 in the commission meeting room of the Cullman County Courthouse.

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