In regard to projects and finances, Shelby County is seeing an uptick in the first four months of fiscal year 2017, County Manager Alex Dudchock told the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
Dudchock provided updates on the county’s finances for the first four months of FY 2017 (October through January) as well as new projects.
“These are only the ones [projects] that have been initiated or completed in the last four months, so no old data on this,” Dudchock said.
The county has several ongoing road projects, including new construction and resurfacing. There are multiple projects progressing at this time, he said, to address the issues seen on county roads.
“Everybody in here knows that when you’ve got the population growth that we have … we’re always going to be behind in transportation improvements,” Dudchock said. “Some of you today may have gotten caught behind something, from a train crossing the railroad tracks to an unfortunate accident to just capacity problems.”
The county also has plans to replace bridges in Sterrett, Helena, Pelham, Wilsonville, Alabaster, Montevallo, Shelby and Dunnavant in this fiscal year. While the FY 2017 budget included around $2.6 million for road resurfacing, a recommendation came before the Shelby County Commission to add more to that budget.
“The County Commission is in the process of evaluating a recommendation that came to them recently about investing some additional of our capital improvement funds to our roads and transportation,” he said, “and over the next couple of weeks and months, we’re hopefully going to have an adoption for 2018 and 2019, that we can advance some more projects with that.”
The county is also investing in some capital projects around the county, including facilities at the University of Montevallo and Oak Mountain State Park. New beaches, piers and trails are being installed at OMSP, in addition to updates to the Alabama Wildlife Center and the Oak Mountain BMX track.
“It needs to be viable, it needs to be appropriate for you to visit. It needs to have facilities for you to enjoy,” Dudchock said of the OMSP projects.
Improvements to the beach are also an investment in Shelby County’s children and young adults, Dudchock said, by providing them a safe and fun area for activities.
“If we can drive that youth activity to this location and get it as an outlet for them, for all of the things they want to experience, we’ll be successful,” he said.
The county is also constructing 12 new airplane hangars and is involved in improvements at the Cahaba Public Shooting Ranges in Helena.
In regard to finances, based on the first four months of the fiscal year, Shelby County has about $36,495 more in the general fund than was budgeted for and has received more than $2 million more through water services than was in the budget. County Chief Financial Officer Butch Burbage had previously discussed some of these numbers in depth with the Shelby County Commission during its Feb. 27 meeting.
“Those numbers tell you a lot because we are improving. It is very encouraging,” Dudchock said.
Based on a request he previously received, Dudchock also provided numbers on how Shelby County’s economy compared to the state economy. These numbers were provided through a University of Alabama study, he said. According to the study, the economic recovery is the slowest recovery in postwar history.
“So what is it? We’re all still cautious. Waiting for something to happen,” he said. “With that comes that strategic planning.”
Dudchock emphasized the importance of planning and being responsible with finances.
“Fortunately for you, you elect folks that are fiscally responsible, even though they’d like to be building roads, bridges, parks — and we do our fair share,” Dudchock said.
While final papers have not been signed, Dudchock said there are steps being taken and an economic development fund that has been created that will help advance communities.
“There is optimism,” Duchock said.