MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The Madison County Commission approved one of its largest budgets in county history Wednesday morning.
The commissioners unanimously approved a $59 million budget. 56 percent of that budget will be allocated to the Madison County Sheriff’s office for patrol efforts and the metro jail.
Commission Chairman Dale Strong said law enforcement is a crucial part of the Madison County community.
The county’s contribution of nearly $34 million will help fund some of the computer hardware and software that are needed for jail management systems, as well as pay increases, and new vehicles for deputies.
$18 million will be allocated to the metro jail specifically. $13 million will go toward patrol efforts.
“It’s not cheap, do this, but it’s efficient,” said Strong.
The county also approved a 3 percent cost of living raise for all full-time county employees.
“We also increased $1 per hour for certified retired police officers that help us in our courthouse and other locations,” Strong added. “This budget is solid.”
Strong said the 2019-2020 fiscal budget also includes $4 million for the county commissioners.
“Actually, it’s going to be $2 million. But based on Madison County’s excellent bond rating, we’re going to stretch that dollar even further. We’re going to the bond market, We anticipate about $2.1 million for the first year,” Strong explained. “But what we’re doing is going to the bond market and borrowing at a 1.8% rate.”
Strong said the first year, the county plans to spend $4 million to address some top priority road and bridge projects.
“The money will be spent on additional road paving projects, Class A reflective striping, reflectors and also guard rails throughout Madison County,” he added. “This is going to make our county safer.”
$13 million dollars will go toward constructing the new county service center. Strong said the county will break ground for that project in 120 days.
The center will become the new home base for the tax assessor, tax collector, license director, the probate judge, and a few more offices.
Currently, most of those offices are housed within the Madison County Courthouse.
“You’ve got about 35 parking places,” said Strong. “That’s unacceptable in a county of more than 360,000 people.”
Strong said once those offices are relocated, the courthouse will have more space for additional courtrooms and space to actually house the district attorney’s office in the building.
“Practically every square foot of this courthouse is used on a daily basis,” he said. “We need additional courtrooms so that we can expedite the court process in the 23rd circuit.”