26 Oct County manager provides update on growth, business
Shelby County has seen growth over the last year, said County Manager Alex Dudchock, but the county is continually working to further improve and to reach pre-2008 numbers.
Dudchock covered the county’s general fund revenues since the Great Recession as well as completed projects from 2016 during his State of the County address at the Oct. 26 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“Our county has now had two consecutive years of growth,” Dudchock said.
In fiscal year 2009, the county’s general fund revenue was at nearly negative $2.2 million. Fiscal years 2010 and 2011 saw negative $4 million in general fund revenue. Fiscal year 2016, which ended on Sept. 30, saw a nearly $1 million revenue, and the next year is expected to have nearly $4 million in revenue.
“As you see, we had some significant down years that we had to manage through as far as reduction in revenue,” Dudchock said.
In addition to growth in revenue, Shelby County has seen a growing population, a growth in development and a decrease in unemployment rates. The population grew by around 2,500 people in 2016, and its median household income for last year was $69,723.
Unemployment dropped from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent, meaning around 4,555 Shelby County residents are unemployed, Dudchock said. While lower than unemployment was following the Great Recession, Dudchock said the county still has a way to go.
“We want to find means to get back to what was our number in 2007, going into 2008? That number was 2.2 percent unemployment, 2,250 residents unemployed,” Dudchock said. “So we’re still at double. All the rosiness I talk about and the improvements that we make, we still have double the amount of folks unemployed since the Great Recession, and we don’t forget that.”
The county has also seen the value of the one cent sales tax go up by $2.5 million.
“That gives you an indication of economic prosperity, consumer confidence, what’s really coming from the pocketbook,” Dudchock said.
Projects completed in the last year included installing a methane gas collection system at the county landfill, renovating the raw water withdrawal facility at the Talladega-Shelby Water Treatment Plant, improvements on the roads and parking lots at American Village, installing a trail at American Village, completing road improvements on River Road, building a new box hangar at Shelby County Airport, supporting the expansion of Forever Wild land near Cahaba River Park and executing funding agreements for a road and bike lane project at Oak Mountain State Park.
For the Oak Mountain State Park project, all public involvement meetings have been completed.
“We’re in full design right now to construct a new roundabout, new park road improvements all the way to [County Road] 119 … [and] we’ll have a new entrance signage there,” Dudchock said, adding that the project is 80 percent funded with federal funds, and the rest is funded by the county and city of Pelham.
Another successful project in the county is Compact 2020, an initiative which was launched in July. The initiative takes a comprehensive look at drug use and abuse in the county, working in schools, with individuals who have gone through the justice system and with individuals with addictions.
“I will tell you from July 1, since these guys have been interacting with our drug court participants, they have saved seven lives,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Alan Miller said. “There are seven young women who are alive today because of these men and women.”
Miller recognized officers working with the compact, and Dudchock recognized Lt. Clay Hammac, commander of the Shelby County Drug Task Force, for his work with Compact 2020 as well. Dudchock encouraged individuals to report suspicious activity that might be drug-related, and cards with four methods of anonymous tip submission were passed out. For more information on anonymously reporting an incident, go to tips.shelbyda.com.
“We need your eyes. We need you to share in your Sunday school classes,” Dudchock said. “We need you to tell people there are remedies and there is help out there. … We want to saturate knowledge and community involvement at every level.”