The Scottsboro City Council donated the excess from their travel budget to assist the Jackson County Veterans Memorial Park pave the parking lot.

“I can’t say enough for what our veterans park has come from, and where it is today,” said Patrick Stewart, the city council president. “It’s something to honor all of those who have serve and I don’t know of a better way to spend the money that was allocated for my travel.

The excess funds resulted from a decrease in travel spending associated with the Coronavirus. Greg Mashburn was the first council member to announce plans to donate his excess travel budget and announced it during a September council meeting.

During a budget meeting, the need for extra funds relating to the Veterans Park was presented to the Council by Jim Olyniec — the park needed roughly $28,000 to pave the parking lot.

Stewart said that once the council found out about the need that it was an easy decision for them.

Shortly after making the decision the council contacted Mayor Robin Shelton and Stephen Kennamer, the city attorney, to donate the excess money allocated for their travel.

Money for the parking lot that the council was not able to donate with their travel excesses, was given to the park out of the City’s excess sales tax — approximately $9,000.

During the budgeting process the council prioritizes the needs of the departments — things such as operating costs and equipment that is vital for the next year. Other expenses and requests from organizations come afterwards, but proposals by these organizations have made up a significant part of the recent budget meetings.

The request by the Veterans Park for assistance in constructing the parking lot is such a request.

“We’re going to be pretty tight on our sales tax when we have everything that we need,” said City Councilman Richard Bailey.

The council has often used excess sales tax collected throughout the year to purchase capital improvements for the city’s various departments. Bailey added that utilizing their travel budget in this way allows them to use excess sales tax for other important improvements not necessarily covered in the rest of the budget.

“This council has felt that the veterans park is a worthy cause,” said City Councilman Mike Ashburn.

Stewart said that the council could have chosen to roll the money over into next year’s budget but ultimately decided that the money would better be used for the Veterans Park.

The Veterans Park is still accepting donations for various projects around the park. The park also recently added more places for benches that those wishing to donate may purchase. Pavers are also available.

Those interested in donating to the Veterans Park can contact Jim Olyniec.

The park is currently open to the public, and a dedication is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10 a.m.

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