The Jackson County Economic Development Authority sent its yearly budget to the Jackson County Commission after the commission discussed at its work session last Tuesday the requirements certain county entities have to meet to receive TVA in lieu of tax dollars.

According to Senate Bill 347, passed in March 2018, these entities must submit an “annual accounting of the use of the funds appropriated” to the Jackson County Commission no later than Sept. 30 of each year.

The bill also says in the event an annual accounting is not furnished, the commission may reduce or terminate the funding for the next fiscal year for the entity failing to furnish the report by a majority vote of the commission. The bill says all resulting excess money shall then be transferred to the general fund of the county.       

EDA President and CEO Shelia Shepard said she was not aware of the requirement because the legislation is fairly new. Shepard said it was just an oversight, and the budget was sent to the commission this week. The EDA’s budget is public record.

Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Roden said they have not sat down with the commission and given them a presentation of their yearly budget.

Roden said the chamber stays in close communication with the commission, and he plans on providing the commission with a budget. Roden also said they work very closely with the commission, and the two organizations have no issues. The Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s budget is also public record.

The entities receiving funds that are supposed to submit annual accounting of the funds to the commission are the Jackson County Hospital Board, Scottsboro-Jackson County Rescue Squad, Jackson County Economic Development Authority, all Jackson Country volunteer fire departments in good standing with the Jackson County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments and the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

The hospital board is supposed to receive $145,000 each year to provide all residents of Jackson County adequate ambulance service. The rescue squad is supposed to receive $35,000 for the maintenance and operation of the rescue squad’s equipment and facilities.

The EDA is supposed to receive $180,000 for recruiting industry, matching grants, special projects, or other direct expenses necessary to recruit industry to the county. All county volunteer fire departments are supposed to receive $7,500 each to help furnish adequate fire protection in the communities that they serve.

The Jackson County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments is supposed to receive $35,000. There are 22 volunteer fire departments. If all departments are in good standing with the association, they would receive $165,000.

The Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce is supposed to receive $40,000 to promote tourism, workforce development and education, and retail and commercial development that promotes economic development in the area. 

The total amount all of these entities would receive is $600,000. The commission is set to discuss the issue again at its work session next week.

(1) comment


Quote from Alabama Code Title 45. Local Laws § 45-36-162: '(8) An annual accounting of the use of the funds appropriated . . ." That does not mean the submission of a budget from the entities receiving funds as there is no definition of annual accounting. The commission is overreaching their authority for these separate government corporate entities. An annual accounting could be a statement from an entity's director regarding the funds usage. Accountability is a good thing, overreach of county government is problematic, along with laws which have no definition.

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