The Cleveland Town Council met last Thursday in a special called meeting to approve a plan required by the State of Alabama in order for the town to receive its portion of the gasoline tax increase that went into effect Sept. 1.
The state’s new 10-cent fuel tax increase, known as The Rebuild Alabama Act, is set to take place in three stages, the first being a 6-cent increase that showed up at the pumps last week. In October of 2020 the tax will go up another two cents, and two more pennies per gallon will be added in October of 2021.
State officials predicted the full 10-cent tax will generate $320 million in revenue each year. The 6-cent increase is estimated to produce $122 million in FY2020. Thirty million will be distributed to county and municipal governments for road projects. Cleveland’s portion of that in the next year is expected to be $13,689. The town was required to formally apply for the funds and explain how they will be spent. The council’s plan, which passed unanimously, is to use the money for “future road resurfacing projects” that have “yet to be determined” and other developments allowed under the law. The only exception would be if emergency road repairs are needed.
Also on the agenda was the long talked about new batting cage facility for the park. About two years ago, the council had agreed to spend $4,750 to fund half the project, with the other half coming from the park board, but due to some unexpected expenditures the park board faced, the plan never progressed. Mayor Jerry Jones presented the council with an updated plan and two estimates to kick-start the project again. The new plan calls for a 90’-x-32’ indoor facility that could house multiple cages. The lowest estimate of $13,500 was from Adams Building Company of Blountsville.
Jones suggested all the proceeds from the upcoming Labor Day BBQ and Bluegrass Festival be used for the building. Those funds plus the money already allocated would probably pay for all but about $3,500 to build the facility. He floated the idea that the council agree to make up the difference with the caveat that the park board would be responsible for the netting and other needs. A motion to do so passed without dissent.
The final item on the agenda involved another painting project at town hall. An estimate of $675 had been submitted by Adams Building Company that would cover the cost of matching some exterior portions of the building with some recent paint jobs. It would also include cleaning the bricks of the town hall sign and painting them to match as well, which would, as Jones said, “spruce up the looks.” The council unanimously agreed to the proposal.
All members of the council were present. The council’s regular monthly meeting is on the second Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m., at the town hall.