For the first time in the last 32 years, sworn law enforcement officers with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) will see a raise in the amount of subsistence pay they receive for daily use.
The Baldwin County Commission approved a hike from $5 to $8 per day for deputies at its regular meeting in Bay Minette on Tuesday. Officers will be given an $8 allowance for each day they work more than four hours. The rate had been $5 daily since 1983.
The additional cost for the rest of this fiscal year will be $24,732, which will be paid using a $58,673.22 refund the BCSO received from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation in early March. The annual increase in next year’s budget will be an additional $78,350 which is expected to be paid from the general fund.
Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack said the raise would help 115 employees in the department.
“Those 115 employees are sworn deputy sheriffs, and the majority are in patrol and investigations,” Mack said. “We do have a handful in corrections that are sworn law enforcement officers who will also be effected.”
In other business, the commission approved a request from Fairhope resident Henry C. Mullins Jr. to vacate a 40-foot right-of-way at the east end of Parker Road. There are three parcels – owned by Mullins, Angelo A. Corte and Cynthia Garey Powell – adjacent to the right-of-way.
Mullins told the commission he owned the land from 1965 until 1969, when he deeded it to the county in order to help an adjoining property owner qualify for an FHA home loan. He said he has maintained the land since 1965, paid taxes on it for more than 30 years and paid for paving in 1993.
Mullins said he also owns 24 acres east of the right-of-way and that recently people had been using it against his will. The Publix shopping center is west of the property on Parker Road.
“We have many people coming on to our property day and night with loud radios, making noise,” Mullins said. “I just ask that this be given back to us so we can put up signs or a gate to keep them out.”
County engineer Cal Markert said the right-of-way is not currently being used by the public. The county’s attorney David J. Conner said that the property would be divided between the three landowners. He urged Mullins to consult with the other landowners to decide how to divide the land.
“It is not perfectly clear to me or the commission that you would get the deed to the property,” Conner said. “You need to make sure you are satisfied with that.”
Conner went further, suggesting that the commission could lay the matter over until its next meeting to give Mullins time to confer with the other land owners.
“Once we act, the vacation is complete and property is divested of public interest,” Conner said. “If you would like to carry over to a subsequent meeting so you can make sure you protect yourself, we can do that.”
Mullins said the others were okay with the arrangement, and the commission approved the request with a 4-0 vote.
The commission also approved a request to rezone a 3.28 acre plot located in Daphne from single family residential to light industrial district zoning. Daphne-based Empire Construction LLC, a concrete construction company that specializes in foundation work, requested the to use the land for offices and storage of construction materials.
The property, owned by Empire Construction, is located east of Pollard Road at 8188 Well Road in Daphne. Planner Celena Boykin said she had not heard concerns about the zoning proposal and the county planning commission had approved the move.
Properties to the north, south and east of the parcel are currently zoned by the city of Daphne for residential use and general business, something that concerned Commissioner Chris Elliott.
“I have some concerns here, dropping an M1 here across the street from residences on one side and B-2 on the other,” Elliott said. “That’s an awful lot of distance between zonings. That concerns me.”
The commission approved the request 3-1 with Elliott the lone “no” vote.
The commission paid $3,919,355.41 in bills, with $273,302.84 going to the Baldwin County Board of Education for its portion of county sales and use taxes.
In other business, the county recognized Summerdale School fifth grade teacher Renee Busby Phelps as the Baldwin County Elementary School Teacher of the Year and honored Foley Middle School eighth grade teacher Marilyn Ward as the Baldwin County Secondary School Teacher of the Year.