Local legislation proposed by the Elmore County Commission was recently passed by the Alabama Legislature.

State lawmakers approved a 15% levelized lodging tax and gave the county sheriff the ability to sell legal firearms to licensed gun dealers in the state, Elmore County chief engineer and operations officer Richie Beyer announced at Monday’s commission meeting.“Everything we offered up has passed,” Beyer said. 

State lawmakers also approved the transfer of license division duties from the probate office to the revenue commission before the current legislative session was altered due to COVID-19.

Beyer said the bills are waiting to be signed in to law by Gov. Kay Ivey.

“I think transfer from the probate office to the revenue commission will go in effect July,” he said. “The other two will go into effect as soon as Gov. Ivey signs those. It was a successful legislative session for Elmore County.”

Beyer also informed the commission of the state’s plan to use an estimated estimated $7.76 million to reimburse counties for various preparation and election expenses related to the coronavirus. 

The plan includes $6.5 million from a federal COVID-19 bill and $1.2 million in state matching funds.

“The funds is there to make sure election workers and facilities are COVID-19-ready in terms of necessary (personal protection equipment) and to have provisions there to protect the public, too,” Beyer said. 

He said the Elmore County Emergency Management Agency, county chief financial officer, probate judge, elections and commission offices have met to discuss how to approach the July elections.

“We will meet again to discuss what will be put in place at the polls,” he said.

Beyer said the county has to turn in its reimbursement request to the state a month before the day of the elections to be considered for funding.

“There is also additional pay in there for the people working the polls,” Beyer said.

Beyer’s report to the commission stated the county has saved $674,000 in energy costs the past 30 months.

Beyer said the county revamped its energy usage plan after an audit found areas where the county could make upgrades to save money.

“We had a $4,000,000 energy savings budget,” he said. “The company we worked with actually gave a guarantee of the savings. We have taken the energy savings to pay for capital outlay. 

We borrowed enough money through the bond market to do the project and the intention is the energy savings every year is what is paying the bond.”

Beyer said the county estimated its savings at this point in the project would add up to $600,000.

“We’ve freed up an additional $74,000 in savings,” he said.

The commission approved a proclamation designating May as foster parent appreciation month.

Elmore County Department of Human Resources director Michelle Wood said she appreciates the commission recognizing foster parents.

“We’ve done the proclamation the past few years,” she said. “We do it in the month of May because it is National Foster Care Appreciation Month. We appreciate the effort of local government and we want the proclamation out there to bring awareness.”

Wood said the county has 68 foster care children in its care right now.

“The number has been pretty steady the past few years,” she said. “It’s fluctuated between 62 and 72 children the past year.” 

She said DHR is in need of more foster care families and is looking at holding a series of foster classes beginning June.

“If anybody is interested in becoming a foster parent, they can call the office at 334-514-3200,” she said.

In other action, the commission:

• Unanimously approved the vacation of an unnamed right of way off Tyler Road in the Coosa Ridge subdivision

• Unanimously approved the minutes from the April 28 commission meeting

• Unanimously approved the memorandum of warrants for April 22-May 5

• Unanimously approved the commission chairman and CEOO to sign agreements for the relocation of utilities for a planned roundabout at the intersection of Redland Road and Firetower Road