By EMILY SPARACINO | Personal editor
COLOMBIAN – On May 9, the Shelby County Commission received updates regarding the Shelby County Operating Budget and Leadership Program.
Shelby County Director of Tourism and Events Kendall Williams provided an overview of this year’s Shelby County leadership activities, culminating in the Class of 2022 graduation luncheon on Tuesday, May 10.
“We wanted to come and give a year in review because it’s been a little over a year now since the program was placed under county leadership,” said Williams, who is executive director of Leadership Shelby County, a program of community leadership. . “It’s been a great year.”
Williams thanked the commission for helping to make county tourism and events a department, particularly with the addition of a coordinator position.
Maggie Behrle, a graduate of Shelby County High School and the University of Montevallo, was recently appointed Tourism and Events Coordinator and assists Williams with department responsibilities.
Williams said changes have been made to Shelby County Leadership Class Days, which include the Opening Retreat, Shelby County Government Day, Justice Day, Health Services Day and Community Days, Economic Development Day, Education Day, Government Day and DiscoverShelby Day.
“The fluidity of the class days was very noticeable to those who planned for it for years and years,” Williams said, noting that the county-hosted program simplified the planning process. “It’s really high what we can do for the class and move the program forward.”
Shelby County Probate Judge Allison Boyd, who serves as vice chair of the Shelby County Board of Directors, said the challenges the program has faced since 2020 have prompted the board to make positive changes.
“We saw a real focus on leadership,” Boyd said, noting the program’s renewed focus on contributing to members of his class. “We’re not a leadership development program, so we’re not going to teach them how to become leaders; they are already so because of their belonging to this class. However, what we try to do is give them small things that they can take with them.
For example, each class day features a leadership moment, in which an industry leader talks about a generic leadership skill or experience that applies to any industry.
Boyd also noted the strength of the program applicants and group members, who represent many different fields, as well as existing and new businesses, across the county.
On tourism and events, Williams spoke about the variety of events that have taken place in Shelby County over the past year, from fishing tournaments to dog shows to trail races, as well as upcoming events.
“There’s a theme that draws people to our area for these events, and that’s the outdoor economy that we have — our parks, our trails, the lakes, everything,” Williams said. “With that, we embarked on a journey to rebrand Discover Shelby.”
DiscoverShelby.com is the county’s tourism and events homepage, where people can find information and links to the Discover Shelby social media pages.
“It’s growing more and more every day,” Williams said.
Regarding the county budget, Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Naugher presented a six-month financial review with general fund revenues for fiscal year 2022, after the adjusted budget amendment.
“Sales tax is still very strong,” Naugher said in reference to sales/use tax revenue totaling $607,071 over budget. “Overall, our budget versus actual difference is $1.7 million on what I call core revenue. In general funds at mid-year, we’re up 4, $1 million.
Naugher said highway funds are over budget, as well as lodging tax revenue, which is currently $130,000 ahead of budget.
“It’s just about more investment in economic development opportunities or investment in assets that will benefit the event’s ability to recruit,” said Shelby County Executive Chad Scroggins. “But in the meantime, it also allows the community to use those special assets.”
Based on concerns about inflation and fuel prices, Scroggins said the county has begun the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, and added, “You’ll see a very conservative revenue budget again this year. “