Roger Hayes, Chairman of the Winston County Commission, gave a state of the county address on Friday, January 7. Hayes has served on the Commission since 1993, except for two years during that time.
Hayes stated the annual budget for the county was $6.8 million, which is about half of the budgets of surrounding counties. Approximately $3.7 million is for roads and bridges.
He pointed out that the county actually made money, approximately $1 million by renting out jail space to Walker County. That is currently not being done, but may be started again.
There is presently a lawsuit against the Lakeland Hospital, which is owned by the city of Haleyville and Winston County. Some residents in the eastern part of the county do not feel they should be taxed to pay for a hospital they do not plan to use. That case will go before a judge in Franklin County. One way the Hospital Board plans to answer some of the criticism of the hospital is to open clinics in Addison and Arley.
With a shortage of funds for roads, Hayes stated there are 55 bridges in Winston County with 27 deemed dysfunctional. He also stated the State Legislature is looking at imposing a gasoline tax to help fund the repair of roads and bridges. Some of that tax money will come directly to the county and cities.
There is and has been a discussion of a lottery in Alabama, but part of the problem is who will get what percentage of the income if a lottery is passed.
Hayes also addressed the proposed four-lane Highway 13 project, and at present, it is not in any immediate plans for construction.