TOP Trails to cut expenses
by Jim Smothers
Dec 11, 2013 | 730 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA COUNTY - Following a Friday work session with a new consultant, members of the TOP Trails board concluded Tuesday morning’s meeting in record time, with three primary action items decided in 40 minutes.

Board members assigned park manager Wes Pope the duty of reviewing park expenses and making recommendations about what should be cut and by how much. At Friday’s work session, consultant Kelley Taft drove home the point that the board’s spending for operations is out of line with the amount of revenue from operations coming in and cuts were necessary.

The board approved a $1,750 bid from Wildland Services for a biological study that must be completed as part of a permit application process with the Army Corps of Engineers before development can begin on a campground and road paving project in a section of the park where protected wetlands may exist.

The board hopes to be able to give the go-ahead for that project next month.

While discussing the need to decide on the next project after the campground, board member Mack Ferguson reminded fellow board members the park originally had a 10-year plan for development. Board members agreed to reacquaint themselves with that plan before the next meeting.

The board is still awaiting an audit report from Dale Fowler, who was continuing to get documentation he needs to resolve questions that would otherwise be reported as findings. Board chairman Tommy Spears said the result should be a cleaner audit than would have been possible if it had been completed earlier.

The board is also seeking information on the cost of workman’s compensation insurance through the Alabama League of Municipalities and other providers. The board is considering whether handling payroll in-house would result in cost savings over the fees currently being paid to SK Services.

The park hopes to partner with groups and individual volunteers to help with operations and cleanup from timber operations. Pope also gave board members an update on an invitational trail race planned for Jan. 25.

The board plans to have a work session some time before its next regular meeting and a date to be determined. Spears said there would probably be a called board meeting also. The next regular meeting is to be held Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 at the park.

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