Hoover’s budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year is not just a bunch of numbers; it’s a chance to glimpse the projects to come. Mayor Gary Ivey said that many projects are still early in the planning process, but the city has “ a lot of good stuff on the drawing board.”
From the full budget of $146.3 million, here are some of the highlights of what to look forward to:
This year’s personnel budget increased by $1.8 million, with about $155,000 going toward the salaries of 21 new full- and part-time positions. These jobs include a new firefighter, a public safety dispatcher, a commercial building inspector, a court operations coordinator and several custodians and seasonal workers.
City employees will also see a 2 percent increase in their cost of living adjustment (COLA), estimated to cost around $943,000, and increases in health insurance and workers’ compensation.
The big project, of course, is the Jefferson County satellite courthouse. In October, the city announced that the temporary satellite site at the Met would become a full service location. It offers tag renewals, licenses for boats and motorcycles and vehicle title applications, but the city has been looking for a larger, permanent home for the courthouse. Hoover has $100,000 budgeted for the satellite courthouse this year, but Ivey said the city is still in negotiations for a permanent location. Right now, the $100,000 does not have an express purpose.
Hoover City Hall, located at 100 Municipal Lane, will also be receiving $750,000 in renovations. This includes upgrades to the second floor public restrooms and offices on the second and third floors.
Police and fire
The police department is budgeted $1.3 million for a new dispatch and 911 system, though Capt. Gregg Rector said there is not yet a timeline for when this new system will be purchased. The fire department was given $350,000 to upgrade its GPS equipment and will be receiving $233,000 in upgrades and repairs to various stations.
The fire department will be getting several new pieces of equipment, including 15 cardiac monitors and defibrillators, radio backups and new scuba breathing apparatus.
Additionally, the police will be purchasing 13 replacement vehicles and eight replacement motorcycles, and the fire department will receive five new vehicles.
Several of Hoover’s roadways will look different by December 2015. The design process is currently underway for new gateway signs to the city, and several roads such as Valleydale Road and Patton Chapel Road will be widened in some sections. Hugh Daniel Drive will be resurfaced between U.S. 280 and County Road 41, and Galleria Boulevard will be extended from Highway 150 to South Lorna Road.
New street lights will be installed on Highway 31 between I-459 and Riverchase Parkway, and traffic signals will be installed at three intersections: Chapel Lane/Al Seier Road, Ross Bridge Parkway/Deer Valley Elementary and Ross Bridge Parkway/Shannon Road.
Ivey said walkability and connections across Hoover will continue to be a priority in 2015. The budget sets aside $650,000 for sidewalk projects in this fiscal year, including at Bluff Park Elementary, various locations in the Bluff Park community and in Ross Bridge from Deer Trail to Deer Valley Elementary. Existing sidewalks from Sulphur Springs Road to the Preserve will be improved.
Inverness will also be the recipient of a $100,000 greenway project.
Parks and recreation
Changes in Hoover’s recreational facilities begin in January with repairs being made to the rec center pool. Craig Moss, the director of parks and recreation, said the project will take 120 days to complete and will include drainage repairs and new plaster, pool deck flooring, diving boards, starting blocks and wall-mounted showers outside the locker rooms.
The city’s parks will receive around $1.8 million in improvements and upgrades, including a replaced playground and additional bleachers at Shades Mountain Park, batting cages and field equipment at Spain Park and paved parking lots at Rocky Ridge Park.
The Met will be receiving $816,000 in upgrades, and $2 million is budgeted for new parks or sports facilities. Ivey said that they are currently too early in development to even name potential locations or amenities. Moss said that much of this year will be spent in feasibility studies and planning.
The full budget document is available online at hooveral.org.