By Sherri Blevins
Mountain Valley News interviewed DeKalb County Commission President Rickey Harcrow concerning the present state of affairs in DeKalb County and his outlook for its future. His comments are below.
“The state of our county is as stable as any county in the state of Alabama. We have managed through the hardest of times to balance our budget and have kept everybody working. Every degree, our commission has worked in harmony to keep things where we need them to be. That doesn’t mean we have all the money we need. Our budget is five million dollars less that the city of Fort Payne. Ninety-two percent of our funding is already earmarked by the legislature for certain areas, leaving us with only eight percent at our discretion. With the money we have to spend, our budget is as good as any in the state. We have many programs in our county that other counties look to for direction.
Two in particular are our Vehicle Recycling Program and our Senior Drug Program. We recycle our vehicles and machinery never letting anything wear out. Instead, we sell vehicles and machinery on regular intervals at auction and then purchase others to replace them. We have even profited from this program financially and other counties have followed our lead. Just last week, five counties contacted us wanting details about our program.
Our Senior Drug Program, and I am not talking about a program in which our seniors get hooked on prescription drugs, is another exemplary program. This program provides senior citizens with financial assistance in obtaining their prescriptions. Many participants get their prescriptions at a discount and in some cases their medicine is free. We were the first county in the state of Alabama to have this program, which serves 1,100 seniors today. I am proud to have been a part of starting this it. It has been in operation for the last twenty years. For more information about this program and others that benefit seniors, contact DeKalb County Council on Aging.”
President Harcrow continued with his view on the future of the county. He stated, “We are looking forward to maintaining the programs that we have. Also, at the present time the governor, speaker of the house, and house majority leader, along with other legislators, are working on an infrastructure bill to provide funding for road and bridge repairs all over the state. There has not been an increase in funding since 1992. We look forward to our share of the funding. We also want to increase our litter education.
Many folks don’t see littering as a problem. However, so much of our economy is based on tourism. No visitor wants to see trashy scenery. When people visit Mentone, Little River Canyon, and High Falls, they want to view clean areas. The sheriff’s department has been very helpful in cleaning the litter, but we need to increase our litter education.”
President Harcrow thanked all the various government departments for their cooperation with the DeKalb County Commission.