That’s the word from Altha Mayor Wes Johnston in response to last week’s article regarding comments at a June Calhoun County Commission meeting by District 2 Commissioner Darrell McDougald.
“Their financial condition is bad and deteriorating,” McDougald remarked. “There has been discussion over the last year or so about dissolving the Town. If that happens, it will fall back on the county just like Pine Island,” referring to the water system the county inherited at the subdivision on Hwy. 69 North. “We will have garbage, water and sewage.”
McDougald added, “We don’t need that burden.” He further stated he had been looking for ways to assist Altha with saving money to help the Town remain solvent.
Mayor Johnston appreciates McDougald’s support, but does not want anyone to think the Town is on it’s way out. “We just had an audit meeting. We can run up to five months without another dime of income, so we are definitely not broke. Darrell McDougald is a very good county commissioner, but he is not authorized to speak for the Town of Altha.”
As for the rumor about the Town dissolving, Johnston acknowledges, “Our attorney, Matt Fuqua, said it would probably be to our advantage to dissolve and unincorporate because that way the county would have to take us over. But nobody here wants to do that and we’re not at a stage to even be thinking like that.”
Johnston believes McDougald meant well by his comments. “He was mainly trying to get county commissioners to offer more help for us through the interlocal agreement like with the streets and so forth,” says Johnston. “We don’t have a road department so we can’t afford to hire someone to come in and pave them. That’s why we’ve been working on grants to try and get that done.”
Johnston adds, “We are a poor town, we don’t have a lot to work with, but we do a lot with what we’ve got.”
Altha Town Council Vice Chair Joe Amason stopped by The County Record this week and provided a copy of the Town’s recent audit to prove Altha is not broke.