Houston County Commission Approved Strategic Direction Document

Posted March 17, 2024


Houston County, AL, is a future-focused community offering an excellent quality of life for families through effective stewardship, collaborative leadership, and strategic investments in infrastructure, public safety, education, and economic development.


The Houston County Commission will:

  • Move ahead forcefully, within budget capabilities, to address current challenges that present the greatest risk to County quality of life —Public Safety and the Road Repaving Cycle.
  • Be future focused in decisions regarding workforce, public services, and administrative facilities.
  • Maximize budget management strategies to support County growth and development, while continuing to seek a wide variety external support.
  • Provide confident leadership in areas for which they are directly responsible and be a supportive partner for opportunities and issues important to the County that are beyond their direct control (e.g., public education, economic development).


To aggressively improve our ability to support the health and safety of all Houston County residents, visitors, County personnel, and those entrusted to our care.  

Targeted Actions

  • Establish the Houston County Jail as a Commission priority for ’24-’29 by identifying and implementing solutions to overcrowding, deferred maintenance, and safety issues.
  • Commit to finding ways to expand the footprint of the Jail to address needs for medical service and isolation areas, inmate pods, and administrative services.
  • Research and consider development of alternative County-owned sites for housing low-security inmates.
  • Explore and pursue state and federal legislative and discretionary funding options to accelerate costly renovations and upgrades required for the Jail and for other aging buildings owned by the County.
  • As a Commission, take the lead in action-oriented conversations with stakeholders to develop an effective, consistent, and fiscally sustainable fire and rescue system.


To provide timely and professional services to County constituents while maximizing workforce efficiency.

Targeted Actions

  • Assign a Commissioner as a liaison for each County department to increase understanding of future-focused needs and opportunities between elected officials and department leaders. 
  • Seek and employ senior IT staff with expertise in management, tech-enhanced workplaces, and public services.
  • Increase investment in professional development to gain expertise in the future of government services with emphasis on use of IT and AI to maximize personnel skill, talent, and time.
  • Identify and visit government entities of aspiration to learn first-hand how best to prepare for and fund County government services in the near future.
  • Identify and implement ways to foster a culture of inter-departmental collaboration.
  • Consider the potential benefit, means, and cost of a workforce assessment with a 5-10 year projection.
  • Improve employee understanding of compensation through annual summaries of the total investment made in each position. 
  • Create an Administration Building Research Committee to identify needs, options (renovation, relocation, et al), site preferences, costs, and funding mechanisms with the commitment of the Commission to conduct regular work sessions to review information and make continual progress toward decisions.  Chairman Shoupe, Commissioner Harvey, Administrator Peter Covert, and Building Manager Tommy Dixon will comprise the committee. 
  • Improve transparency of County government decisions, services, and impacts through more effective, accurate and timely public relations strategies.  These may include adding professional services not currently on staff.


To reduce the Road Replacement Cycle time by 25% from the current level of 30 years for all roads maintained by Houston County.

Targeted Actions

  • Continue to seek and pursue a variety of supplemental funding options for resurfacing.
  • Annually evaluate an additional budget allocation to Road & Bridge equal to the surplus over the State required minimum fund balance.
  • Invest revenue generated by Road and Bridge into resurfacing projects.
  • Consider amending Road & Bridge project participation guidelines to include cost-sharing, thereby reducing the number of non-road projects completed by Houston County.
  • Be proactive in researching and, when possible, applying for federal and state discretionary grant funds.


To actively participate in economic development efforts spearheaded by area Chambers of Commerce, Houston County communities, and municipalities in the Wiregrass.

Targeted Actions

  • Work with the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce to enhance the viability of the Houston County Distribution Park.
  • Develop new relationships and nurture existing relationships with government and business/industry representatives to ensure County inclusion in opportunities leading to the creation and retention of jobs.
  • Advocate for and, where appropriate, participate in initiatives that attract high-paying career jobs or that increase local workforce readiness for jobs requiring advanced or professional degrees.
  • Continue to provide in-kind services and assistance to City-County projects that increase business and industry interest in the Wiregrass and that benefit constituents of Houston County


To assist and promote one of Houston County’s most vital and applauded assets—our public schools.

  • Assist the Houston County School Systems in identifying and pursuing revenue-generating initiatives to fund enhanced student achievement.


To foster opportunities for Art, Culture, and Recreation to honor history, celebrate our diversity, and elevate the life experience for all residents of Houston County.            

Targeted Actions

  • Decide upon and move forward with a determination on operations and management structure for the Farm Center to yield a fiscally self-sustaining venue benefiting the residents of Houston County.
  • Decide upon and move forward with a management system for the operation of Chattahoochee Park.
  • Acquire all property needed (phase 1) and begin the design (phase 2) for a bike trail connecting Dothan with Cowarts.
  • Consider the formation of a committee to assist in managing the new county-sponsored arts/culture/recreation grants program, and to develop a plan and seek funding for public arts/culture/recreation initiatives.


To increase revenue, fund long term capital projects, and ensure that revenue is allocated to best support County growth and development. 

Targeted Actions

  • Implement a change to the annual budgeting process to require the Commission to set initial department allocations based on trend data and Commission priorities.
  • Define the total annual budgets for special projects and require departments to make fact-based requests based on county priorities and expected benefits for taxpayers. 
  • Raise public awareness of the need for, and benefits, of the 1% lodging tax to enable development of recreational facilities and programs throughout the County.
  • Require department leaders to include the IT Director in decisions regarding equipment, software, and storage systems to ensure multiple options are being considered and County-wide impact is determined prior to purchase.
  • Develop an inventory and replacement schedule for computer systems, equipment, and software.
  • Establish a protocol to systematically and efficiently reduce (sell or dispose of) county surplus equipment.
  • Improve methods to accurately communicate to taxpayers the reasons for and benefits of County expenditures. 
  • Initiate a process to check builder and contractor credentials as a County service associated with the building fee.
  • Improve collections on small claims in sanitation.

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Administrative Building

462 N. Oates St.
Dothan, AL 36303

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114 N. Oates St.
Dothan, AL 36303

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