Jefferson County Commission members were still giddy at their committee meeting this morning after last Friday’s ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court concerning a 1 cent sales tax.
“For the first time, this commission can be proactive,” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said. “We can go to purchase property that will be needed and necessary for economic development. We can go to municipalities and say, ‘Let’s partner together to build and restructure our roads and our bridges. Let’s build new highways that will go throughout Jefferson County and create more avenues for economic development.
“For the first time, we can give people a reason to move into Jefferson County instead of moving out of Jefferson County,” the commission president continued.
Commissioners several years ago sought a state law revising a 1 cent sales tax for schools. Commissioners wanted to refinance the warrants at a lower price and divide the remaining money from the tax more broadly, and the Legislature passed a law to let them do that. A circuit judge struck down that law, based on the legislative rules under which it was adopted. But Friday the Alabama Supreme Court upheld it.
Commissioner Joe Knight this morning acknowledged that this commission has had a “bumpy road.” Commissioner David Carrington said now is the time for the commission to establish a long-term strategic plan, one that takes the county to 2040.
“We inherited a mess,” Carrington said. “At the end of our second term, I think this county is going to be on its feet and moving forward. The delay (from the lawsuit) cost us several hundred million dollars. … It was a very costly, unneeded political attempt to subvert the state Legislature and the County Commission.”
Defendants in the suit have 14 days from last Friday to appeal the ruling. Stephens said the comprehensive nature of the ruling by the Supreme Court makes an appeal unlikely.
Of Coroners and Ribbon Cuttings
The commission moved a resolution to Thursday’s consent agenda to accept the recommendation of the county coroner/medical examiner to hire Dr. Brandi C. McCleskey as a full-time associate coroner/medical examiner beginning July 1.
“This will be a tremendous help,” said Dr. Gregory Davis, the county coroner. “The number of deaths that we’ve had keep increasing. We need an extra person simply to do the work that is required of our office. We’ve found a great person and she’s going to be a great addition to this county.”
Commissioner Sandra Little Brown reminded the commission of the noon Wednesday ribbon cutting of Cahaba Medical Center at 1308 Tuscaloosa Avenue. She said Gov. Robert Bentley could be present.
“Good gracious, it’s been needed for a long, long time,” Stephens said. “It’s another spoke in the wheel. We’re going to model this to be the best health care model in the entire country.
Read more Jefferson County Commission coverage: