Tag: Jefferson County Commission

Brighton Pleads for Mercy in Its Fight Against Weeds

Brighton Mayor Eddie Cooper threw himself “on the mercy of the commission” Tuesday, requesting surplus grass-cutting and debris removing equipment.

Ultimately, two commissioners – Sandra Little Brown and George Bowman – pledged $5,000 apiece so that Brighton can get the equipment it needs.

“We’re in dire need of any equipment to help clean and move debris,” Cooper told commissioners during their committee meeting. “We throw ourselves on the mercy of the commission this morning to give us any relief. If there’s any road equipment or grass-cutting equipment or debris removing equipment that you have that is available, we thank you for honoring us with it.”

Brown read the resolution from the Brighton council that authorized the mayor to make the request. She said there is tall grass everywhere in Brighton, calling it “horrible.”

Commission President Jimmie Stephens said meetings had taken place to discuss creating a fund in the upcoming budget to address the needs of distressed cities. But that relief would be a year away. Read more.

Jefferson County Sheds Close Federal Oversight of Employment Practices

Federal District Judge Lynwood Smith ended the federal receivership in Jefferson County in a move county commissioners hailed as a sign of the county’s improvements in employee and hiring practices.

The receiver was put in place in response to a consent decree over employment practices in 1982.

“Today, we are one step closer with the ending of this receivership as being in compliance with the court’s order,” Commissioner Sandra Little Brown said at a press conference.

The long-standing case now moves into a monitoring period, during which the court will systematically review the continued progress of the county’s hiring and promoting practices. Read more.

Getting Past Bankruptcy: Jefferson County Credit Ratings Up, Cost of Borrowing Down

Jefferson County Commissioners took their latest step away from bankruptcy Thursday as they refinanced about $138 million in debt at lower interest rates, a move that saves the county $14.24 million over the next eight years.

In requesting a resolution to refinance the general obligation warrants, Chief Financial Officer John Henry said the county has raised its credit rating with national finance agencies which translates to lower debt service on money it borrows.

Commissioner David Carrington said that the warrants were refinanced without extending the length or amount of the debt.

Not one single day was added to the debt,” he said. “… We’re paying off the debt in 2026. There will be no more general obligation debt of the county unless a future commission decides, for instance, that they want to build a jail, which is probably coming in the next decade or two.” Read more.

‘Just Wrong’ Campaign Talk About Sewer Rates, Commissioners Say

Jefferson County Commissioners Tuesday disputed comments about sewer rates that they said candidates in the June 5 primary election are making.

Commissioner David Carrington, the lone commissioner not seeking reelection, cited the claim of a candidate that sewer rates will increase 40 percent.

“Don’t confuse me with the truth when lies sound better,” he said during the commission’s committee meeting Tuesday morning.

2021 World Games Projected to Bring in a Quarter of a Billion Dollars (Yes, With a B)

April 24, 2018 – Jefferson County commissioners were told during their committee meeting Tuesday that the metro area should see a huge economic impact from the 2021 World Games.

D.J. Mackovets, CEO of World Games Birmingham, said the economic impact is expected to be a quarter of a billion dollars.

“That’s with a ‘B,’” Mackovets said, “with 100,000 visitors.” Read more.

New JeffCo Courthouse Mural Replaces Race-Tinged Message With Race-Blind One

Ronald McDowell was excited – and nervous – as a crowd gathered to see his latest handiwork – a mural that brings an up-to-date picture of Jefferson County to the courthouse lobby where two other murals have been displayed for more than 80 years.

“I’m just hoping and praying that the public will appreciate what I’ve done and that I’ve done something that represents them,” said McDowell, the artist commissioned by the county to create the work.

Dozens of people crammed into the westside lobby of the Jefferson County Courthouse for the unveiling of the new mural, which was met with applause and cheers. It complements the Old South and New South murals done by John Warner Norton when the courthouse was constructed in 1932.

Those murals “reflect a different time and a different place in our history,” said Commissioner Joe Knight. “They were created in the Jim Crow Era where the reasoning was such that it is no longer prevalent or acceptable in our society today.” Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Revives Effort to Demolish Dilapidated Houses

Jefferson County is moving back into the demolition business.

Commissioners moved the matter of demolishing a structure at 526 Butler Avenue in the Bessemer area to the consent agenda of Thursday’s commission meeting.

“It’s something we haven’t had in our toolshed, our repertoire to work with,” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said. “When we have a dilapidated home that becomes a public nuisance, whether it’s been abandoned by a storm, tornado or whether it’s been abandoned for lack of use, we need to have the tools – and now we do – to go in and demolish that home and clean it up for the neighborhood.

“It’s long overdue,” Stephens said. “We want to put funds in the budget next year so we can do that in a meaningful way.” Read more.

JeffCo Plots a Course for Road Repairs

Jefferson County is moving in the right direction in the area of road repairs but it’ll be a while before the county reaches its desired destination.

“The commission has worked real hard to get us funding,” said Cal Markert, director of the county’s Roads and Transportation Department. “I think with the county manager we’ve got a great team and I’m really excited about where we’re going. It’s not going to happen in a day or a year. It’ll take several years, but I think we’ve got a good plan and a good target to move to.”

Markert presented the fiscal year 2018 highway management plan for Jefferson County to commissioners during their meeting Thursday morning. Read more.

Jefferson County Attacking Opioid Crisis With a Multi-Prong Strategy

Jan. 23, 2018 – Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens called opioids the biggest crisis facing Jefferson County and said it is “a pandemic that affects everyone’s lives.”

Stephens’ comments came after officials from Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and several other health agencies presented Jefferson County’s response to the national opioid epidemic during the commission’s committee meeting Tuesday.

The response laid out the county’s use of a three-year, $3.9 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Read more.