Category: Jefferson County Commission
Deputy Jefferson County Manager Cal Markert talks about the cooperative effort between the county and the city of Bessemer to make upgrades to Academy Drive. The project aligns with the ongoing construction of the Amazon Fulfillment Center. Watch the video.
After two months of waiting, Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales wanted some answers today concerning the health care authority being designed by UAB Health System and Jefferson County and expressed concern that commissioners are not more involved in the process.
County manager Tony Petelos said answers are still to come as he and leaders at UAB continue discussions in the due diligence phase of the negotiation to form a new system for indigent health care.
“Our legal department has been working with UAB’s legal department and HR department also,” Petelos said during the commission committee meeting. “We’re very, very close to bringing you something in the very near future.”
Scales expressed concern about the lack of involvement of herself and her fellow commissioners.
“Although we have the county manager, Tony Petelos, and his staff to operate on behalf of the commission, I do believe that the commission themselves should have oversight in terms of what is being negotiated,” she said. Read more.
The deadline to apply to be a water reclamation facility operator apprentice has been extended to Friday. Already 90 persons have tossed their hats in the ring for 20 positions.
Michelle C. Rodrigues, Jefferson County’s director of human resources, told commissioners at their committee meeting this morning that positions as water reclamation facility operators have been difficult to recruit. As a result, the county is developing its own pipeline of workers through its apprenticeship program.
Residents of southern Jefferson County could have been forgiven if they doubted that the widening of Morgan Road would ever take place. After all, the project has been the subject of discussions for more than two decades.
But action at today’s Jefferson County Commission meeting brings the long-discussed project one step closer to reality. Commissioners authorized a construction funding agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for nearly $2.4 million to begin widening the road from Interstate 459 to the Shelby County line at South Shades Crest Road.
The Jefferson County Commission sent a funding agreement for Morgan Road improvements to the agenda of its Thursday meeting.
Commission President Jimmie Stephens said those improvements, which include making the road a five-lane thoroughfare from Interstate 459 to the Jefferson-Shelby counties line at Shades Crest Road, have been 22 years in the making. Read more.
David Denard said overflow from Jefferson County’s wastewater treatment plant will never get down to zero. But the director of the county’s department of environmental services told commissioners at their committee meeting today that his department is trying to get as close to that mark as it can.
“We’ve reduced sanitary sewer overflows 60 percent the past six or seven years,” Denard said.
The commission also discussed several other issues, including road and bridge work, tax breaks for U.S. Steel and cooperation with the cities. Read more.
The Jefferson County Commission is conducting a town hall-style meeting tonight to discuss the county’s 2011 bankruptcy and its long-term effects, including the schedule of sewer rate increases, the county’s current financial condition and an outlook for the future.
The event is 6 p.m. at Regions Field, 1401 First Ave. S., Birmingham. Doors open at 5 p.m. The town hall is open to the public. Read more.
The executive director of Jefferson County’s General Retirement System has softened her stance concerning eligibility of employees of Cooper Green Mercy Clinic to remain in the county pension system.
The issue arose when Jefferson County commissioners brought up a proposal to study partnering with UAB to form a health care authority.
In a letter last week, Amy Adams wrote that current pension law would not permit Cooper Green employees to participate in the county’s pension if they were “terminated.” A day later, she clarified a point and said it might be possible under certain conditions. Read more.
Jefferson County is picking up the tab for bus service for some unserved areas through the end of the current fiscal year.
Commissioners passed a resolution at their meeting on Thursday to provide transit for people living in Adamsville, Forestdale, Brighton, Lipscomb, Fultondale, Gardendale and Fairfield.
“This isn’t about MAX (Metro Area Express),” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said. “This is about citizens and being able to serve the citizens. These citizens in these communities have been bypassed and the doors were shut. We’re going to give them the opportunity to receive the benefits from MAX to go to the doctor, to go to and from work, and to go to and from getting their medication. If they utilize this, it will be $100,000 very well spent.” Read more.
A last-ditch effort by Jefferson County commissioners Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson to delay a vote on an authority to govern indigent health care in Jefferson County failed today.
Commissioners Jimmie Stephens, Joe Knight and Steve Ammons voted to approve the resolution to enter a due diligence period with UAB Health System to negotiate an agreement to create a University Healthcare Authority.
Scales and Tyson voted no.
“Today was unfortunate for the poor people, the vulnerable folks of Jefferson County as well as the employees of Jefferson County,” Scales said. “Employees are devastated. Employees feel the county has turned its back on them.”
Stephens viewed the action differently.
“It’s going to be a great day for our indigent in Jefferson County,” the commission president said. “They will be able to receive state-of-the-art care from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. And from what I’ve heard today, I’m very much encouraged that our employees will be taken care of in this process also. Read more.
Earlier this week: