Category: Jefferson County Commission
Commissioner Steve Ammons could have been humming the country song ‘Dance With Who Brung You’ as he talked about Jefferson County working to hold onto businesses while striving to add new businesses to its dance card.
The subject came up after the Jefferson County Commission today approved an incentive package to keep Samuel Associated Tube Group of Birmingham from leaving the county.
Instead, the manufacturer of small diameter electric-resistance-welded and fabricated carbon steel tubing is moving just a few miles away, remaining in the Pinson area.
Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens used the commission’s committee meeting today as a platform to dispel the misconception that county government is raising property taxes through reappraisals.
“There’s a misconception that the county commission is responsible for this and I want everyone to be clear that the county commission is not responsible for this,” Stephens said. “This is a state function.”
However, county employees do conduct the property appraisals, Stephens said. Property values assigned by the county’s Board of Equalization reflect property sales activity in the market, the chairwoman of the board said. Read more.
Tony Petelos told the Jefferson County Commission Tuesday that he and others would meet Wednesday with employees of Cooper Green Mercy Health Service in the next step toward its transition to a health authority.
The county manager said the employee meetings will begin at 7:30 a.m. and continue until about noon in the Cooper Green cafeteria.
“We’ll have people with UAB and also our payroll folks talking about the transition,” Petelos said. “We’ve moved the transition date to approximately April 1st. We’ll talk about the benefits and all the benefits will be transferring over to the health care authority.” Read more.
The Jefferson County Commission voted 3-2 for a resolution that executes an amended master agreement to establish the framework for UAB to form an authority to operate Cooper Green Mercy Health System.
Commissioners Jimmie Stephens, Joe Knight and Steve Ammons voted for the measure. Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson voted no.
“I think this is really a defining moment for our indigent health care system,” Stephens, the commission president, said immediately following the vote. “Moving forward, I believe our indigents will be able to see a noticeable difference. I believe we’ll improve the quality of our health care and our efficiencies.”
Whether current Cooper Green employees who are hired to continue to work with the health care authority may remain in the county retirement system has been a point of concern for Tyson, the chair of the commission’s committee governing Cooper Green, and Scales. Stephens said those employees will have the option to remain in the county’s retirement system or go under a retirement system offered by the authority.
Scales said she voted no because all of the commissioners have not been given information during the negotiations.
“In my opinion, (that) did not occur,” she said. “Because it did not occur, it made me very uncomfortable with voting on a master agreement. I asked several questions I believe went unanswered.” Read more.
The Jefferson County Commission announced today its annual $18 million allocation to local boards of education. These are residents’ tax dollars going back to the community to improve education. Allotments range from $298K for Fairfield schools to $6.6M for Jefferson County schools. Read more.
Updated with video — Despite the “very, very strong” objection of Economic Development Chairman Steve Ammons, the Jefferson County Commission today established new guidelines for using money from the commission’s economic development fund.
In a roll call vote, Ammons voted a “very, very strong no” on a presented resolution. Commission President Jimmie Stephens joined Ammons in voting no, but the matter passed on the yes votes of Commissioners Lashunda Scales, Joe Knight and Sheila Tyson.
Scales offered a resolution at the last meeting that required spending from that fund to be approved by the full commission. Ammons asked that the matter be held over so that he and his staff could make a presentation about economic development. Commissioners agreed Tuesday for a special economic development committee meeting to take place Nov. 18, at which the presentation would take place.
In the meantime, Knight sent a draft of a resolution to his fellow commissioners to address how and when money can be used from the economic development fund. Scales offered that resolution as a substitution for the one she presented at the Oct. 24 meeting in Bessemer.
“This is not to be a fund for everyone to travel on,” Knight said. Read more.
Today’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission yielded two more meetings.
One addresses the county’s pending agreement with UAB concerning the master plan for the university healthcare authority; the other is to settle a potential change in an administrative order regarding spending from the economic development fund.
Commissioners agreed to reconvene this Thursday’s commission meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to hash out details of the healthcare authority. The panel will go into executive session so commissioners can address questions to the county attorney and the independent attorney who are working on this matter.
The Economic Development Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 to discuss spending from the fund.
Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the master agreement with UAB was sent to the commission and county manager Tony Petelos. Subsequently, the county sent the agreement back to UAB with some changes. Read more.
U.S. District Court Judge Lynwood Smith wished Tony Petelos a happy Halloween, one in which he would get more treats than tricks.
But the Jefferson County manager had already gotten a big treat when he heard Smith say that Jefferson County is “teetering on the edge” of being able to conclude the consent decree on personnel practices that has hovered over it for nearly 40 years. And it was a treat he was glad to get.
“Absolutely,” Petelos said after the status hearing this morning. “It’s been almost four decades, this consent decree, and we’re very close to bringing it to an end. It’s very positive. We’re very excited. Four decades is a long time.” Read more.
Steve Ammons, chairman of the Jefferson County Commission’s committee on economic development, called another commissioner’s moving without his knowledge to require full commission approval to spend economic development funds “a slap in the face.”
Ammons said he had no idea the resolution was coming up. “When it came up, honestly it was a slap in the face,” he said.
Ammons and Commission President Jimmie Stephens were absent Tuesday when Commissioner Lashunda Scales presented the resolution in the commission’s committee meeting. Read more.
Commissioner Lashunda Scales presented a resolution at the Jefferson County Commission’s committee meeting to bring all spending from the commission’s economic development fund before the full commission.
Scales’ resolution to consider the issue, which passed 2-1 with commissioner Joe Knight voting no, will be considered during Thursday’s commission meeting at the Bessemer Courthouse. Commissioner Steve Ammons, who chairs economic development, and President Jimmie Stephens were absent Tuesday.
“We’d just like to have transparency with the public,” Scales said. Read more.