Category: Jefferson County Commission

Jefferson County Schools Plan to Expand Broadband to Serve Students Learning Virtually

Help is on the way for remote learners who have had little to no access to Wi-Fi. Meeting in Bessemer Thursday, the Jefferson County Commission amended the Cares Act Coronavirus Relief Fund subgrant agreement with the Jefferson County Board of Education to award an additional $4,648,600 to expand broadband capacity to reach students taking classes virtually. Read more.

Jeffco Commission to Dip Into Contingency Fund Rather Than Amending Budget

Rather than adding to the just approved fiscal 2021 budget, Jefferson County Commissioners said Tuesday that money called for from a recent classification survey would come from the county’s contingency fund.

Chief Financial Officer Angela Dixon presented a resolution for an increase in funds related to a community development specialist position. The survey called for additional funds totaling $119,280.

“We’re in a brand-new budget,” Commissioner Steve Ammons said. “Why would this survey not be done prior to us doing the budget so we don’t have a budget amendment just 45 days into the budget?”

Commission President Jimmie Stephens moved to change the funding request, with the money coming from the commission’s contingency fund rather than the balance of the budget.
Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Opens Courthouses for Saturday Absentee Voting

The courthouses in Birmingham and Bessemer will be open for in-person absentee voting the next two Saturdays, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24.

The move comes in response to long lines and wait times to cast absentee ballots in person in recent weeks. Jefferson County Probate Judge James Naftel said that, as of Wednesday, the county was processing more than 25,000 absentee ballots and ballot applications. That’s compared to about 10,500 absentee ballots cast in the 2016 general election. Read more.

More Workers Being Added to Handle Lines of Absentee Voters in JeffCo

Corrected — Help is on the way to deal with a flood of Jefferson County absentee ballots in the general election.

Deputy county manager Cal Markert during a Jefferson County Commission meeting Thursday said 24 temporary workers are expected to start work in the clerk’s office by Monday. These temp workers will deal with in-person absentee voters as well as a backlog of mailed-in absentee ballots.

Circuit Clerk Jacqueline Anderson-Smith told BirminghamWatch recently that 400 to 500 persons have been coming to the Birmingham Courthouse every day to cast their ballots. A similar wave of voters is descending on the Bessemer Courthouse, and lines of people wanting to vote have formed at both locations.

Alabama appears on its way to having a record number of absentee ballots cast this year. More than 130,000 voters already had requested absentee ballots earlier this week. Oct. 29 is the deadline to apply for absentee ballots. Read more.

Plan Maps Steps for JeffCo Departments, Tracks Data and Allows Resident Feedback

Deputy county manager Cal Markert said the strategic plan he presented to county commissioners at their committee meeting Tuesday morning is a roadmap for the county.

“It also sets clear direction for the county as a whole,” Markert said after presenting the 25-page document. “It sets clear direction for each department. Each department has created their own plan that supports this master plan.”

Accountability is key, he said. The strategic plan includes a system for residents and employees to grade their experiences, and it includes a system to map damage to roads, so the county can address the worst roads first. Read more.

Fairfield Gets Grants to Sustain Bus Route, Fund Paving Project

The City of Fairfield benefited from a pair of actions approved Thursday during the Jefferson County Commission meeting.

Commissioner Lashunda Scales provided the city a $29,355 community grant from her discretionary funds to help offset the cost to sustain bus route No. 5 in the city. Commissioners were unable to provide funding for Fairfield in the general fund because of budget shortfalls brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the County Commission approved a $250,000 ALDOT infrastructure grant to pave E.J. Oliver Jr. Boulevard.
Read more.

Tyson Will Be Nominated to the UAB Healthcare Authority

A year after she was passed over for a slot on the board of the UAB Healthcare Authority, Commissioner Sheila Tyson has been put on the path to being the commission’s nominee to the board.

It is, she said, about time.

“They know that they should (have) appointed me from the very beginning,” Tyson said after today’s commission committee meeting. “I think that they were scared that I was going to shake the trees, what they call ‘shake the bush.’ That’s what they were afraid of but I’m only one vote. Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Adopts Budget With Longevity Payment

With Commissioner Joe Knight declaring, “The sausage is made! We have a budget!” the Jefferson County Commission today passed a $199 million budget for fiscal 2021.

All five commissioners voted for the budget, which included $1.485 million for a one-time longevity payment to each county employee. Commissioner Lashunda Scales objected to longevity pay during Tuesday’s committee meeting, favoring instead 1% across-the-board raises, but she voted for the budget, anyway, because it did give an extra payment to employees. Read more.

JeffCo Commissioners Discuss $199 Million Budget With One-Time Longevity Bonuses for County Employees

Jefferson County commissioners are set Thursday to consider a budget that would include $1.485 million for a one-time longevity payment to each county employee. On Tuesday, commissioners put the fiscal 2021 budget on the agenda for its official meeting later in the week.

Commissioners Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson had fought vehemently for a cost-of-living adjustment to the salaries of county employees. Repeatedly, county attorney Theo Lawson and others responded by saying, “There is no COLA.”

The county’s budget office brought two proposals to the table – a budget with a $1.1 million cost-of-living adjustment for county employees and another without that adjustment. Revenue Department Director Travis Hulsey brought another consideration, a one-time longevity payment based on years of service. Read more.

Jefferson County Bids for Release From HR Consent Decree

A motion filed just before the close of business Tuesday could end 45 years of scrutiny for Jefferson County. County attorney Theo Lawson filed a joint motion that Jefferson County be removed from its consent decree, stating that the county not only complies with but in many cases exceeds the requirements of federal law regarding recruitment, hiring and promotion of qualified individuals. Read more.