Category: Jefferson County

‘We’re in the Jobs Business,’ JCEIDA Leader Says in Announcing New North JeffCo Industrial Park

Jefferson County Economic & Industrial Development Authority has added about 1,100 acres to its inventory of developable land to create its latest industrial park in north Jefferson County.

JeffMet North Industrial Park, off Interstate 65 at Exit 275 near the Gardendale/Morris area, sets the stage for the creation of an estimated 4,700 new jobs and is expected to be a lure for auto suppliers. Read more.

How Jefferson County Pulled Off a Billion-Dollar Refinancing to Help Stabilize Sewer Rates and Regain Trust

Jimmie Stephens remembers he wasn’t proud of Jefferson County when he took office as a county commissioner in 2010.

“I was embarrassed and ashamed of what Jefferson County had become and what its reputation was, in the state and in the nation,” recalled Stephens, now the president of the commission.

Jefferson County had become by most accounts one of the worst financially managed governments in the nation laying off more than 1,000 of its employees and filing the then-largest municipal bankruptcy in November 2011.

But Stephens, his fellow commissioners, county manager and department heads no longer feel that sense of shame and embarrassment, they say.

Last month, Jefferson County got positive reviews from investors and financial publications that would have been unimaginable more than 10 years ago. Read more.

When Is a Cut Not a Cut? JeffCo and Sheriff Disagree

Jefferson County doesn’t see eye-to-eye with its sheriff concerning a recent budget change.

In a release Thursday, Sheriff Mark Pettway said the Jefferson County Commission had frozen 30% of the Sheriff’s Office Budget for fiscal year 2024. Pettway equated the action to “defund(ing) law enforcement.”

The public information officer of Jefferson County responded with its own release that said Pettway misstated the county’s action.
According to the county release, the commission requested a freeze of 30% of all funded existing job vacancies throughout the county system for fiscal 2024.

“As has been well documented throughout multiple industries, including local government, filling positions is challenging,” the county release read. “Tying up public funds by budgeting for positions that you are unlikely to fill within a fiscal year prevents us from using those funds to instead address operational or capital needs. Read more.

JeffCo Asks Court to Release It From Its Last Consent Decree

The Jefferson County Commission Tuesday filed a motion to be released from the 1996 consent decree over the Jefferson County Sewer System.  

It is the next step in the county being released from all the consent decrees imposed on it.  

“We were successful in getting out of the employment consent decree,” County Attorney Theo Lawson said. “The next consent decree was the environmental consent decree. We have made tremendous strides in ensuring that we are in compliance and beyond with federal law and continue to be committed to that because our sewer system is one of our biggest assets.   Read more.

Judicial Funding Fight Likely to Continue in Upcoming Legislative Session

An additional eight circuit court and five district court judges are needed in various parts of Alabama, including Madison and Baldwin counties, according to a recent report.

That same report also says Jefferson County has more judges than caseloads there require.

But reallocating judgeships has become a politically complicated issue in recent years. Fiscal conservatives in the State House have balked at spending millions on additional seats when Jefferson County and other districts have a surplus. Jefferson County’s well-muscled delegation has protected its judicial seats.

But now, more lawmakers, including the new chairman of the House General Fund budget committee, appear willing to spend on at least a few new seats. Read more.

Ouch! Pain at the Garbage Bin Comes to Residents of Unincorporated Jefferson County

Pain at the pump will be felt at the garbage bin for residents of unincorporated Jefferson County.

The Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday approved an emergency contract amendment with AmWaste, the franchise holder for residential garbage pickup in unincorporated parts of the county. The amendment allows the company to establish its rates based on fuel costs, which are based on the Alabama Department of Transportation Fuel Index, and the consumer price index.

For instance, residential customers with regular trash pickup will see an increase of about $30 on their quarterly bills – $39 if they also have yard waste pickup. Read more.

Jefferson County Enlists Zoning Officials in Battle Against ‘Poop Trains,’ Littering

The Jefferson County commissioners Thursday enlisted the aid of county personnel to fight illegal dumping, littering and violations involving “poop trains” in the county.

And those they enlisted are already on the frontlines.

“We designated the sanitation and ordinance inspectors, the zoning inspectors, the zoning supervisor and the zoning administrator as solid waste officers,” County Attorney Theo Lawson said. “By being designated as solid waste officers, that then gives them the authority under the code to write citations for criminal littering. Those folks are now able to enforce criminal littering through issuing citations. That should be a huge increase in our folks’ ability to enforce criminal littering.” Read more.

JeffCo Commissioners Discuss Laws to Stop “Poop Trains” From Hauling Waste Into the County

In the race to attract businesses from the North, the Jefferson County Commission made it clear that it would rather not be in the race, and it certainly doesn’t want to win the race.

At least when it comes to “poop trains.”

During its committee meeting today, commissioners discussed a couple of matters they hope will address a renewed effort by companies in New York and New Jersey to ship solid waste to Jefferson County by rail.

So-called “poop trains” made a literal and figurative stink in 2017 as solid waste was brought into the area by rail. A resolution that was moved to the agenda of Thursday’s commission meeting would establish solid waste officers who would help enforce ordinances put in place concerning illegal littering and, more specifically, the poop trains that are coming into Jefferson County from up north. Read more.

Work Scheduled to Tear Down Cooper Green Parking Deck, Building New Clinic

Demolition of the old Cooper Green Hospital parking lot is expected to begin later this year or early next year to make way for building a new indigent care clinic in that location, officials with Jefferson County and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System announced Tuesday.

Designs for the new clinic, planned to be about 150,000 square feet, are being worked on, and those involved hope it will be ready to open in 2½ to 3 years, David Randall, chief strategy officer for the UAB Health System, said during a press conference.

The project is expected to cost between $55 million and $65 million, Randall said. Read more.

Petelos Says Goodbye to Jefferson County County Manager Post

Tony Petelos attended a party Thursday to mark his retirement after a decade as county manager for Jefferson County. Petelos is the only county manager Jeffco has had, and the county now is searching for its next one. County commissioners earlier lauded Petelos for his stability during a tumultuous period in the county’s history, through tornadoes, bankruptcy, receivership, a sewer crisis and a consent decree.