Jefferson County Commission

Fairfield Gets Grants to Sustain Bus Route, Fund Paving Project

Fairfield Mayor Eddie Penny and Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales at Sept. 24, 2020, commission meeting. Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

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.

“The hope is that as our financial situation improves that the city will become more self-sufficient,” Mayor Eddie Penny said. “At this point, it’s obvious that we needed the assistance. Our goal is to make sure we maintain that route for the citizens and the hope is at some point the city will be self-sufficient.”

On Monday of this week, the Fairfield City Council agreed to match the grant provided by Scales at $33,272 to continue bus service. The transit route provided by the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority costs the city $62,627 annually.

Of course, the City of Fairfield is a part of the district and needed that help,” said Scales, who represents Commission District 1. “We were glad as a commission by way of my office to be able to provide that help.”

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

“Both agenda items represent ‘quality of life’ investments for the residents of Fairfield, the business community and public safety,” Scales said. “With municipal partnerships such as this, residents can clearly see both governments working on their behalf.”

In another matter, Commissioner Sheila Tyson made good on her promise to vote against a permit for Sherman Industries to install sanitary sewer facilities in the right-of-way at Alabama 79 near Park Avenue in Tarrant. The matter passed 3-1, with Scales having stepped out of the chamber.

Commissioners heard lengthy arguments for and against a proposal by Rocky Ridge Properties to build a garden home subdivision at 2921 Rocky Ridge Road. Ultimately, that matter was held over 30 days and will come back before the commission during its second meeting in October, which will be at the Bessemer Courthouse.

The Planning and Zoning Board had recommended approval of the zoning change request with covenants limiting the density of the development to 3.3 units per acre, with a maximum of 26 lots. Additionally, all residences are to have a setback of at least 20 feet and all garages are to have a front setback of 25 feet.

Among other things, some neighboring residents said there was insufficient buffering.

Charles Kessler of The Kessler Companies, at Jefferson County Commission meeting Sept. 24, 2020. Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Earlier, commissioners unanimously passed a compromise resolution to rezone all of the property in a proposed development RG

for single family garden homes. The applicant, Charles Kessler of The Kessler Companies, had sought to have some of the property at 2468 and 2466 Rocky Ridge Road zoned for a 25-unit condominium, but neighbors balked at that.