Jefferson County Commission

JeffCo Commission to Consider Ambulance Funding Thursday

Jefferson County County Manager Cal Market. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

The Jefferson County Commission moved matters to the agenda of Thursday’s meeting that addressed an original mission of county government.

But County Manager Cal Markert acknowledged that the fulfilment of a later mission is on the horizon.

Markert presented resolutions using American Rescue Plan Act funds to purchase upgrades to emergency management systems in four fire departments in unincorporated Jefferson County. The resolutions would provide:

  • $344,391.65 for an ambulance and equipment, medical supplies and vehicle striping for the Rocky Ridge Fire Department.
  • $158,066 for an ambulance for the Birmingport Fire Department.
  • $213,257.55 for Birmingport Fire Department for an ambulance and equipment, vehicle striping and medical supplies.
  • $180,793.75 for an ambulance and equipment, medical supplies and vehicle striping for Cahaba Valley Fire District.

“The original program was to help improve ambulance service in unincorporated Jefferson County,” Markert said. “They (commissioners) asked us to expand that at a meeting, maybe two meetings ago. I just wanted to point out these are in the original program for the unincorporated part of the county.

“But I know we’re expanding it to cities that also serve the unincorporated part of the county that might need (ambulances) so those are coming at upcoming meetings,” he said. “We’re really excited about that. Fairfield, Midfield, Warrior, Leeds, Irondale, Trussville. Some of those areas will get help as well.”

Actually, commissioners put Fairfield on the track to faster EMS response by moving to Thursday’s agenda the purchase of an ambulance for that city, adding it to committee action by a unanimous vote for new business. That purchase will enhance ambulance coverage in Lipscomb and Brighton.

“Hopefully, Midfield and Warrior are in line to be coming soon,” the county manager said.

Tuesday’s committee meeting was conducted with a quorum of three commissioners, with Lashunda Scales absent and the District 5 seat vacant with Steve Ammons having left to become CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance.

Presiding Probate Judge James Naftel said the election commission is scheduled to conduct a public meeting in his courtroom at 11 a.m. Thursday to lay the groundwork for filling the seat.

“We’ll pass a resolution, hopefully, at that meeting,” the judge said. “I’m hoping that what we’ll end up with is a first election on July 18, and then a runoff, if necessary, on Aug. 8. That’s still the calendar that we’re trying to work with.”

Naftel said that schedule would conclude qualifying on or around June 28 or so, three weeks before the first election. Urologist Brian Christine had announced his intent to run for the office but has since withdrawn, endorsing former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin of Vestavia Hills.

Sheriff’s Training Barracks

In other committee action Tuesday, the commission moved to Thursday’s agenda approval for the county manager to direct the chief financial officer to budget $1.5 million toward the construction of a sheriff’s barracks. Commission President Jimmie Stephens said this is just the first step in accomplishing this goal.

Jefferson County Commissioners Joe Knight and Jimmie Stephens (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

“This is part of a $5 million project for the sheriff’s barracks,” Stephens said. “This is the beginning of it, with the understanding that any cost overruns from this will be borne by the sheriff.”

“And,” Commissioner and Finance Chairman Joe Knight said, “we would love to come in under budget.”

Wayne Rogers, a spokesman for Sheriff Mark Pettway, said the new barracks would allow more deputies from across the state to attend training classes in Jefferson County.