JeffCo Commissioners Discuss Cooper Green Contracts, Water Line Project, Other Issues to Come up in Thursday’s Meeting.

Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington is considering a run for governor in 2018. (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

February 21, 2017 — Jefferson County Commissioners discussed $105,400 in contracts for Cooper Green Mercy Hospital during a committee meeting Tuesday.

“That goes back to reallocating to make sure we have the funds necessary to have a positive impact on our indigent citizens,” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said after the meeting. “This commission is committed to doing that and we’re going to continue to do it.”

Items discussed in the committee meeting are set to come up in the commission’s official meeting, which this week has been moved to 1 p.m. Thursday.

Contracts discussed for Cooper Green were:

  • $21,200 for a contract with Mirth Connect for a clinical health information system and financial/revenue cycle that helps interface the electronic medical records systems and medical billing systems throughout the clinics.
  • $14,200 for the University of Alabama School of Nursing, which includes the services of nurse practitioner Laura Debiasi.
  • $60,000 to Medpath Inc. to engage Dr. Martin Palmer as medical director.
  • $10,000 to Pioneer RX System for pharmacy management software license in the pharmacy.
  • To amend the business associate contract with New Tech Computer System for security, confidentiality and integrity of health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

In another matter, the commission discussed extension of the contract time for the West Highlands Water Line project, stretching the $71,000 project to April 23.

“The first thing that they needed was a water line and we approved that,” Stephens said. “We found that they had no fire protection. We’ve allocated additional moneys to put fire hydrants out there. Now they’ll have fire service.”

Commissioners discussed the demolition and clean-up of the old Mulga School property.

“It’s a mess out there,” county manager Tony Petelos said. “It’s one of the worst that I’ve seen.”

The County Commission acquired that property in 2003 through a trade with the Jefferson County Board of Education. It hasn’t been used in many years, Stephens said, and has fallen into a dilapidated state.

“It is a liability on the citizens of that area,” the commission president said. “It’s become a dumping ground and the county needs to clean it up and secure that property for the wellbeing of the citizens of the community.”

Commissioners talked about future development of the property. Petelos said roads going in and out of the property are not that good.

“We would like to put a big commercial development there but we don’t know if that particular site will be conducive to that,” Stephens said. “We’ll do whatever our citizens would ask us to do within reason.”

Coroner Gregory Davis introduced new deputy coroner Matt Angelo. Davis said a new pathologist will be added soon to make that department fully staffed.

Stephens was asked later if a rash of recent homicides and drug overdoses will require the commission to provide the coroner additional help.

“We’ll do whatever’s necessary,” he said. “This is not where we would really want to spend our money. We would rather use that and utilize our Jefferson County Department of Health.

“That would be better utilization of our money because it’s too late when you’re spending it at the coroner’s office.”

In other matters:

  • Commissioner David Carrington, who is considering a run for governor in 2018, asked that Commissioner Joe Knight accept his responsibility as chairman of the finance committee.

“I’ve told him if I decide not to pursue other interests, I want it back,” Carrington said to a chorus of laughs.

  • Commissioner Sandra Little Brown said renderings of work to be done in the lobby of the downtown courthouse are in progress. Murals in the lobby drew complaints because they depict black people picking cotton and performing other manual labor.
  • Stephens noted the recent book signing of what he called the county’s youngest published author. Nia Mya Reese penned the book “How to Deal with and Care for Your Annoying Little Brother” when she was a first-grader at Deer Valley Elementary School. The book is available on Amazon for $9.99.
  • Carrington noted the county has reaped $396,581.09 from the 8 percent sales tax Amazon pays on items shipped to Alabama. Additionally, Carrington said, “We should be receiving the Christmas check soon.”

Stephens acknowledged that money is significant. “That’s a million dollars that we didn’t have,” he said later.

  • Commissioners discussed hiring Valerie Hicks Powe as chief assistant district attorney for the Bessemer district.
    • Zhaleh M. McCullers, director of the department of Storm Water Management, reported on the county’s People Against a Littered State program. She said it is moving toward being year-round as there are increased requests to volunteer in trash clean-up. “That is a wonderful thing,” she said. “The public wants to get involved.”

Read more coverage of the Jefferson County Commission.