April 4, 2017 – The Trinity Steel property in Birmingham’s Titusville neighborhood is one step closer to becoming the home of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.
Commissioners voted 4-1 in their Tuesday committee meeting to place gifting the property to the Humane Society on the agenda of their regular meeting Thursday. Commissioner Sandra Little Brown voted no, although she later said she should have abstained.
The city of Birmingham and Jefferson County jointly own the property. Commissioners David Carrington and Joe Knight met recently with Mayor William Bell and a Humane Society representative. The plan from those talks was for each entity to gift the property so that the Humane Society could move from its current home on Snow Drive in Homewood.
“I’m excited,” Carrington said after the meeting. “It’s good for animals. It’s good for kids. It’s good for vets. More pets will be adopted, more pets will find homes. Auburn and Tuskegee (veterinary) students will get to have surgery before they graduate.”
The District 5 commissioner said the move is cost effective for the county, calling it a “win, win, win.” He said the property has been vacant for the past 12 years.
“It’s been cleaned up but there’s a restriction of what can go on that property,” Carrington said. “We were approached about a year ago by the Humane Society. What they wanted to do is create dormitories for the vet students. They wanted to have a kennel for the animals that are being brought in, that they spay and neuter. They wanted to expand their adoption services.”
The K9 unit of the Birmingham Police Department would also be housed there. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department also has expressed interest in having a unit there and a dog park.
The plan is that the Humane Society development would provide a smooth transition from the Titusville community and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The property is across Sixth Street South from Golden Flake Snack Foods and Memorial Park.
Brown said she needed more information before voting on the matter Thursday.
“I’m going to talk to some other people – the mayor and people in the neighborhood,” she said. “By it being transferred for that specific cause flags me a little bit. Why do we have to gift it for a specific use?
“Right now I’m not there,” she continued. “I need to know exactly what’s going on. I’m not going to go against the will of the people for no specific elected official.”
Fairfield, Sales Tax Law
In other business, commissioners said they worked out a deal concerning the city of Fairfield’s outstanding debt to the county. Carrington said Fairfield has not been reimbursing the county for services for years.
Under the deal, Jefferson County will forgive the amount that Fairfield currently owes. Going forward, the county will deduct what Fairfield owes from taxes.
In another matter, commissioners said a state Supreme Court ruling in Jefferson County’s favor over a sales tax for schools was not appealed. That means the county can move forward with plans to refinance warrants backed by the tax.
Commissioners believe they can refinance the warrants at a lower price and allocate the money saved to other county services and nonprofit groups in addition to the schools.
A circuit judge had the revision of the sales tax law, but the Alabama Supreme Court about two weeks ago issued a ruling that upheld the revision.
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