Jefferson County Commission

Jefferson County Commission Adopts Budget With Longevity Payment

Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens celebrated the sausage-making as the commission passed a budget on Sep. 10, 2020. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

With Commissioner Joe Knight declaring, “The sausage is made! We have a budget!” the Jefferson County Commission today passed a $199 million budget for fiscal 2021.

All five commissioners voted for the budget, which included $1.485 million for a one-time longevity payment to each county employee. Commissioner Lashunda Scales objected to longevity pay during Tuesday’s committee meeting.

“I just wanted to say for the record that I am fully in support of 1% COLA (cost of living adjustment),” Scales said. “I’m going to vote in favor of this longevity (payment) only because my understanding is (it) will allow for at least a $250 increment. If I had my rather, I would have rather seen 1%, which was asked in the amount of $1.1 million.”

County Board of Registrars Chairman Barry Stephenson also learned Thursday never to say never when it comes to changing polling places during a pandemic. He said Tuesday his move of a polling place from George Ward Tennis Center to Unitarian Universalist Church would likely be the final change before the November election.

But he got a call after Tuesday’s committee meeting that the Exceptional Foundation in Homewood cannot be used for a polling place.

“Fortunately, the city of Homewood is going to offer the brand new, renovated community center as a substitute,” Stephenson said. “It’s actually going to be an improvement for the citizens, with far more handicap parking and traffic signal access. It’s going to be a win for the citizens.”

Exceptional Foundation normally closes on election day but cannot this year, Stephenson said, because of alterations it has made to its program to accommodate social distancing.

Other resolutions approved by the commission Thursday include a post-construction ordinance to regulate subdivision and construction.

“We’re responsible now if a development is built; they have to put in additional controls to maintain stormwater runoff,” said deputy county manager Cal Markert. “You add roofs, roads, concrete paths, you’ve got to catch the runoff to try to keep the runoff equal to the preexisting condition.

“This amendment basically says now we’ve got to hold the developments and homeowners association responsible for maintaining those retention ponds and structures,” Markert continued, “so we try to keep those from filling up with silt so they continue to function throughout the years.”