The opening to Thursday’s Jefferson County Commission meeting was a little like a scene from the 1986 movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
County Clerk Millie Diliberto called roll, beginning with the newest person of the dais, Mike Bolin. But he didn’t answer when his name was called.
“Say, ‘Here,’” Commission President Jimmie Stephen prompted.
“Oh. Here,” Bolin said. “Sorry.”
The District 5 commissioner acknowledged having not initially heard his name.
“I’m a little hearing impaired and I didn’t understand,” he said. “I’ll turn my volume up.”
Bolin was elected this summer to fill the position left vacant when Commissioner Steve Ammons resigned to become CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, and Thursday was his first official commission meeting.
Bolin said he felt like a kid on his first job. He said he enjoyed his first job as a lawyer and then his second as a probate judge. And, he said, no one could fail to enjoy three terms on the Alabama Supreme Court. “But none of those were any better than this,” Bolin said, acknowledging the help he’s received from his fellow commissioners. “I’m just pleased, and I think my wife’s pleased for me, too. I wasn’t dealing with that retirement issue very well at all. I’d wake up in the morning and I didn’t have anything to do.
“Before, everything I served the law,” he said. “I feel like now I’m serving the people. That’s really what it’s all about.”
The meeting included an award from the commission and the Association of County Commissions of Alabama to state Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison for her sponsorship of legislation to pass updates to the state’s competitive bid law.
The senator said she works to give local government the authority needed to make the changes on a local level. The bill, passed earlier this year raised the cap on projects that do not have to go through the public bid process to $30,000.
“This not only helps county governments, it helps all governments,” Coleman-Madison said. “I’m hoping that it will clear up some of the red tape and move some of the projects forward in a more speedy manner.”
Econ Dev Loan OK’d
The 45 commission resolutions passed today included a $3.975 million loan to the Jefferson County Economic Industrial Development Authority to acquire land for new industrial sites and build infrastructure at those sites.
JCEIDA Executive Director Othell Phillips declined to say where the targeted property is located. That information can be released, he said, after the deal closes later this month.
“I had to get the funding before we could close it,” he said.
Trip to World Police and Fire Games
County Attorney Theo Lawson gave a report on the trip he and other
s took to Winnipeg, Canada, for the 2023 World Police and Fire Games. Birmingham will host the Games in 2025.
He said that event drew about 7,000 competitors from police and fire departments around the world.
“From the anticipation that we got in folks talking, we expect about 9,000 of them to come here,” he said. “It’s a huge event. Folks bring their families. It’s kind of a family-oriented kind of thing as well.
“But it looks like it generates a whole lot of business for our restaurants, for our lodging and that kind of thing,” Lawson continued. “I expect a huge impact based on what we saw.”
Lawson was joined on the trip by Deputy County Manager Daren Lanier and Sheriff Mark Pettway.