Tag: Jefferson County Commission

Fairfield Gets Grants to Sustain Bus Route, Fund Paving Project

The City of Fairfield benefited from a pair of actions approved Thursday during the Jefferson County Commission meeting.

Commissioner Lashunda Scales provided the city a $29,355 community grant from her discretionary funds to help offset the cost to sustain bus route No. 5 in the city. Commissioners were unable to provide funding for Fairfield in the general fund because of budget shortfalls brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the County Commission approved a $250,000 ALDOT infrastructure grant to pave E.J. Oliver Jr. Boulevard.
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Jefferson County Commission Adopts Budget With Longevity Payment

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, favoring instead 1% across-the-board raises, but she voted for the budget, anyway, because it did give an extra payment to employees. Read more.

JeffCo Commissioners Discuss $199 Million Budget With One-Time Longevity Bonuses for County Employees

Jefferson County commissioners are set Thursday to consider a budget that would include $1.485 million for a one-time longevity payment to each county employee. On Tuesday, commissioners put the fiscal 2021 budget on the agenda for its official meeting later in the week.

Commissioners Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson had fought vehemently for a cost-of-living adjustment to the salaries of county employees. Repeatedly, county attorney Theo Lawson and others responded by saying, “There is no COLA.”

The county’s budget office brought two proposals to the table – a budget with a $1.1 million cost-of-living adjustment for county employees and another without that adjustment. Revenue Department Director Travis Hulsey brought another consideration, a one-time longevity payment based on years of service. Read more.

No Improprieties in Possible Switch of Jeffco Auditor, Former CFO Says

None of the improprieties suggested in Wednesday’s Jefferson County Commission took place, former Jefferson County Chief Financial Officer John Henry told Birmingham Watch today.

Henry said County Manager Tony Petelos and Commission Finance Chairman Joe Knight knew of his advice concerning a possible switch from Warren Averett to Banks Finley as the county’s primary auditor.

Commissioners had a sometimes-heated discussion Wednesday about a resolution to extend for three years the county’s contract with Warrant Averett, a white-owned accounting firm. The discussion included the suggestion that a deal had been brokered to change to the Black-owned firm Banks Finley.

Commissioner Lashunda Scales said during the meeting that extending the contract to the white-owned firm was a throwback to the days when the county did not consider racial and gender diversity in its hiring practices. Commissioners ultimately passed a substitute motion by Scales to reduce the extension to one year, at which point a change could be considered.
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County Crew Must Move a Small Mountain to Put Out Underground Fire in Forestdale

Roads and Transportation Department workers from Jefferson County have taken on the task of moving a “small mountain” in their efforts to battle an underground fire that has annoyed Forestdale neighbors with smoke for more than a month.

Jefferson County deputy county manager Cal Markert said the steeply sloped terrain of the property off Timber Ridge Drive and Forestdale Bend Road makes battling the smoldering illegal dump site particularly tough.

“We can’t work at it from the top because it won’t hold heavy equipment, and the slope is so steep on the backside you can’t climb up on it with heavy equipment,” Markert said. “We’re basically going to start at the bottom and just very slowly excavate out with our equipment and try to get it separated that way.” Read more.

Accounting Contract Leads to Squabble on the Jefferson County Commission

A contentious meeting of the Jefferson County Commission led to verbal sparring in the commission chamber after the meeting ended.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens and President Pro Tem Lashunda Scales lingered on the dais Wednesday as most who had been in the session exited. Stephens said he felt he was being disrespected as Scales discussed a proposed extension of the county’s contract with an accounting firm to perform annual audits.

At one point, Stephens said Scales implied that he was being racist in performing his duties as a commissioner.

“I’m going to administer government in this county like it’s colorblind,” Stephens said as he left the chamber.
Replied Scales: “I know dead presidents are colorblind,” referring to money.

A resolution seeking a three-year extension of the county’s contract with Warren, Averett, Kimbrough, and Marino, LLC was pulled from the consent agenda for separate consideration. Commissioner Sheila Tyson repeated the concern she expressed during Tuesday’s committee meeting that Warren Averett lacked the diversity that the county should display as it seeks to escape the cloud of a decades-old consent decree for past hiring practices. Read more.

Political Suicide: Jefferson County Commission President Opposes Extending Trash Contract

Commission President Jimmie Stephens said he would be committing political suicide if he agreed to extend the contract of Advanced Disposal, the company that provides single-family residential garbage and trash services in unincorporated Jefferson County.

David Denard, the director of Environmental Services, presented the Jefferson County Commission with a resolution to renew the county’s contract with Advanced Disposal until April 2021 to give the county enough time to lock in another vendor.

Stephens said he gets complaints three times a week about Advanced. Read more.

Jeffco Commission Delays Decision on Rocky Ridge Development

A request to rezone parcels in the Rocky Ridge area for a 25-unit condominium and a 10-lot single-family residential subdivision was delayed Thursday for two weeks for the developer and residents to settle on a possible revision.
The Jefferson County Commission met for 2½ hours, with two hours spent on the requested rezoning. Overton Investments LLC asked to rezone property at 2468 and 2466 Rocky Ridge Road.
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Birmingham Gives Tax Breaks for UAB-Area Student Apartment Project, Commission Expected to Follow Suit

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve economic incentives for a new student housing development near the UAB campus, and Jefferson County commissioners indicated they would do the same Thursday.

The seven-story development, which is expected to house up to 400 residents, will be built atop a brownfield site bordered by 13th and 14th Streets South and Fourth and Fifth Avenues South. Read more.