Tag: Jefferson County Commission

Don’t Look at Us, Jefferson County Commission Tells People Upset Over Rising Property Taxes

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens used the commission’s committee meeting today as a platform to dispel the misconception that county government is raising property taxes through reappraisals.

“There’s a misconception that the county commission is responsible for this and I want everyone to be clear that the county commission is not responsible for this,” Stephens said. “This is a state function.”

However, county employees do conduct the property appraisals, Stephens said. Property values assigned by the county’s Board of Equalization reflect property sales activity in the market, the chairwoman of the board said. Read more.

Jefferson County Clears Hurdle to Working out an Agreement With UAB for a Health Care Authority

The Jefferson County Commission voted 3-2 for a resolution that executes an amended master agreement to establish the framework for UAB to form an authority to operate Cooper Green Mercy Health System.

Commissioners Jimmie Stephens, Joe Knight and Steve Ammons voted for the measure. Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson voted no.

“I think this is really a defining moment for our indigent health care system,” Stephens, the commission president, said immediately following the vote. “Moving forward, I believe our indigents will be able to see a noticeable difference. I believe we’ll improve the quality of our health care and our efficiencies.”

Whether current Cooper Green employees who are hired to continue to work with the health care authority may remain in the county retirement system has been a point of concern for Tyson, the chair of the commission’s committee governing Cooper Green, and Scales. Stephens said those employees will have the option to remain in the county’s retirement system or go under a retirement system offered by the authority.

Scales said she voted no because all of the commissioners have not been given information during the negotiations.

“In my opinion, (that) did not occur,” she said. “Because it did not occur, it made me very uncomfortable with voting on a master agreement. I asked several questions I believe went unanswered.” Read more.

Jeffco Commissioners Set Rules for Use of Economic Development Fund

Updated with video — Despite the “very, very strong” objection of Economic Development Chairman Steve Ammons, the Jefferson County Commission today established new guidelines for using money from the commission’s economic development fund.

In a roll call vote, Ammons voted a “very, very strong no” on a presented resolution. Commission President Jimmie Stephens joined Ammons in voting no, but the matter passed on the yes votes of Commissioners Lashunda Scales, Joe Knight and Sheila Tyson.

Scales offered a resolution at the last meeting that required spending from that fund to be approved by the full commission. Ammons asked that the matter be held over so that he and his staff could make a presentation about economic development. Commissioners agreed Tuesday for a special economic development committee meeting to take place Nov. 18, at which the presentation would take place.

In the meantime, Knight sent a draft of a resolution to his fellow commissioners to address how and when money can be used from the economic development fund. Scales offered that resolution as a substitution for the one she presented at the Oct. 24 meeting in Bessemer.

“This is not to be a fund for everyone to travel on,” Knight said. Read more.

Jeffco Commission Ready to Hash Out Details of Health Care Authority, Debates Economic Development Funds

Today’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission yielded two more meetings.

One addresses the county’s pending agreement with UAB concerning the master plan for the university healthcare authority; the other is to settle a potential change in an administrative order regarding spending from the economic development fund.

Commissioners agreed to reconvene this Thursday’s commission meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to hash out details of the healthcare authority. The panel will go into executive session so commissioners can address questions to the county attorney and the independent attorney who are working on this matter.

The Economic Development Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 to discuss spending from the fund.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the master agreement with UAB was sent to the commission and county manager Tony Petelos. Subsequently, the county sent the agreement back to UAB with some changes. Read more.

Economic Development Spending Stirs Flap Among Jefferson County Commissioners

Steve Ammons, chairman of the Jefferson County Commission’s committee on economic development, called another commissioner’s moving without his knowledge to require full commission approval to spend economic development funds “a slap in the face.”

Ammons said he had no idea the resolution was coming up. “When it came up, honestly it was a slap in the face,” he said.

Ammons and Commission President Jimmie Stephens were absent Tuesday when Commissioner Lashunda Scales presented the resolution in the commission’s committee meeting. Read more.

Scales Proposing All Economic Development Spending Go Through Full Jefferson County Commission

Commissioner Lashunda Scales presented a resolution at the Jefferson County Commission’s committee meeting to bring all spending from the commission’s economic development fund before the full commission.

Scales’ resolution to consider the issue, which passed 2-1 with commissioner Joe Knight voting no, will be considered during Thursday’s commission meeting at the Bessemer Courthouse. Commissioner Steve Ammons, who chairs economic development, and President Jimmie Stephens were absent Tuesday.

“We’d just like to have transparency with the public,” Scales said. Read more.

Jefferson County Commission OKs Magic City Classic Funding; Scales’, Stephens’ Reasoning Took Them on the Same Path to Different Destinations

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens and President Pro Tem Lashunda Scales are often on opposite sides of discussions.

In Thursday’s commission meeting, they once again wound up on different sides of the fence, but their sentiments were not as far apart as they might have appeared.

Stephens pulled for separate consideration resolutions allotting $100,000 apiece to Alabama A&M and Alabama State universities. That money is to assist in the promotion of the annual Magic City Classic football game.
Scales, Sheila Tyson and Joe Knight voted for the actions. Stephens abstained and Steve Ammons was absent. Read more.

UAB Asks JeffCo Commission to Support New Medical Research Building

Two high-ranking leaders from UAB today asked Jefferson County to invest with the Southside institution in making the Altec/Styslinger Genomic Medicine and Data Sciences Building a reality.

UAB President Ray Watts and Dr. Selwyn Vickers, the senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, asked commissioners during their committee meeting to consider putting $1 million per year for five years into the $70 million project.

The 140,000-square-foot building will house more than 50 research operations, which the pair said will produce annual revenue of $35 million to $55 million, or a total of $175 million to $300 million over five years.

But, they said, it’s not just about the money. Watts said the work there will lay the foundation for health care for the future of Birmingham, Jefferson County and beyond. Read more.

Jefferson County Commissioners Quarrel Over Making Changes to New Budget

The recently passed fiscal 2020 budget was the subject of some terse discussion during the Jefferson County Commission’s committee meeting Tuesday.

Commissioner Joe Knight offered a resolution to move $250,000 from demolition to reserves and another $250,000 that had been listed in the public service fund to a project fund for transit.

Knight said there was no new money. The transit money was already there, he said.

The proposal prompted a lengthy discussion that addressed the lack of demolitions of derelict house and the prospect of 15 being torn done this year. Read more.