Tag: Jefferson County Commission

State Rep. Rogers Says JeffCo-UAB Health Care Agreement Would Be Illegal and Tilted in UAB’s Favor

State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, is asking Jefferson County to “slow this train down” in its efforts to work with the University of Alabama at Birmingham in forming a health care authority.

“They have not looked at Act 201 that was passed in 2016 dealing with the Indigent Care Fund. You cannot take the Indigent Care Fund and do what you want to do with it,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he received a copy of a confidential contract between UAB and Jefferson County concerning a proposed healthcare authority. He said the agreement has problems with personnel and other matters. He called the contract “a bunch of malarkey” and said the contract calls for the authority to have a seven-member board with four members coming from UAB. Read more.

Jefferson County Pitches in for Fairfield, Takes Over Maintenance of Major Roadways

The mayor and City Council of Fairfield agree on very little these days but the two sides were on one accord at the Jefferson County Commission meeting Thursday.

The commission approved a through road agreement with the financially challenged city in western Jefferson County, taking over maintenance of the city’s three major roadways – Valley Road, Aaron Aronov Drive and Rutledge Drive – at no cost to the city.

“These roads will be a tremendous impact on the city of Fairfield in terms of our economic development by repairing those roads and providing some good infrastructure for the city,” Council President Eddie J. Penny said. “It will improve the motivation and enthusiasm of the city. We’re deeply appreciative of the County Commission’s work.” Read more.

Sewer Rate Town Hall Postponed, Despite Protests, Because of Lawsuit

A standing-room-only crowd greeted the Jefferson County Commission as it assembled for its committee meeting today, announcing that it’s postponing a scheduled town hall meeting on sewer rate increases because of pending litigation.

State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, accused commissioners of being cowards by putting off the event that had been set for 6 p.m. Feb. 19 at Regions Field.

“The County Commission is running like scalded dogs,” Rogers said following the commission’s committee meeting. “Sewer rates are going to go up anyway and (residents) don’t know why and they’re concerned. They’ve got a right to know.”

Rogers said he may host his own town hall meeting. Read more.

Jefferson County Deputies Granted 5 Percent Raise, Sheriff Cites Competitive Need

Sworn personnel of the sheriff’s department received a 5 percent cost-of-living raise when the Jefferson County Commission met in Bessemer Thursday.

The raise in the sheriff’s department is on top of the raise given to Jefferson County employees at the beginning of this fiscal year.
Sheriff Mark Pettway said the extra pay is needed to keep his department competitive with nearby law enforcement departments.

“We are losing officers, deputies, daily to surrounding agencies,” he said. “We want to maintain those that we have and bring on good people to work inside the sheriff’s department. Everybody works for money, so we want to make sure that we’re competitive.” Read more.

Scales Opens the Windows of the County’s Committee Meeting Room

Citizens of Jefferson County could only imagine the discussion and debate that happened when commissioners assembled for their committee meetings.

The five representatives meet in a board room around the corner from their offices with their respective staffs, the county attorney, the county manager and his staff and perhaps a few others.

But Tuesday’s commission committee meeting ushered in a new age for Jefferson County citizens, who were given a peek inside the proceedings courtesy of Commissioner Lashunda Scales.

The commission president pro tem brought livestreaming to the business of Jefferson County as a member of her staff broadcast the committee meeting via the internet. She promises to continue to practice with internet broadcasts of future committee meetings and full commission meetings. Read more.

Commissioner Questions Spending for Hospital Move if Land Is to Be Annexed

Jimmie Stephens said “it wouldn’t be right” for Jefferson County to spend money preparing for the move of UAB West Hospital to McCalla only to have the hospital annexed by neighboring Bessemer.

“It wouldn’t be right for the county to expend all those dollars on infrastructure in unincorporated Jefferson County for them to reap those benefits and then go away,” Stephens said following Thursday’s Jefferson County Commission meeting.

“We want to work with our municipalities,” the commission president said. “If the CEO of UAB West wants to go into Bessemer, that’s fine. But they should do the infrastructure. If you do the infrastructure with the county, it should be in the (unincorporated part of the) county.”

Stephens said there’s no news concerning plans for the new hospital. “It’s still planning to be moved,” the commission president said. “We haven’t gotten any drawings. We haven’t gotten any of the infrastructure work that will be done.” Read more.

Economy Likely to Be the Topic of the Year for Jefferson County Commission

Economic development is likely to be a primary focus for Jefferson County and the County Commission during 2019. The county hit a mother lode, or at least the offshoot of one, during 2018 with Amazon and DC Blox announcing they are establishing operations in Bessemer and North Titusville, respectively. Look for Jefferson County to continue prospecting for more golden nuggets in 2019. Read more.

More What to Watch in 2019

By Land, Water or Air, Pollution Will Be a Controversial Topic Throughout the Year

Environmental issues have made headlines throughout 2018, and 2019 promises to be no different.
Decisions will be made that affect the cleanliness of the state’s waters, air and land. Issues that will affect recycling, coal mining and solar, nuclear and hydropower generation also are looming on the horizon. Here are a few of the issues to watch in 2019.

Gas Tax Is a Top Priority in 2019 Legislative Session

A gasoline tax increase to fund road improvements is expected to be a major topic of the 2019 Alabama legislative session. Legislators also are expecting several hundred million more dollars to spend in the education budget and will be debating raises, a child literacy program and other education improvements. Other issues include funding improvements in prisons and a possible lottery proposal. Read more.

Jefferson County Rebranding Contract Must Be Altered to Give Work to Minority Companies

Lashunda Scales wanted to make one thing perfectly clear. The president pro tem of the Jefferson County Commission was not “playing the race card” as she debated a proposed contract on rebranding the county.

Scales’ concern centered on a contract county manager Tony Petelos presented for a professional services agreement with Big Marketing and Communications. The $203,500 contract did not spell out how historically under-utilized business enterprises would be represented in this agreement.

“Let me say this so this doesn’t turn into a race card conversation,” Scales said Tuesday. “If it were someone white, if it were someone of any other race, if there is not inclusion, I’m going to ask the question as to why. The county makeup is of all races of people, all classes of people. If it does not reflect that, I’d like for us to work within the same vein and cooperative spirit to make it right.” Read more.