Tag: Jefferson County Commission

After Delays, Concord Storm Shelter Needs to Be Finished, Commissioner Says

Oct. 17, 2017 – Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said he’s tired of giving excuses to residents of Concord concerning the storm shelter for which they’ve been waiting.

“They’ve been waiting for six years for that storm shelter,” he said at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “It’s time we took action and completed that storm shelter for the citizens of Concord. They have experienced numerous, large tornadoes. They need this shelter and protection for their community.”

The contractor who was to build the shelter went bankrupt. And while the building is up, commissioners said, the roof is not tied in.
“It’s important that we correct his mistakes,” Stephens said, “so we can move forward and get that done as quickly as possible.” Read more.

JeffCo Rejects Zoning Request Related to Landfill

Oct. 6, 2017 – Bethel Baptist Church of Dora’s church picnic was ruined by flies that frequent the area because of a waste transport business, the Rev. John Foles told the Jefferson County Commission on Thursday.

“I want you to imagine a roadkill that has flies all on top of it, and them being very aggressive,” he said to a packed commission chamber. “That’s what we had to endure for over an hour. We threw food away. It’s not just the flies, it’s the aggressiveness of hundreds and hundreds of flies.”

The flies – and the smell – with which residents of West Jefferson and the like have dealt prompted the overflow crowd to applaud when commissioners denied a request by Sumiton Timber Company and Sky Environmental to change the zoning on a 4-acre property on Snowville Brent Road in Dora.

Sky Environmental has been transferring waste from trains to trucks and then transporting that waste to a landfill in Adamsville. The property is zoned for a pulpwood yard only, and the company sought to change that zoning to permit the legal continuation of its business there. Read more.

US Supreme Court Takes a Pass, Won’t Hear Challenge of JeffCo Bond Refinancing

Oct. 3, 2017 – Jefferson County Commissioners reported this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court had opted not to hear the latest challenge to the county’s refinancing of bonds backed by the 1-cent sales tax.

“The Supreme Court denied even hearing it,” Commissioner Joe Knight said during committee meeting. “It’s over. It’s done. The Supreme Court said, ‘We don’t even think it worth hearing.’” Read more.

JeffCo Commission Closing Its Books on Time and on Budget

Sept. 26, 2017 – Jefferson County Commissioners will have a brief meeting Wednesday to deal with a “good” problem, according to Commission President Jimmie Stephens. Wednesday’s meetings, arranged during today’s committee session, will be conducted to close the financial books as the fiscal year comes to a close. “Really, that’s a good problem to have because

Jefferson County Paying Almost $1.5 Million in Incentives for Autocar Plant

Sept. 14, 2017 – With the cat having been let out of the bag, Jefferson County commissioners made the formal announcement Thursday about incentives for the creation of jobs related to Autocar’s moving into Jefferson County.

Gov. Kay Ivy took part in an announcement Wednesday that the Indiana-based trucking company will develop a plant in Center Point and Birmingham.
The county agreed to pay Autocar $1.492 million contingent on the company beginning manufacturing and meeting agreed-upon employment goals. Read more.

Jefferson County’s 12 School Systems Getting Windfall From Bond Issue

Don’t be surprised if school board presidents and superintendents attending a luncheon with the Jefferson County Commission skip the cake or pie that follows their main course.

They’ll have a much bigger treat awaiting them.

While meeting in committee this morning, commissioners authorized the county manager to distribute the remaining unspent proceeds from the education sales and use tax, an amount totaling $69 million. Read more.

From Cotton Fields to LED Panels: JeffCo Plans to Pair Electronic Art With Depression-Era Murals to Tell the County’s Story

Walking into the Jefferson County courthouse from Linn Park, you’re flanked by murals depicting the county’s history.

On the right is the “Old South” mural, dominated by a woman in antebellum dress with slaves harvesting cotton and sugar cane at her feet. On the left is the “New South” mural, anchored by a man dressed in a suit and hat with industrial workers at his feet.

The 17½-foot-tall murals may have shown an overview of the county’s progression when they were painted in 1931. But that was 86 years ago.

Now the murals periodically draw protests by people who say the artwork enshrines a racist era and does not bear a resemblance to the Jefferson County of today.

County commissioners have been debating that issue, but they don’t plan to remove the murals. Instead, they are commissioning an artist to design three-dimensional electronic LED panels to be installed in the same lobby and bring the county’s history up to date. Read more.

JeffCo Commissioners Hire Artist for New Courthouse Mural, Won’t Remove Historic Murals From Lobby

Aug. 29, 2017 – The Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday approved hiring artist Ronald McDowell to produce a mural depicting modern-day Jefferson County.

The mural would complement, but not replace, two old murals in the lobby of the courthouse that have been controversial over the years. One of those murals includes images of slaves harvesting cotton and sugar cane.

Commissioner Sandra Little Brown presented the resolution at the commission’s committee meeting on Tuesday. She said the project predates the national furor over Confederate monuments. Read more.

Officials Work to Solve Health Care Puzzle for Poor in Jefferson County

When Cooper Green Mercy Hospital closed its doors in 2013, Jefferson County officials were reeling from health care costs that had spun out of control. At that time, the $50 million indigent care fund – generated by a percentage of sales tax revenue – was not enough to cover costs and officials were dipping into the county’s general fund to cover the shortage.

Cooper Green was reborn as an urgent care and primary care clinic. The move has reduced costs over the past four years, but some commissioners recently expressed concern at the amount the county was paying UAB, which provides in-patient, emergency and specialty care to Cooper Green’s poor patients. The payments to UAB are projected to reach about $24 million this fiscal year – nearly half of the county’s indigent care fund.

Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said the county is not in danger of exceeding the money set aside for indigent care this year, but that does not mean it is as cost effective as it could be. Because it is costly operating the aging building designed to be a hospital, Petelos and Cooper Green Mercy CEO Roger McCollough are pushing an effort to replace Cooper Green Mercy.

They’re also looking for ways to channel patients to less-expensive preventative care, treating them before they’re so sick they require treatment in an emergency room or hospitalization. Read more.

JeffCo Commission Presses Pause on Cotswold Development

Aug. 10, 2017 – Jay Morgan applauded as Commissioner David Carrington voiced his disapproval of an effort to get zoning in The Cotswolds subdivision amended to permit the construction of a pair of houses on land that was designated to be left undeveloped.

“He said they need to play by the rules,” said Morgan, who lives in the subdivision on Sicard Hollow Road near Liberty Park. “These developers … they were not playing by the rules. They started building the driveway and didn’t even have a building permit. That’s why we have rules and regulations.”

Carrington ultimately moved that the matter be carried over for no more than six months to allow, among other things, for all parties to be duly notified. Read more.