Tag: Jefferson County Commission

Jeffco Commissioner Stephens Was Rooting for the Other Side in Bet Over Road Construction

Jimmie Stephens admitted that he wanted to lose the bet.

The president of the Jefferson County Commission had a friendly wager that work to widen Morgan Road in Bessemer wouldn’t be underway by December 2018.

“I have seen the holdups,” Stephens said following Monday’s commission committee meeting. “I felt it was a bet that was easy for me to make but it is one I was hoping I would lose. Unfortunately, I didn’t.”

Plans to widen Morgan Road from its current two-lane alignment to four lanes and a turn lane have been two decades in the making. Stephens said 14,000 to 18,000 cars travel that road per day, either headed north of Interstate-459 or south of the interstate. Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Approves Workforce Development Funds for Lawson

Sheila Tyson called a pair of rental assistance agreements “a Band-Aid on a bad wound” as the newly installed Jefferson County Commission met for the first time on Monday.

Tyson and her fellow commissioners had heard two items during their committee meeting that allotted money to pay the rent for a couple of Jefferson County households to keep each from becoming homeless.

Tyson, who chairs the commission’s Community Services and Workforce Development Committee, said poor persons in the county need training so they can provide for themselves.

During their meeting, commissioners also approved $75,000 from the general fund for Lawson State Community College for workforce development and job training programs. Read more.

New Jefferson County Commissioners Pledge to Work on Behalf of Residents

The latest edition of the Jefferson County Commission took office Wednesday with a swearing in ceremony in the morning and a meeting in the afternoon to set its organization in place.

When the day was done, Jimmie Stephens was again president of the commission and Lashunda Scales, who, like Sheila Tyson, made the move from the Birmingham City Council, was elected president pro tem. Read more.

Who Has Final Say Over Jefferson County Money Matters?

Jefferson County commissioners and Jefferson County Tax Collector J.T. Smallwood have different ideas of who must OK contracts set up by Smallwood.

Commissioner David Carrington said Thursday any contract involving Jefferson County government income and expenses must be approved by the commission. Smallwood, an elected official, said he doesn’t work for the commission.

“Department heads answer to the commission. I answer to the voters of Jefferson County every six years,” Smallwood said. “We don’t work for the commission. Now some of the employees in my office do. I guess that’s a little different story.”

Smallwood is running against Joe Knight to represent District 4 on the commission on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Read more.

County Could Decide on Balanced Budget, Revamped Money for Distressed Cities Thursday

The Jefferson County Commission put a balanced budget on its Thursday agenda as it assembled in committee on Tuesday, putting a framework in place that could result in more road and infrastructure work in distressed cities.

The budget would continue to provide each commissioner with $250,000 in grants to go to their districts. In the new budget, $150,000 would be set aside for each to use on infrastructure and roads within his or her district. A city receiving aid would pay an as yet undetermined percentage of the project; an 80-20 match is among the ideas under consideration.

The remainder of the money, $100,000 per commissioner, would be earmarked for use on 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Read more.

Broken Air Conditioners at Brighton Senior Center Focus JeffCo Commission on City Services

The Jefferson County Commission waded back into the issue of small cities’ providing for their residents after learning that the air conditioners at Brighton’s senior center were not working and seniors were being subjected to 90-degree temperatures. Read more.

Brighton Pleads for Mercy in Its Fight Against Weeds

Brighton Mayor Eddie Cooper threw himself “on the mercy of the commission” Tuesday, requesting surplus grass-cutting and debris removing equipment.

Ultimately, two commissioners – Sandra Little Brown and George Bowman – pledged $5,000 apiece so that Brighton can get the equipment it needs.

“We’re in dire need of any equipment to help clean and move debris,” Cooper told commissioners during their committee meeting. “We throw ourselves on the mercy of the commission this morning to give us any relief. If there’s any road equipment or grass-cutting equipment or debris removing equipment that you have that is available, we thank you for honoring us with it.”

Brown read the resolution from the Brighton council that authorized the mayor to make the request. She said there is tall grass everywhere in Brighton, calling it “horrible.”

Commission President Jimmie Stephens said meetings had taken place to discuss creating a fund in the upcoming budget to address the needs of distressed cities. But that relief would be a year away. Read more.

Jefferson County Sheds Close Federal Oversight of Employment Practices

Federal District Judge Lynwood Smith ended the federal receivership in Jefferson County in a move county commissioners hailed as a sign of the county’s improvements in employee and hiring practices.

The receiver was put in place in response to a consent decree over employment practices in 1982.

“Today, we are one step closer with the ending of this receivership as being in compliance with the court’s order,” Commissioner Sandra Little Brown said at a press conference.

The long-standing case now moves into a monitoring period, during which the court will systematically review the continued progress of the county’s hiring and promoting practices. Read more.

Getting Past Bankruptcy: Jefferson County Credit Ratings Up, Cost of Borrowing Down

Jefferson County Commissioners took their latest step away from bankruptcy Thursday as they refinanced about $138 million in debt at lower interest rates, a move that saves the county $14.24 million over the next eight years.

In requesting a resolution to refinance the general obligation warrants, Chief Financial Officer John Henry said the county has raised its credit rating with national finance agencies which translates to lower debt service on money it borrows.

Commissioner David Carrington said that the warrants were refinanced without extending the length or amount of the debt.

Not one single day was added to the debt,” he said. “… We’re paying off the debt in 2026. There will be no more general obligation debt of the county unless a future commission decides, for instance, that they want to build a jail, which is probably coming in the next decade or two.” Read more.