Tag: Jefferson County Commission

Jefferson County Targets ARPA Funds Against Food Desert

UPDATED — A Jefferson County allocation of ARPA funds could provide healthier grocery options for residents along the U.S. 78 corridor.

County commissioners on Thursday approved spending American Rescue Plan Act funds to address food insecurities. The pilot program supports a food pantry to create a low or no-cost grocery store.

Federal funds totaling $472,782.96 will enhance a program that’s in place and sponsored by Daniel Payne Legacy Village Foundation.

“It’s focused on areas where there’s no grocery store,” County Manager Cal Markert said. “If you’ve only got Dollar Generals and gas stations, there aren’t as many fresh fruits and vegetables. This will kind of try to supplement that and get packages of more healthy foods for families to have.” Read more.

Court Denies JeffCo Request to End Sewer Consent Decree – for Now

UPDATED — It ain’t over.

Jefferson County’s efforts to escape an environmental consent decree took a bit of a hit Tuesday, with the U.S. District Court denying its motion to declare the county sewer system in compliance with the decree.

That ruling came hours after the Jefferson County Commission moved to Thursday’s agenda an agreement to pay $2.223 million in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more.

JeffCo Commission OKs Eco Dev Funds, Tyson Wants More to Go to Small Black-Owned Businesses

The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday authorized its support of Innovation Depot and the Birmingham Business Alliance, but not without Commissioner Sheila Tyson voicing her objection.

“I feel like both of those organizations do not address the businesses in the minority community,” she said. “(They) don’t reach farther out from downtown.” Read more.

What Do the H’s Mean in 4H? A Lot

Commissioner Joe Knight interrupted today’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission with a quiz.

“Tell me what the four H’s are,” he said, referring to the 4H Club, a staple of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Knight stumped the room, acknowledging, “I don’t know them.”

That was strangely appropriate as many people know little, if anything, about the extension system, including that the 4 H’s come from the organization’s original motto of head, heart, hands and health, which were later incorporated into the fuller pledge officially adopted in 1927. Read more.

Jefferson County Substantially Increases Penalty for Violating Zoning Laws

The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday amended its zoning ordinance to increase the penalty for violations.

As a result of recent state legislation, the commission was able to make violating the county’s zoning ordinance a Class B misdemeanor. Such violations are now punishable by as much as 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as $3,000.

Previously, the penalty was a $100 fine and no more than 10 days in jail. Read more.

When Is a Cut Not a Cut? JeffCo and Sheriff Disagree

Jefferson County doesn’t see eye-to-eye with its sheriff concerning a recent budget change.

In a release Thursday, Sheriff Mark Pettway said the Jefferson County Commission had frozen 30% of the Sheriff’s Office Budget for fiscal year 2024. Pettway equated the action to “defund(ing) law enforcement.”

The public information officer of Jefferson County responded with its own release that said Pettway misstated the county’s action.
According to the county release, the commission requested a freeze of 30% of all funded existing job vacancies throughout the county system for fiscal 2024.

“As has been well documented throughout multiple industries, including local government, filling positions is challenging,” the county release read. “Tying up public funds by budgeting for positions that you are unlikely to fill within a fiscal year prevents us from using those funds to instead address operational or capital needs. Read more.

Hey Bidder Bidder: JeffCo Commission Decides $550K in Allotments From Surplus

Joe Knight appeared to add auctioneer to his resume as he led his fellow Jefferson County commissioners in assigning money for disbursement that was left over from the fiscal 2023 budget.

When the hour-long discussion was done at the end of Tuesday’s commission committee meeting, $550,000 of the $1.4 million had been allotted to entities that had sought county support. Final approval will come during Thursday’s commission meeting.

The leftover money, which was placed in the county’s contingency fund, had been $1.9 million before the commission syphoned $500,000 from it to the Birmingham Business Resource Center during its last meeting. Requests for help totaled $2.576 million. Read more.

JeffCo Approves $500K for Business That Helps Other Businesses Develop

The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday gave $500,000 to Birmingham Business Resource Center.  

Finance Committee Chairman Joe Knight and Commissioner Mike Bolin voted against the measure, just as they did during Tuesday’s commission committee meeting. BBRC had been on a list of entities to be considered for funds left over from the fiscal 2023 budget. At Commissioner Sheila Tyson’s request, the BBRC funding was added to the commission’s agenda to be considered separately.

“I still voted no,” Knight said following Thursday’s session. “Had it been considered with the rest of them, I would have considered something for him. I’m not sure it’d been $500,000, but I would have considered. Read more. 

JeffCo Commission to Consider Funding for Business Expansion Company

Joe Knight expressed concern about an appropriation that will be on the agenda of Thursday’s Jefferson County Commission meeting, fearing that it would set a precedent.

“That should have been grouped with the rest of them (funding requests),” the commission’s finance committee chairman said. “That was my concern.” Read more.