These Little Warrants Went to Market

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens

Aug. 8, 2017 – Jefferson County Commissioners were told at their committee meeting Tuesday that they’ll need to wear their best “Sunday go to meeting” attire Aug. 31 as they pose for a picture commemorating the recent sale of warrants for school systems in the county.

“It was a very successful warrant issue,” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said after the meeting. “We actually had orders for $1.7 billion worth of warrants, of which there were only $338 million to sell. It drove the interest rate down, which benefits the citizens of Jefferson County, puts more money in our coffers to be able to utilize for the citizens of Jefferson County.

“That was a good day for the county.”

Stephens said the county continues to advance from its dark days of bankruptcy.

“We’re more proactive in what we’re doing,” he said. “We have the resources in place now – whether they be human resources or whether they be capital resources – in order to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Jefferson County. You’ve seen a certain degree of success in moving in that direction and you’ll begin to see more in the coming months.”

During the meeting, the commissioners heard a request to purchase tractors so county crews could make more headway in right of way mowing. Current county tractors were nearing the end of life and the mowers for the tractors were already in place.

The mowers “were sitting on our yard and useless,” Stephens said. “We needed to purchase those (new) tractors. We can purchase them now and they’ll be in use this cutting season.”

The original plan called for the tractors to be purchased during the next fiscal year and outfitted over the winter to be ready for next season.

“But we had certain tractors that were nearing end of life,” the commission president said. “It was fortuitous that we had the money left over in our capital account so we could go ahead and do that.”

Commissioners also discussed a zoning matter in which owners of a housing development on Sicard Hollow Road near Liberty Park sought an amendment to a restrictive covenant so they could build a home in each of two previously denoted conservation areas.

“They had a conservation easement in that area, probably something similar to the land trust,” Stephens said. “Now they want to go back and develop that, which is not within the purview of our land planning to do. They wanted an exception.

“We want to be consistent in what we do,” the commission president said. “We want to make sure it’s the right thing for the citizens of Jefferson County irrespective of a particular landowner or homeowner. We want to do what’s best for the entire community.”

In another matter, commissioners learned of a misunderstanding with the City of Bessemer concerning work being done on 18th Street and 19th Street.

“The city engineer had asked that we actually burrow under the road,” Stephens said. “Due to a misinterpretation, the county’s contractor actually cut that road. We have something we have to get straight. We’ll work through a memorandum of understanding to make sure that lack of communication doesn’t occur again.”