Information, Information, More Information -
Can't thank you all enough.  Still growing so now we have to do another archive page.
Again, thank you for your loyalty.




  
 
 
 
 
Conecuh County Commission Meeting 27 March 2017
 
     Called to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender, invocation offered by Commissioner Byrd followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
     Roll call showed all members present.
 
     Chairman Millender noted that there had been several instances of speaking out in a spontaneous manner.  He asked that should anyone desire to speak please wait until they are recognized by the chair.
 
Agenda:
     Approved as printed.
 
Minutes:
     Minutes of the 13 March 2017 meeting approved as read.
 
Payroll/personnel:
     There has been one new hire for the engineering department to function as a prisoner guard.
     There were 14.25 hours of overtime for approval.  Overtime came from the Sheriff and Probate Judges Departments.
     Payroll/personnel report approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims:
     There were no claims over the limits for both the gasoline and general funds.
     It was noted at this time that some departments have exceeded their budget on travel claims.
     Motion to approve claims passed by unanimous vote.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:
     A representative from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood advised the commission the safe room was moving along well.  Some minor delays due to rain have been worked through.  Most of the building has been topped by masonry.
     An invoice of $88K+ has been submitted.  The state will reimburse 75% of the cost.  Motion to approve payment passed by unanimous vote.
 
Sheriff Brock’s Report:
     Sheriff Brock noted his department has 3 new vehicles already in service.  He has 4 vehicles that need to be declared surplus and turned in.  Three of these vehicles are not running and must be removed by tow truck.  They are all 1997 vintage Crown Victoria cars.
     Sheriff Brock noted he had been tasked with getting some prices for repair to the jail lighting system.  He is in receipt of 2 returned offers in the amount of $54,750.00 and $53,908.00.  After discussion and a recommendation from the county attorney, it was determined that bid packets be submitted to accomplish the work needed at the jail.  Motion to send out bid packets passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee noted he had two request from citizens, one to declare a road to be a private road and another to declare a road as a public road.
     Both roads were are in District 3.  One is known as Lanier Circle and it was approved to declare this a private road.
     The other is known as Stringer Lane and it was approved to become a public road.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown advised the State Human Resources desires to extend a current lease at the DHR building until 1 February 2017.  This was approved by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown has received an email from Mr. Byrd, Superintendent of Education, noting that a joint meeting between the B.O.E. and the City Council is scheduled.
     The Commission is in receipt from DHR thanking them for appointing Mr. Tim Covin to the DHR board.
     An ALATOM regular meeting is scheduled for 6 PM in Demopolis.
     Ms. Brown informed the commission there will be an administrative conference on 1 May at Perdido Beach.  It was noted that previous approval of her attending all training meetings was on record.  No action was required.
     It was noted that action was required on merit board appointments.  Action to be taken at the next scheduled meeting. 
     Ms. Brown noted a 20 March meeting dealing with a possible web site updating company.  The startup cost is $9,325.00 and $495.00 per month.  After discussion it was determined there was no money budgeted for this program.  It will be addressed in the next budget hearings.
     Schneider Electric and their proposed electrical upgrades were the next topic.  After discussion a motion was made to not go any further with Schneider Electric at this time due to a lack of budgetary funding.  Motion carried by a margin of 4-1 with District Three Commissioner andrews abstaining.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Bishop had nothing more to add to the meeting.
 
Commissioners comments and announcements:
     andrews asked about the status of the hospital request on cosigning a loan.  Mr. Bishop responded that he was waiting on the hospital for additional paperwork.
     Commissioner Riley noted that he and Commissioner Campbell had attended a road and bridges study group.
     Commissioner Riley noted that andrews owed both the commission body and the county an apology for his actions and the embarrassment he has brought to the county with his recent arrest.  andrews offered no response.
 
News Media: 
No comments
 
Adjourn:
Motion to adjourn approved at 9:52 AM
 
 
Oh yes, by the way that deal of waiting until recognized to speak went by the wayside almost immediately.  Some people are just so important they must break in and speak immediately.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Meeting 13 March 2017
 
Oil Revenues for March:  $295,168.44
 
     Call to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender, prayer offered by Commissioner Byrd followed by the pledge of Allegiance.
 
     Roll call showed all members present.
 
     The agenda was approved as printed.  The minutes from the previous meeting were approved as read.
 
Payroll/personnel report:
     1 new hire in the Corrections Department; 1 separation from the Corrections Department.  There was no overtime to be approved.
 
Claims approval:
     Under the $500.00 General Fund limit there was 1 claim to be approved.
     Under the $3,000.00 Gasoline Fund limit 2 claims were up for approval.  $18,043.46 for repair of District 3’s backhoe and $4,192.41 for repair of the engineering department side cutter. 
     There should be a new side cutter in this week and one more scheduled in during April.
 
Safe Room:
     There was no report on the Conecuh County safe room project.
 
Evergreen Medical Center:
     CEO Tom McClendon came before the commission to inform them the requested financial reports had been submitted.   He further requested the commission agree to co-sign a loan for the hospital.  Mr. McClendon admitted the hospital would be unable to secure this loan without the counties help.  He also stated that the hospital owner will guarantee a 100% payback.  The loan payback amount will be $20,000.00 per month for 3 years.
     County Attorney Anthony Bishop advised the commission body that prior to making this loan a public hearing must be held.  andrews motioned that the attorney be allowed permission to set up the public hearing.  Motion carried.
 
EMA:
     EMA Director Johnny Brock informed the commission body that he had paperwork needing the chairman’s signature.  This paperwork, properly signed, will result in the county getting $796.00 from the state EMA   Problem solved!!! 
     Mr. Brock is updating the emergency op plan and needs a commissioner on the board.  Commissioner Campbell volunteered to be a board member.
 
County Engineer:
     Engineer Foshee stated that the engineering department is responsible for maintain paved roads though out the county including replacing pipes (culverts) on these paved roads.  He went on to say that each district had a backhoe assigned and one of the jobs of the backhoes was to replace pipes on the dirt roads.  He stated his department would no longer be replacing pipes on dirt roads; this job was to go back to the district itself.
     andrews noted that seemed unfair to him because of the difference in miles in the districts.  He noted that Districts 1 & 3 had more miles than other districts and it was not right that he should have to do all the work in his district.  (Note at the last commission meeting andrews had an entourage show up at the meeting complaining that they wanted andrews only to take care of their dirt roads now he’s on hand complaining that he’s going to be required to do his own work.  Can’t have it both ways).
     Mr. Foshee told andrews the commission body had purchased an excavator to be used in the dirt pit selected by the body to be used and Andrews did not comply, instead he kept his backhoe in a local pit near his home and loaded his truck from it.
     There was a fairly heated exchange of words between Foshee and andrews with andrews stating he did his own pipes and culverts.  Foshee told he that was an untruth and he would not be doing anymore culverts/pipes on dirt roads in District 3.  Again andrews made some excuse about having more dirt roads than anyone else and getting no help.  He also called Mr. Foshee a liar about the pipe installation situation.
     (I’ve proven on more than one occasion that Andrews is not truthful so when it comes down to who’s lying and whose not, it’s hard for me to remotely imagine   
 andrews being truthful).
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Brown informed the commission she had an invoice and a change order for their review.  She noted the invoice was from the Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore rep. that was to be in each month to cover a portion of paperwork.  This rep has only been in once since November and states she must have training on the new software to perform her job.  Ms. Brown has been covering all aspects of the paperwork during this person’s absence.  The auditor has requested Ms. Brown train her and pay her an additional $250.00 for this training.
     The county has been paying a cost of $2,600.00 plus per month for the efforts Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore’s representatives have put forth. 
     A brief discussion ensued as to why we were keeping Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore on the payroll.  A motion was made to do away with their services and passed by unanimous vote.
     Chairman Millender tasked the county attorney with taking care of the contractual matters.
 
County Attorney:
      Attorney Bishop told the commission body that state legislature had passed a statue whereby the county must ask for inputs from other energy style companies and hold a public hearing.  This is a result of the recent talks with Mr. Harris of Schneider Electric about possible improvements and upgrades for the counties energy systems.
 
Commissioner Comments and Announcements:
     Commissioner Campbell had a question as to why two dirt pits were in use.  Why doesn’t everyone use the pit with the excavator?
     Commissioner Riley asked who the point of contact is for the County Handbook currently being worked on.
     andrews addressed the fact that a new merit board be appointed.
 
News Media:
     I addressed the high cost of repairs for the back hoe in District 3.  I noted that I frequently checked the Monthly Expense Report by District and the backhoe in District 3 was the most expensive backhoe in the county, constant maintenance on it is going outside the realm of what it should be.  I stated that I had no doubt the excess cost of upkeep on this piece of equipment was due to the abuse the District Three commissioner put on it by continually using it to load dump trucks.
   
     I also commended the commission body upon them taking action to get rid of that blood sucking blight known as Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore.  I noted they were hired in 2013 to do something the commission staff could do with a few strokes of a computer keyboard but andrews, with his coalition of weak willed minions, voted to toss county money out the window by hiring them.
 
 
Adjourn:  9:40 AM
 
 
 
 
 
VETERANS MONUMENT INFO:
 
     We have something new planned for our Veterans Monument and I’m excited about it.
     I’ve wanted to put something in place to acknowledge those unknown service members who’ve given their all and, even though we do not know their names, we can recognize their service.
     Through a generous donation from a donor who desires to remain anonymous, we now have that capability.
     We are jumping through hoops now to have this in place by Memorial Day, 29 May 2017, and with a little luck, it will be there.
 
     This update is also aimed at letting everyone know that if you need a name added to the monument, now is the time.  I’ve made arrangements with the monument company handling our “stuff” now to have any new names in place by Memorial Day.  It seems this is that special time of the year when veterans, both living and passed, weigh heavy on the mind.
     Applications are available from me, the radio station or almost any D.A.V. member.  Anyone needing an application can call me at 251 578 2177 or 251 230 1507 and I’ll get one to you.
     The earlier these applications are in, the earlier we’ll be able to plan and get those names added.
     Here is a copy of the application:
 
                    D. A. V.
              A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
 
THE ANDREW G. FAULK CHAPTER 72 DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS WOULD LIKE TO HONOR EACH AND EVERY VETERAN OF CONECUH COUNTY.  IF YOU ARE A VETERAN OR KNOW A VETERAN WHO’S NAME YOU WANT TO PLACE ON THE WALL YOU MAY DO SO BY COMPLETING THE FOLLOWING:
 ONLY HONORABLY DISCHARGED  
     VETERANS ARE ACCEPTED
 
VETERANS NAME_______________________________________________
 
BRANCH OF SERVICE____________RANK________________________
 
DATES OF SERVICE_____________________________________________
DID THIS VETERAN ACTUALLY SERVE IN A COMBAT WAR ZONE?  IF SO, DURING WHICH WAR____________WOUNDED?__LIST NUMBER OF TIMES.
WAS THIS VETERAN A PRISONER OF WAR?
 
COST PER NAME IS $200.00.
 
 
PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO:
D. A. V. CHAPTER 72
P. O. BOX 41
EVERGREEN, AL 36401
 
CONTACT NAME AND NUMBER FOR ANY QUESTIONS:
 
PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY
 
     Again, anyone desiring to place a name or names on the monument, please get the paperwork submitted soon as possible.
 
Thank you,
 
James Leon Windham
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Meeting 27 February 2017
 
     Call to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender, prayer offered by Commissioner Riley.
 
     Roll call showed all present except District Three Commissioner andrews.
 
Agenda: 
     The agenda was approved as printed.
 
Minutes: 
     Two sets of minutes from previous meetings were approved as read.
 
Payroll/Personnel:
     There have been no new hires this period however, there has been one separation, Mr. Ricky Wallace from the engineering department.
     There were 31 hours of overtime, all coming from the Sheriff’s department.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were no over the limit claims for this period.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:
     There were no representatives on hand at this meeting.  It was reported that the colors for both the exterior and interior were approved at a meeting held 20 February.
 
Schneider Electric:
     Mr. Keith Harris reported to the commission body that his company was prepared to move forward but it would require a motion from the commission before this action could be taken. 
     He recapped that the anticipated savings of 1.4 million dollars over a 20 year period was in the balance.  Mr. Harris also reiterated that his company will handle all aspects of the financing for this project, it is designed to be a “0” dollar budget item.  After going into operation, the savings will be ample enough to offset the cost.
     Motion to move forward offered by Commissioner Campbell, seconded by Commissioner Byrd and passed by unanimous vote.
 
District 3 Concerned Citizen Report:
     A group of residents from the Sandcutt area of District 3 requested agenda time to bring forth their concerns about another districts motorgrader doing their dirt roads.  Mr. Rex Wilcox acted as the spokesperson for the 10 or so people on hand.
     The concerns raised were, they felt they had no say in the upkeep of their road considering they lived in a different district and they had no input or vote for the Commissioner assigned to upkeep their roads.  They demanded the roads be returned to andrews for upkeep.
     Among other concerns, the lawfulness of assigning road sections from District 3 to District 5 for upkeep came into play.
     County Engineer Foshee attempted to explain the reasoning behind the scheduling of roads to other districts was a “save the county money” move.  He explained that there are approximately 400 total miles of dirt road in the county but the mileage of the dirt roads are not equally distributed by district.  By doing an equal distribution of mileage as to the number of motorgraders needed, the county saves almost ¼ million dollars in motorgrader cost and eliminates the need to continue the upkeep and maintenance on that same motor grader.
     County Attorney Bishop informed the group that nothing illegal had been done in making this move.  He quoted from the Code of Alabama the authority and duties of the commission body.
     The group did not seem to be satisfied with the answers they were receiving and, with a vow to come back to the meetings until they got their way, departed.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Foshee had nothing new to share with the commission body.
 
County Administrator:
1.    Ms. Stephanie Brown advised the commission body the termite control contract was due renewal next month (March).  Lewis Pest Control currently holds the contract.  A motion was made and passed to renew the contract with Lewis Pest Control.
2.     The state wide road cleanup program is scheduled for 15-25 April.  The questioned posed is, does Conecuh wish to participate?  It was noted that Conecuh has participated in the past and intends to do so this time around.  Engineer Foshee will make contact with the fire departments and furnish them with trash bags as well as coordinate with them for trash pickup during those dates.
3.     The 1% tax pledged to the Cooperative District for the Shrimp Basket and food store amounts were announced.  Total pay over to the Co-op District equaled $7,112.++
4.     Ms. Brown informed the commissioners that DHR was requesting they be allowed to let Red Cross to utilize a room in their building.  There will be no keys or access allowed to the Red Cross, they must operate during the normal working hours of the DHR.  This request was approved.
5.     It was announced that some departments are over budget at this particular stage.  This is approximately half way through the fiscal year and measures must be taken to correct this situation.  A need for a special meeting in March was noted and it was determined to add a budget meeting to that special meeting on 20 March at 10 AM.
6.     In conjunction with the budget special meeting,  an update to the county website will be discussed.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Bishop had nothing to add during the regular meeting.
 
Executive Session:
     An executive session was called for to discuss matters of commerce and trade.
     Executive session approved by unanimous voice vote.
     Executive session started 9:50 AM
     Regular session reconvened 10:05 AM.
 
Commissioner Comments:
     Chairman Millender recapped a recent meeting with our lobbyist in Montgomery on 22 February.
 
News Media:
     No comments.
 
 
Motion to Adjourn approved at 10:10 AM
 
 
 
 
 
Oil Funds for February 2017…..$253,057.47
 
Conecuh County Commission Meeting
 
     Called to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender.  Prayer offered by Commissioner Riley followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
     Roll Call showed all members present. 
 
     Chairman Millender noted the agenda had already been approved but stated he had been approached by Larry Ryland asking if he could possibly gain a position on the agenda.  andrews of District 3 made a motion that Ryland be denied permission to be placed on the agenda however his motion died after lack of a second.  Commissioner Riley made a motion to allow Ryland on the agenda and it was seconded by Commissioner Campbell.  Motion passed by a 4-1 vote with andrews voting nay.
 
     Minutes from the 23 January regular meeting and the 30 January Special called meeting were approved as published.
 
Payroll/personnel report:
     There has been 2 new hires and no separations.  113 hours of overtime was reported as follows:  Sheriff’s Department, 96; Jail, 8; District 1, 5 and Engineering 4.
     Payroll/personnel report approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims approval:
     Under the general fund limit of $500.00 two claims needed approval and under the gasoline fund limit of $3,000.00, three claims required approval.  A motion to pay the bills was made and passed by unanimous vote.
 
Resolution Presentation:
     Ms. Ruby Straughn recently retired from the Commission Office as Payroll/Personnel clerk.  She was presented with a plaque containing the resolution thanking her for her 10 years and 9 months service to the county.
     Ms. Straughn responded with a brief speech thanking the office personnel and the commissioners for their help and understanding during her time there.
 
 Conecuh Safe Room:
     One of the architects from the safe room project advised the commission body that it was time to pick the color of the brick for the safe room.  He had several samples available for selection.  Commissioner Riley said he would like some time to analyze and check before he made his selection.  He asked if the architect could remain until after the meeting so the options could be studied more. 
     Chairman Millender pointed out that no decision on which pattern to use could be made until another meeting.  With that said, there will be a meeting next Monday, 20 February 2017 at 10 AM to make this determination.
 
     Ms. Cindy Knowlton and Ms. Karla Robinson came before the commission body to speak on the Conecuh County Youth Extension Program.  The spoke of representing both Conecuh and Monroe counties in these endeavors.  They noted that a calf show was currently scheduled for the 27 whereby the young FFA will be showing off their skills.
 
     Mr. Tim Covin, concerned citizen dealing with our agricultural inclined youth spoke to the commissioners informing them how the various programs in the county have grown in size and participation and asking them to consider helping to establish a “show facility” area whereby the youth would have a place to present their animals.  Mr. Coving stated that a little over 9 acres had been made available by the Board of Education.  It is located on the south side of town on the drive going to the old Gerber Building.  He noted he had already received money and pledges from several companies and residents but was still shy on all the money needed. 
     Chairman Millender noted the commission would give all consideration possible.  Covin is to return to the special call meeting of 20 February for further discussion.
 
     Ms. Sherry Atkins approached the commission with questions about funding for the Board of Education and how this money had been earmarked for upgrading of facilities at South Side.  Chairman Millender told Ms. Atkins that the money had not been earmarked for South Side but was giving as the counties portion of upkeep and building requirements, the commission did not and could not dictate how these funds were spent. 
 
     Mr. Larry Ryland advised the commission that the City of Evergreen would be involved in a nationwide effort to do a Bi-centennial Celebration to be held over the course of the next 3 years.  Celebration to start on 3 March  He extended an invitation from the city for the county to join in this celebration.
 
EMA Directors Report:
     Mr. Johnny Brock informed the commission he had applied for two grants and both had been approved.  One deals with a generator for the Lyeffion Water System and  the other deals with camera repairs at the Government Center.
     He also told the commission that he had placed in his budget funds to cover different trips, training and educational situations for his job.  He advised that trip to Washington D. C. was scheduled for 25 February-2 March.  He also noted a conference to be held in Prattville on 14-16 March.  The commission approved for him to attend these functions.
 
County Engineers Report:
     Mr. Winston Foshee presented a request from a citizen to close what has been a public road.  The road meets all the requirements necessary for closing.  It was noted that public notice be given and a public hearing be held prior to any action.  The advertising will be placed in the paper and a public hearing will be held at the next meeting.  This involves the Glenn Lanier Road in District 3.
     He also noted his intentions to move forward with the 4 year road resurfacing program as laid out.  C. R. 85 is on the schedule now and C. R. 26 (Flat Rock Road) will be next inline.
 
County Administrator:
      Ms. Stephanie Brown reported on several maintenance problems that have been looked into.  The David Burt Building needs a new rooftop heat pump at a cost of $12,322.00.  A/C repairs for the Court House in the form of $1,396.80 and $1,149.78 were also approved.
     Ms. Brown noted that it was time to approve the amount of travel pay.  She presented two different rates and the commission settled on the amount of $0.53.5 per mile.
     Ms. Evelyn Hall had volunteered to go on the DHR Board at the last meeting but has determined she has a conflict of interest and will be unable to serve.  Mr. Tim Covin was in the audience and offered his services to fill the position.  A mad rush to get a motion, second and vote ensued and, congratulations to Mr. Covin for stepping up the bat.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop had been tasked at the last meeting with preparing a resolution dealing with county paid for notary publics and their duties.  It was determined that if the notary’s were only using their stamp for office business they would be asked to turn their stamps in.  Mr. Bishop presented his resolution to the commission where it met with unanimous approval.  Chairman Millender advised that a memo be sent to all Department Heads.
     Mr. Bishop addressed a request from the hospital that was made at the last meeting.  The request dealt with the commission co-signing or securing a loan for the hospital.  Mr. Bishop has determined the request is in order and can be honored by the commission body
    
Executive Session:
     Chairman Millender asked for a voice vote to move into executive session to discuss General Reputation and Character.  Approved by all.
Executive Session begins:  10:15
Executive Session ends      10:45
 
No Commissioner Announcements
 
News Media:
     Jim Allen, Monthly View, spoke on the loan guarantee for the hospital.  He asked how much the loan was for, response, $750,000.00.
 
 
Adjourn:  10:50 AM
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lawsuit Filed
 
     At a called 10 AM press conference on 6 January attorney’s Tommy Chapman and Richard Nix announced they had filed a lawsuit against Castleberry Chief of Police Tracy Hawsey and the town of Castleberry.  They also left maneuvering room to add additional defendants.
 
     Currently they are representing 7 plaintiffs but this number may increase.  Only two of the current plaintiffs are residents of Alabama.  Other plaintiffs reside in Georgia, Virginia and Florida.
 
      Each of the plaintiffs were stopped in Castleberry for some infraction of the law, this stop resulted in their vehicles being  seized based on an ordinance passed by the Town of Castleberry in December, 2015.  (See ordinance at end of story).  Each of these car seizures were reportedly done as a result of them being used for drug transportation requiring the people to pay a fee of $500.00 to get their vehicles back.  
 
     The lawsuit alleges that Sheriff Hawsey acted on an ordinance illegally passed by the town council and that in each arrest Sheriff Hawsey acted improperly in seizing both vehicles and in some cases, money.  Claims on the confiscated money as per Chief Hawsey is, the money was used for or proceedings from illegal drug dealings or activity.
 
     In each lawsuit it is noted that typically no charges have been forthcoming against the individuals.
 
     It is further noted in the lawsuit that Chief Hawsey has remarked about several of the individuals on social media, otherwise known as Facebook.
 
     The plaintiff’s attorneys have asked for a declaratory judgment in this action.
 
 
     This lawsuit is a matter of public record and can be reviewed in its entirety at the Circuit Clerks office.
 
Castleberry Ordinance
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
January Oil Revenues:   $295,289.03.  Remember, this is split 50-50 with B. O. E.
 
Commission Meeting 23 January 2017
 
Call to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender, Commissioner Byrd offered the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll Call showed all members present.
 
The agenda and previous meetings minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report:
     There is one new hire in the commission office, one new hire for equipment operator 3. 
     Ms. Ruby Straughn retired from the commission office.  Ms. Monica Johnson separated from the jail’s medical department.
     There were 104 hours of overtime.  39 hours to the sheriff’s department, 45 hours to the jail, 4 hours to the animal shelter and 16 hours overtime in District.
     Motion to approve all passed by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were no claims over the statutory limits to be approved.
 
Safe Room Report:
     Ms. Cara Stallman, Grant Writer, informed the commission work is progressing on the safe room.  She had one invoice in the amount of $47,049.60 for approval.  These invoices must first be paid by the county and the money will be reimbursed from grant funds.
     Motion to pay invoice passed by unanimous vote.
 
Animal Shelter:
     Chief Impounding Officer Sid Lambert gave a report on the number of animal intakes and live releases for the previous year.
     Mr. Lambert asked if anyone was familiar with Maddie’s Fund.  He told the commission body and audience that it was a grant process available for animals in no kill shelters.
     Mr. Lambert also advised that last year he had applied for a grant and received $1,000.00.  The check is currently at Evergreen Veterinary Clinic.  One of the stipulations from the grant funds is, it cannot be put in the commission general fund.
     Commissioner Millender noted this is the Conecuh County Animal Shelter and any funding that comes to it must go into the county’s general fund.  This is about the 3 time this situation has been addressed with monies coming to the shelter.  Mr. Millender asked the county attorney to look into the rules and regs. of what must be done with the $1,000.00 funds.
     Mr. Lambert also informed the commission he was disappointed that no one from the commission had come by the shelter on Thursday and Friday as there were guest from Florida that came by and spent well over $1,000.00 on animals.  They are members of Sun Coast Rescue and are planning a return trip in February. 
     Commissioner Millender asked if they had signed a waiver form (available at the shelter)?  Mr. Lambert stated he had not filled out any waiver forms nor had he received any signatures.  Mr. Millender noted that it had been discussed in the past that anyone dealing with the shelter in any manner other than animal viewing/adoption should fill out a waiver form just in case something such as dog bite or falls caused a situation to crop up.
     Commissioner Riley stated he’d been in contact with an air conditioning company and they have agreed to look at the malfunctioning A/C unit in the animal shelter, give a cost and time estimate to get the unit repaired.  He asked permission to follow through with this action.  Permission granted.
 
Sheriff’s Report:
     Sheriff Brock brought the commission body up to speed on renovations being done to the jail now dealing with plumbing problems.  He advised the commission body that current lighting is inadequate and is a real problem.  It was noted that an energy consulting company is putting together some estimates for electrical upgrades for county buildings.
     Sheriff Brock was told to send out bid request and report on findings at a special called meeting scheduled for next Monday, 30 January 2017 at 9 AM.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee presented the commission body with a 4 year plan dealing with resurfacing and bridge repairs.
     He also advised he has put $50,000.00 into a stripping program.  This stripping is to be with paint and should last approximately 5 years per road.
     Mr. Foshee talked about the new state program ATRIP2 or DRIVEAL.  This is a state administrated program to increase the amount of funds made available to each county.  The proposal is to put a $.03 fuel tax increase on all gasoline/diesel products to raise this funding.
     After discussion the commission body voted to adopt a resolution to approve the fuel tax increase.
     Mr. Foshee noted the engineering/E-911building had termites.  Lewis pest control has offered a one-time treatment at a cost of $1,900.00.  A motion to do the treatment was made and passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown informed the commission body that the current (nonworking) camera system is not compatible with the incoming computer upgrade system.  She noted that she had received a quote of $4,540.00 to upgrade and get the camera security system operational.  A motion to allow this expenditure was passed by unanimous vote.
     The DHR board appointment was mentioned again.  General discussion, no one wanted to be on it.  Commissioner Millender stated Ms. Evelyn Hall had approached him volunteering to take the position if no one else came forward.  Ms. Hall’s appointment to the DHR board approved by unanimous vote.
     The auditing company has requested an office space whereby they will not be interrupted as frequently as now happens.  They suggested the old driver’s license office.  A motion and vote followed allowing them the requested office.
     It is noted that the county is paying for notaries in virtually every office space in the Government Center.  It has come to light that some of these notaries are charging fees when notarizing paperwork for citizens.  Nothing wrong with this provided monies are turned into the county general fund.
     It appears some notaries are charging and not turning in these funds.  This could lead to disciplinary action if it continues.
     It was also noted several notaries do not want to notarize anything outside their office spaces.  Discussion of this issue resulted in a motion being made that, if the notary is not going to notarize items, have their notary status revoked and their stamps turned in.  Passed by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown reminded the commissioners that no P. O.’s can be issued this week as the new Smartfussion Computer system is being intergraded.  Training will be conducted starting on 23 January and again on 30 January-3 February.
     The new employee replacing Ms. Straughn will start on 6 February.  Ms. Lee.
     Chairman Millender advised the commission body that overtime may become a norm until Ms. Lee can be brought up to speed.  He also noted Ms. Brown is doing work at home to keep the commission website up and noted that is her off time.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Bishop was tasked with doing a resolution dealing with the notary situation.
 
Commissioners Comments:
     Commissioner Riley encouraged everyone to help with getting the ATRIP2 fuel tax increase passed.
     Commissioner Millender advised that the public document policy was being looked at and an increase in cost is expected to be forthcoming.
 
Executive Session:
     An executive session was called for and approved.  Discussion of Commerce and Trade.
Start 10:05
Resume normal meeting 10:30.
 
News Media:  Nothing.
 
 
Adjourn: 10:30 AM 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Meeting 9 January 2017
 
Call to order by Chairman Millender who also gave the opening invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The agenda and both sets of previous minutes from meetings of 27 December 2016 and 3 January 2017 were approved as presented.
 
Payroll/personnel Report:
     No personnel changes noted.  There was 47.5 hours of overtime.  The sheriff’s department had 37.5 of that and the animal shelter received 8 hours of overtime due to having to work the holiday.
     Ms. Ruby Straughn informed the commission body that there had been a reduction in the cost of insurance premiums due to the county meeting all goals set by the insurance company.  The final result is approximately $2,000.00 in savings on premiums.
     Chairman Millender stated a special call meeting to conduct interviews for the payroll/personnel clerk position needed to be scheduled.  Primarily the meeting will be held in executive session.  There are 3 candidates for the position.
     Special Call meeting scheduled for 17 January at 9 AM.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were 2 claims over the $500.00 limit in the general fund.
     There was 1 claim over the $3,000.00 limit in the gasoline fund. 
     Chairman Millender asked for a motion to pay the bills except for 1 of the general funds claims.  He desires to do further review on the $5,000.00 invoice.  Motion to approve claims with the exception of the $5,000.00 was approved by unanimous vote.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:
     There will be a ground breaking ceremony on site after the meeting.
 
EMA Director:
     Mr. Johnny Brock announced that, as per each year, state EMA awards a $5,000.00 fund to Conecuh because Conecuh has a CERTIFIED EMA director on hand.  Only thing needed to get these funds is a signature from the chairman and turn it in.  (Thank you Johnny for working to conserve and get extra money for our county.  Most folks don’t see the good job you do).
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee informed the commission a bid opening is scheduled for 9:30 AM.
     Mr. Foshee told the commission body the dirt pit previously known as the D. W. McMillan plant is under new ownership.  He stated nothing has changed in any manner other than a name change.  The new company is honoring the old contract.
     Mr. Foshee noted there was some road damage from the extreme rains we encountered.  There is one bridge currently out.  Work to start on it soon.  He also noted a pipe had blown out on Sandcutt Road.  Repair material is being put in place today and it should be repaired by tomorrow.
     Mr. Foshee spoke on water line repairs by some of the rural water authority carriers.  Commissioner Riley asked if these rural water authorities paid for any road repairs when they had to dig up sections to repair leaks.  No firm answer.
     Bid opening for a van to use in transporting prisoners from Atmore to Conecuh for road cleanup. 
     Only one bid submitted.  Wolff Motor Company submitted a bid of $23,860.50 for a 2015 model 15 passenger van with approximately 23,000 miles on it.  It was deemed this van more than met the requirements of the county and a motion to approve the purchase was made and passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown advised the commission that the new software program will require the purchasing of a new laser printer ($595.00) and new laser print checks (1000 @ $200.00).  After short discussion, motion to purchase both the printer and checks passed by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown presented an invoice from the Auburn University group doing the update on the County Handbook.  This is the second invoice installment.  She noted the first invoice had not been paid.  After discussion a motion to pay both invoices in the amount of $13,419.00 was approved by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown noted that new appointments to the Human Resources Board have not been completed and problems existed in getting people to attend these meetings.  After some discussion Commissioner Riley stated he had one more person he wanted to talk to about placement on the board.  Decision to wait until next meeting was made.
     Ms. Brown spoke on the janitorial services.  For November and December $984.38 was spent on supplies and $1,759.00 was spent on salaries.  Same cost under the previous way of doing business was approximately $4,000.00.  Looks as if a good decision was made dealing with the janitorial services.
 
County Attorney:  Noting to report.
 
Executive session:   To discuss general reputation of character:
9:36 AM  By unanimous vote.
10:24 AM return by unanimous vote.
 
Commissioners comments:  None.
 
News Media:
     Mr. Jim Allen, Monthly View owner/publisher asked the commission about the payment for road repair payment when roads were torn up or disturbed by water authorities.  Popular answer; sometimes they pay, sometimes they don’t, depends on what’s in the contract.
 
 
Motion to adjourn at 10:29
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
City Council Meeting 3 January 2017
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Roll call showed all members present.  City Attorney was unavailable.
 
Minutes of previous meeting approved as read.
 
Mayor’s reports and comments:
     The new Piggly Wiggly grocery store will open tomorrow, 4 January 2017, at 7 AM.  A grand opening ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11 January.
     Subway is under construction and on track to open within the next 60 days.
     The Waffle House will be relocating next to KFC.
     Work to getting the new hotel here is still in progress. 
 
     It was noted that January 16 a MLK celebration will be held at the Depot.  Council person Davis will hold the opening remarks with Mr. Eric Ashford being the guest speaker.
 
Old Business:
1.     The residential waste collection contract ends as of 31 January.  Motion to renew contract was approved by unanimous vote. 
 The report of gross overbilling was not totally accurate.  An agreement with Allied Waste has resulted in a 50% reimbursement effective now and any rate increase being waived for the remained of this year. 
  As of 1 February a new cart survey will be conducted and used for the yearly billing cycle.  There is a $9.00 per ton tipping fee charged by Timberland.
 
2.     Item 2 added by Council person Caylor dealing with discussing and posting an ad for the City Clerk position.  No action and no discussion taken on this issue.
 
 
New Business:
1.     Evergreen Police Chief Simpson request to attend AACOP Winter Conference in Montgomery 23-26 January 2017 was approved unanimously.  Total cost to the city, $800.00.
2.     An ordinance (2017-0103-01) to open a bank account to be titled “Court Corrections Fund” was offered by Interim City Clerk Mike Hinson.  Motion to accept by Council person Upton and seconded by Council person Skinner, passed by unanimous vote.
3.     A fireworks program for July 4 celebration was approved by unanimous vote after being forwarded by Council person Upton and seconded by Council person Skinner.
4.     The superintendent of the electrical department offered a Southern Pine agreement for Middleton Field dealing with a primary meter point.  This is done so Middleton Field can buy wholesale electricity from Southern Pine to accommodate the need for added outlets and other electrical needs during sponsored events at the airport.
  Currently if a transformer is needed at Middleton a charge to put it up and take it  down ensues.  Cost for this meter base is $135.00 per month and it eliminates the need for Southern Pine to install a temporary transformer.
 
5.     Mr. Bobby Skipper requested an off premise liquor license approval for Mac Package store.  Motion to approve by Council person Upton seconded by Council person Skinner.  Approved unanimously.
 
Accounts Payable:
     All invoices approved unanimously.
 
Adjourn:  6:18
 
 
Next Meeting Tuesday, 17 January 2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Meeting 27 December 2016
 
     Call to order by Chairman Millender at 9 AM.  Invocation offered by Commissioner Riley, followed by the pledge of allegiance.
 
     Roll call showed all members on hand with the exception of District One Commissioner Campbell.  (He arrived at 9:50 AM).
 
     The agenda was approved with one amendment; to discuss and approve the updated Payroll Clerk job description.
 
     The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
   
     There were no personnel changes in the payroll/personnel report however, 5 hours of overtime needed approval.  1 hour to the jail and 4 hours to District 2.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
     Claims Approval:  There were no outstanding over the limit claims requiring approval.  Motion to approve claims passed by unanimous vote.
 
Community Action Director:
     Mr. Kris Rowe, Executive Director for Community Action for a 7 county area to include Conecuh, addressed the commission.  He replaces Ms. Boykin who retired recently.
     Mr. Rowe noted that both Wilcox and Conecuh Counties were the poorest counties in the 7 county district under his management.  He also stated that monetary help was allocated on population meaning Conecuh will be at the low end of the totem pole. 
     Mr. Rowe pointed out that persons with zero income that apply for benefits must also submit a notarized statement with their request.  It was noted that the Government Center has several notaries available and they could notarize paperwork at no charge to the applicant.
     Mr. Rowe stated there are some funds available to help pay energy bills.  He noted there are two periods of high need and thus explained there are emergency funds available now for heating assistance.  Cooling assistance becomes available in May.
Conecuh County is in receipt of $170,000.00 of assistance funds.
     He assured each application will be reviewed and help will be given as warranted.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:
     Grant Writer Cara Stallman advised the commission body that the new contractor was prepared to move forward.  She also noted that a new sales tax exemption form be issued to the contractors to curtail taxes on material and items.  This request was immediately approved by the commission.
     The start date for the new contractors is to be 3 January.  Picture opportunities for the commissioners will be 9 January after the morning meeting. 
     The placing of a plaque was discussed and after deliberation it was determined the previous and current commission bodies should have a plaque with their names on it placed at the safe room location.  It was also determined that, considering the City of Evergreen was the responsible body for getting this grant, a plaque with their names on it should also be put in place.  When placed in the form of a motion this measure passed by unanimous vote.
     andrews made a remark that the pictures and plaques were overdue and it was about time the commission got some positive press recognition.  Much as andrews’ under the breath remark at another meeting, Mr. Jim Allen stated “you get what you deserve.”
     Ms. Stallman advised the commission that the CDBG application for water system funding had not been approved for this year.  She requested permission to apply next year.
 
     The county extension service, EMA director and county engineer were on the agenda but had no representation there.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown noted she was in receipt of a letter from the state dealing with upcoming foul weather holiday tax exemption.  The state recognized non-tax days will be February 24-26.  The commission body voted unanimously to make those dates the counties tax exempt days also.
     Ms. Brown addressed some problems with email and servers.  It seems the old company, Premiss, does not want to cooperate with the new, incoming company.  Premiss is holding up emails at the server and not releasing them.  It was determined to make one more attempt at getting Premiss to gracefully step aside and if not, Intec, the incoming company, will do an override and recover the counties system.
     Ms. Brown noted that most of the bodies involved in the merit board nominations have completed their nominations.  Commissioner Riley asked the commission body to hold off until the next meeting, if possible, before voting on the merit board nominations.  It was determined that the merit board would be addressed at the next meeting on 9 January.
     Ms. Brown informed the commission there is a vacancy on the DHR board.  Ms. Hall had informed the chairman that, should no one else desire the position, she would volunteer for it.  It was determined this issue would be addressed at the next meeting.
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
     Chairman Millender asked for a motion to approve on a new job description for the position of payroll/personnel clerk.  He noted the merit board was to meeting this morning and he personally would like for them to get the new job description for evaluation.  Motion to approve met with unanimous approval.
     Commissioner Riley announced he would be furnishing a New Year’s dinner for the commissioners, county employees, members of the press and others.  This dinner will be held at the Boykin Cabin this Saturday at 11 AM.
 
News Media Comments:
     Monthly View owner and editor, Jim Allen, offer some advice on the computer email problems.
Executive Session:
     An executive session was on the agenda to discuss pending litigation and general reputation and character.
     A voice vote was held with all members voting yes to go into executive session.
Start 9:35
End 10:28 with a return to regular session.
 
Chairman Millender noted there would be a budget review meeting after the next scheduled meeting and E-911 meeting.  This will happen on 9 January with time TBA.
 
There will be a special call meeting of E-911 at 9 AM on 3 January.
 
 
Motion to adjourn:  10:30 AM   
  
 
 
 
 
 
Controversy Ends???
 
     After all the back and forth, tit for tat about johnny lying andrews’ foul language usage and name calling during the course of the very first meeting of the newly elected commissioners and his denial of having used said language it comes down to who has creditability.
     I, James Leon Windham claim that creditability considering I finally received a certified true copy of the commission recorder used during that meeting and guess what?  After all that denial, fan fail and bluster on the part of lying andrews, right there on that recorder at 1 hour, 6 minutes and 24 seconds into the recording one can hear his hateful voice calling me a B*st*rd.  Hard to fake his voice and even harder to fake the other voices on the recording.
     How many times must I say District 3 messed away their opportunity for some class elected representation and instead sent as near nothing as I’ve ever seen in a human body.
     Lying andrews and his actions warrant a serious censure and I would go so far as to say impeachment.  Let’s list the different ways this should be looked at:
1.       A total lack of respect for the office he holds, himself or the people of the county he represents.
2.       Conduct unbecoming that of an elected official.
3.       Shame and embarrassment to the entire county governing board.
4.       No sense of decorum, if he loses his temper and attacks a citizen in the manner he attacked me at the meeting what will he do at other meetings out of the area should someone dare face up to him.
5.       If he will LIE about this instance with the gross of witnesses in the commission chambers, how can he be trusted to be truthful in any other endeavor? 
6.       What else will he LIE about?
     I have personally seen spoiled children with better control of their emotions than that which lying andrews displays and that’s just what he reminds me of.  His drunken, bullying stranglehold that he held over the commission seems to have gone the way of losing politicians, a good thing for all.
     I personally encourage the voters of District 3 to rethink what they did by re-electing him.  If anyone is interested in how to impeach an elected official I will gladly share with you any information I have.
 
 
     Something to remember in the meantime, integrity is much like virginity, once lost it cannot be regained.  By my though, lying andrews has no intergrity. 
 
     After digesting what I’d posted about lying andrews and his lying ability I thought it only fair that I show the readers another angle of attack lying andrews tried on Jim Allen, Monthly View owner and editor.  Remember this was on a video made by Kent Hovind, A. K. A. Dr. Dino, a personality lying andrews is responsible for bringing to our fair county.  Ask lying andrews to provide proof of anything he’s said in the video.
 
     Here is a link to Jim’s Web site and to the issue of The Monthly View that caused the video response.  That video is also available on the web site.  I highly suggest you read and listen to all. 
     Sorry I don't have a hot link but you can cut and paste the web address in your browser.
 
http://themonthlyview.home.mindspring.com/features.htm
 
http://themonthlyviewstorage.home.mindspring.com/paper.pdf
 
 
 
 
 
Lying andrews or Can’t Face Reality
 
I started this story after the commission meeting of 28 November therefore you’ll see some discrepancies in dates.  I’m working to finish it up now after andrews latest fiasco.
 
     Why would I make a statement that andrews can’t face reality?  Simple, he’s had his own way for so long he thinks he’s in charge of everything.  I still stand by my statement that he’s the worst thing that could happen to Conecuh County.  Yesterday, 28 November 2016, proved to me that johnny andrews must live in another world where reality doesn’t exist except in his head.  
     
     If you’ll check my previous commission report of 16 November and the rant following it you’ll notice how I reported on andrews calling me a bastard during the course of the meeting.  Also note I reported I had not heard him call me that and only realized it after another person in the audience told me of it, in fact 3 or 4 people told me of it.  After getting home and listening to my recording of the meeting sure enough, it was there.  Not only that, it was repeated in the story from the Evergreen Courant.
 
     What makes this wrong?  How about the fact that’s a county commissioner acting in that manner during a commission meeting, would this be the type of representation you would like to have?  Have you ever heard the term “conduct unbecoming?”  How about the fact there are women and children in the audience?  There are enough “how about’s” where we could fill a page with them but I’ll stop there.
 
     I came before the commission body and asked that andrews apologize to the women and children in attendance.  After years of dealing with him and his obnoxious, arrogant and inflated ego he actually surprised me when he responded with “prove it.”    Think about this now, a room full of people, 3 recorders going and four other commissioners there and I need to provide proof.  You would thinkthe commission body, our elected officials, would be embarrassed  enough tostand up on the side of decency and tell andrews they heard it too, most especially Commissioner Campbell who personally told me he’d never been talked to in the manner andrews talked to him after the meeting.  It must have had an impact on him, I noted he’d changed his sitting position at the meeting table and now has someone sitting between him and andrews, unlike at the previous meeting.  Needless to say, not one commissioner hadthat decency in them, I assume they must approve of his actions.  The shame of it is, given the opportunity to stop andrews reign of waste, they relegate themselves to a corner and sit on their hands.  Somehow I get the impression it’s going to be a long 4 years for someone, maybe me, maybe them, maybe the citizens.
 
     andrews did voice an objection to my shirt saying it was a personal attack on him.  Of course this is the same person that told me, via a recorded phone message, that I didn’t have the right to drive on HIS road, C. R. 7.  The same person that filed a false police report and had me arrested only to have everything thrown out.  That was the time folks had the opportunity to see his true self coming out, he couldn’t take the fact that he couldn’t have me prosecuted on his phony charges.  He was so outraged at the City Prosecutor for not pursuing them he actually called the mayor insisting he have the charges reinstated or fire the prosecutor.  That didn’t work so he went up the legal chain of command trying to have me charged with a variety of things.  He carried this one all the way to the FBI.  What was the result?  andrews is a looser.
 
     he ran a personal vendetta against me during his first term in office and was willingly helped by two of the “weak willed (no backbone) commission members.”  Just to get at me he went the route of being so petty and cheap he orchestrated the loss of my wife’s job, again with the help of his minions falling in line when it came to a vote.
 
     I blame andrews and his cheap pawn, former commissioner cook, for the legal problems that have plagued me over these past few years.  That battle is almost run and will soon come to rest then it’ll be my turn.  Sure seems odd their chief witnessagainst me is facing statutory rape charges for having relations with a 14 year old girl.  They fed him money and protection for a long time but now he appears to be last week’s news to them.
 
     Are you starting to see why I say andrews has a problem facing reality?  Perhaps it’s that homemade booze he’s rumored to imbibe in.
 
     This is the ending point for the first portion of my rant.  Now on to bigger and better.
 
     I should probably rename this article to something such as; “You want some cheese with that whine” or something similar.
 
    I dwelled on and analyzed andrews “prove it” statement and determined that I was not going to attempt to provide anything that would even come close to dignifying his stupid actions.  Therefore I sat in the audience at the commission meeting taking notes to prepare my report. 
 
     andrews couldn’t leave well enough alone.  When it came to the agenda portion for commissioners announcements and comments he did a personal confrontation toward me wanting me to furnish proof.  I stood and responded that I’d elected not to worry about providing proof, he knew what he had done and it was obvious he was not man enough to accept responsibility and issue the proper document of apology.  I told him numerous people in the audience, including some on the commission body had heard him and now knew him for the liar he is.  I noted it had actually been reported in the local paper.  At that time lying andrews directed his wrath at Evergreen Courant reporter Lee Peacock, accusing him of publishing a lie in the paper.  Mr. Peacock quickly and hotly responded that he had heard him call me a bastard and named others that had heard him.  Mr. Peacock flat stated he would take a lie detector test to prove his trustworthiness and invited lying andrews to do the same.  I worked to calm Mr. Peacock down telling him not to sink to lying andrews depth, I told him there’s only one letter difference between hero and zero and we all knew where lying andrews stacked up.
     Lying andrews then turned his ire on the commission chairman telling him it was all his fault because he allowed me on the agenda last meeting to seek that apology and now, today (12 December 2016), he had allowed me to wear THAT shirt.  He was referring to my Gone But Not Forgotten R.I.P. motor grader shirt that I had specially made in remembrance of his non-needed, wasted county money expense of the 2 motor grader he’d finagled in getting in 2013.  For those not in the know, the new commission body voted at their very first meeting (11 November 2016) to return to the former, each motor grader takes care of 80 miles of dirt road regardless of district.  This dictated each district have only grader per district requiring lying andrews to give up the 2 motor grader.
     Chairman Millender regained control of lying andrews and proceeded with the meeting.
     When it came to the agenda time for news media comments I rose, addressed the chairman with a question about oil funding and a contract that had been renewed.  I then asked exactly what lying andrews had meant about he “allowed” me to wear MY shirt.  Mr. Millender said he’d not heard andrews’ statement but quickly advised me that he did not have the authority to dictate what I wore.  I thanked him for that statement and went about my business.
     Not 5 minutes later lying andrews was observed accosting Chairman Millender in the hall way where he was giving him down the road again for allowing me on the agenda, allowing me to wear THAT shirt and accused me of calling him a P.O.S.
     Poor Mr. Millender.
     I actually thought I saw tears at the corner of andrews’ eyes, I wonder if he needs some cheese to go with that whine.
 
     One word of advice for lying andrews, time you grew up boy, as witnessed by the votes of the other commissioners you no longer have the stranglehold on the commission you once had and yes, lying andrews, you are no longer in charge.
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Report 12 December 2016
 
Call to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender, invocation offered by Engineer Foshee followed by the pledge.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
An amendment to the proposed agenda was offered by Chairman Millender.  Dr. John Johnson from Coastal Gateway asked to be placed on the agenda to deal with economic development.  Motion to approve the amended agenda was passed by unanimous vote.
 
Previous meeting minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/personnel report:
     A report of 2 losses from the county payroll was announced.  One from the maintenance department and one from the jail.  There were 41 hours of overtime:
Sheriff’s department 6 hours; jail 3 hours; animal shelter 8 hours and engineering department 24 hours.  (This was a result of call-outs). 
     Motion to approve offered by andrews, seconded by Commissioner Riley and passed by unanimous vote.
 
It was noted that the engineers contract was overdue for approval and his new contract is prepared.  Motion to approve the new contract by Commissioner Byrd, seconded by Commissioner Campbell, passed by unanimous vote.
 
Claim approval:
     There was one claim over the $500.00 limit in the general fund. 
     There were 2 over the limit claims of $3,000.00 in the gasoline fund.  $7,307.00 for a replacement trailer for district 3.
     An invoice in excess of $7,700.00 from Baldwin County juvenile detention facility was submitted to cover the cost of Conecuh County juveniles.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:  No report available.
 
Revenue Commissioner:
     Mr. Jimmy Bell came before the commission body asking that an annual GIS contract be signed by the Chairman.  Cost to the county $5,000.00.  This was approved by unanimous vote.
 
Gateway Coastal:
     Dr. Johnson talked of a new business coming to Evergreen.  Portland Outdoors will be moving into the old Spec building.  This deal has already been negotiated by the city.  The county is being asked to do some “in kind” work to assist the new company in getting the building repaired.  The tasking deals with installing loading docks and doing driveway repairs.  This company has assured a minimum of 15 jobs.
     Motion to approved passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Foshee reported that he had been tasked with checking on van prices at the last meeting.  The van is to be used to transport trustees from Atmore to Conecuh to help with road cleanup and beautification.  He reported on a 10 passenger van on the state bid list.  He also noted that Wolff motors has a larger van for $23,500.00.  This van has 23,000 miles on it.  After discussion it was determined the engineer should write up the specs needed for the van, advertise for bids and in January bids will be opened and see where things lead.
 
     Mr. Foshee talked of the dirt road list and procedures that had been agreed upon to add or delete roads from the list.  He reported he had been approached by a resident asking that a road be added.  This is a 1/10 mile dirt road off the Appleton Road.  There are 3 houses on this road before it dead ends.  After discussion a motion to accept this as a county road passed by unanimous vote.
     Engineer Foshee announced the road departments Christmas party was to be held 22 December.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown reported she was in receipt of an invoice from ACCA dealing with insurance premiums for the county.  Total cost of all coverages comes to $180,122.00 per year.  It was further discussed that the county has a $1,000.00 deductible on vehicles and with the number of accidents as of late it could be advantageous to seek a lower deductible.  Motion to approve passed by unanimous vote.
     An IDA general liability policy was approved at a cost of $5,000.00 to the county.
 
     A short discussion about the need to hire a payroll/personnel clerk to replace Ms. Straughn when she leaves ensued.  It was noted the job description was being rewritten for the job and the current intention was to advertise “in house” for a replacement.
 
     Ms. Brown pointed out that she had not received all the nominations needed for the merit board.  Chairman Millender requested permission to extend the time frame for merit board appointments to the last Friday before the next meeting and these appointments will be discussed at the next meeting.  Permission granted to extend. 
 
     Mr. Gary Jones with Premises Hardware System offered a proposal to take care of the counties hardware system to include regular maintenance and an on call, as needed basis at a cost of $720.00 per month.  When asked, Ms. Brown recommended this contact be approved.  This was approved by unanimous vote.
 
     Ms. Brown advised that the counties computer system needed an antivirus protection plan.  She had a quote of $30.00 per machine per year.  There is a total of 30 machines.
 
     Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore accounting firm offered the county a new contract for 1 year.  Cost will be $2,675.00 per month.  This was approved unanimously.
 
     The county sales tax pledge to the city dealing with the Liberty Hill project was presented.  A total of $3,546.50 for the Shrimp Basket and a total of $7,982.00 for the now defunct Food Depot was approved for payment to the City of Evergreen.
 
     The holiday schedule for 2017 was discussed next.  Ms. Brown presented the commission with a listing of legal holidays for the year.  Engineer Foshee discussed the leave period to be observed by the road department crews.  The road crews will shut down one week for Christmas and the 4 of July.  This may well require members of the road crews to take leave during this period.
 
     It was announced there will be a District meeting in Monroeville on 10 January.  This is a meeting among all commissioners in the 10 county districts Conecuh is assigned to.  Commissioner Millender stated he would be attending.
 
     The new commissioners are scheduled to attend class on 18, 19 and 20 January.
 
     On Friday, 16 December at 1 PM a meeting on the contract for the safe room will be held in the commission chambers.
 
 
County Attorney:  Nothing to add by Mr. Bishop.
 
Commissioners comments and announcements:
     At this time andrews spoke to me saying “Bring it on.”  I believe he was referring to the last commission meeting when he challenged me to bring “proof” that he had called me a bastard during the meeting.
     I responded that I had decided I would bring nothing to prove anything one way or another that he knew what he had done and was obviously not man enough to accept the fact he owed everyone in attendance an apology for his speech, action and behavior.  There was an entire audience and 4 other commissioners on hand when this happened.  At least 5 other people have come to me talking about it so there is no doubt it happened and for andrews to deny it only goes further to confirm the fact he is a liar and not to be trusted.
     Not to be outdone andrews turns on Evergreen Courant reported Lee Peacock telling him he had falsely reported the issue in the Evergreen Courant.  Not his best move as Mr. Peacock took offense at being called a liar and responded.  I worked to calm Mr. Peacock down telling him not to get sucked into andrews little scheme of trying to deflect stuff off himself and on to others.  I told Mr. Peacock there was only one letter difference between hero and zero and we all knew which one andrews represented.
     andrews turned his hateful wrath toward the commission chairman blaming him for the situation because I had been allowed on the agenda at the last meeting and telling the chairman that now he’d allowed me to wear that shirt back into the meeting.  He seemed to be referring to my motor grader shirt.
     Chairman Millender restored order and moved on.
 
     Chairman Millender noted that with Maintenance man Harpers resignation the court house had been left with no one to keep up the general handy man task.  Mr. Millender stated that former maintenance department member Willie Johnson had volunteered to help out for a period of time.  He further noted that the departments were not to contact Mr. Johnson directly but to either submit work orders to the administrator or go through her to schedule him.
     Commissioner Riley asked that a work session be scheduled to cover some of the items and issues left hanging out.  A motion was made and approved to hold a work session after the 9 January meeting.   
 
News Media Comments:
     I stated that the oil revenue income that had been posted on the chambers bulletin board was no longer being posted and asked if they could return to posting those figures again.  After a brief discussion it was approved to put the oil revenue figures back on the board.
 
     I also noted that anytime a contract is discussed/approved the amount of county investment is given.  The engineer was just awarded a new contract and I asked were there any changes to this contract, how long was the contract for and what was the money amount cost to the county.
     I received the following answers, there were no changes to the contract, it was a 3 year contract and they did not remember the figures as of this moment but would get them to me.
 
     I then noted that during andrews rant about how evil Mr. Peacock and I were he had made the remark to Mr. Millender that “he’d allowed me to wear that shirt.”  I asked Mr. Millender exactly what andrews had meant by that statement.  Mr. Millender stated that he had not heard andrews’ statement and did not know what I was talking about.  He further stated that he could not tell me what I could or could not wear, to which I thanked him.  (Stand up for those 1 amendment rights or they’ll go away, remember, you only have the rights you are willing to stand up and fight for).
 
 
Motion to adjourn: 10:02
 
 
 
 
 
Council Meeting 6 December 2016
 
Invocation by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The previous minutes were approved as written.
 
Mayor’s Report and Comments:
     The Christmas tree debacle was discussed.  Mayor Wolff stated the tree owner had been offered $500.00 for the tree but this did not satisfy them.  The issue has been turned over to the city’s insurance company.
 
New Business:
1.     Resolution to approve off premises beer and wine sales for Big Man Enterprises, LLC (Food Depot).  Received unanimous approval.
2.      Fire Department call outs and invoicing-  It was reported the city will take care of the truck maintenance.  Any money taken in will be for the department itself.
3.     All city employees will receive a one-time pay bonus.
4.     The annual Christmas party for city employees will be held Thursday, 15 December 2016 at 6 PM.
5.     Dr. Johnson of Coastal Gateway reported on a new business for the city.  Portland Outdoors LLC will be starting a business here in (hopefully) January 2017.  Dr. Johnson stated he had been contacted by Portland Outdoors looking for a 15,000 square foot building in Brewton.  He informed them no building of that status was available in Brewton, however there was one in Evergreen. 
After looking at the building Portland Outdoors found to be acceptable and the IDB granted them a lease for the building.  The business is expected to employ 20 people.
6.     Council person Davis of District 5 brought to attention to the appearance and maintenance of Magnolia Cemetery. 
A maintenance team was dispatched sometime back to clean the fence row around the cemetery.  During this cleaning process damage occurred to the fence itself with portions of it being pushed down.  As a result of this cleaning process some drains have become plugged and stopped up.  This seems to have encouraged rats, rodents and snakes to move into the neighborhood, unwelcome neighbors to those living in the surrounding area.
Mayor Wolff and Council person Upton are to take a look today, 7 December 2016, and see what can be done.
 
Ms. Davis also asked why the approval of the agenda item had been removed from the agenda.  Mayor Wolff, after consultation with city Attorney Hartley and the League of Municipalities, answered that he and he alone determined what went on the agenda therefore approval of the agenda was his and his alone and did not need to be listed.
7.    Ms. Davis asked the city to retain an electrical consultant to determine causes of extremely high electrical bills.
Mr. Ken McClain, a former Alabama Power employ of 30 years, was in the audience.  Mr. McClain is involved with the company that supplies the meters being used in electrical systems for the city.  He offered suggestions about the possibility of levelized billing.  Another suggestion was to hold classes, perhaps in the depot, that would teach users how to conserve energy.
It was noted that Evergreen allegedly has the cheapest electrical rates of any surrounding cities.
No determinations were made toward getting any consultant at this time.
 
 Grant writer Cara Stallman came before the council to request a 12 month extension on the safe room project due to bonding problems with the previous contractor.  After discussion the request was approved by unanimous vote.
Ms. Stallman also had an invoice of $4,000.00 dealing with the sewer project.  This project came in $15,000.00 under budget.  Motion to approve this invoice was approved unanimously.
 
Council person Davis voiced concerns about appointments to the South Alabama Gas Board of Directors.  She wanted to insure that appointments made by the council were legal and proper.  Attorney Hartley advised he had checked with the gas board attorney and all appointments were proper.  Ms. Davis asked if the gas board attorney could possibly forward a letter to that effect.
 
Council person Caylor asked when the position of City Clerk would be advertised.  It was noted this had been an issue discussed in the past and needed to be handled before the beginning of the year.
 
It was determined the council would hold a work session on 13 December 2016 to discuss requirements for the clerk prior to posting the position.
 
Council person Fountain stated that funding for the Hippy program has been cut from state funding and is in need of financial support.  She noted the city has supported Hillcrest band and football team in the past and asked why Hippy could not receive some of this funding.
Mayor Wolff asked current acting interim city clerk Hinson if the city would be able to donate $1,000.00.  This was answered in the affirmative.  
After discussion a motion was made to donate $1,000.00 to Hippy.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.
 
 
Adjourn:  6:40 PM
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Meeting 28 November 2016
 
Call to order by Chairman Millender at 9 AM.
 
Invocation offered by Commissioner Byrd followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved with one change.  Mr. Range with Work Force Development was added between #6 and #7 on the agenda.
 
The minutes of the previous meeting was approved as read.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report:
There were four part time new hire to handle custodial care of the Government Center.  One excavator operator was hired for the engineering department.
8.5 hours of overtime needed approval.  Commission Office 2.5 hours, Animal Shelter 4 hours and Sheriff’s department 2 hours.
 
Claims Approval:  No claims over the statutory limits.
 
There was no report available one the status of the safe room.
 
Before the next agenda item the chairman asked that there be no personal attack and hoped the item could be discussed in a decent manner.  As I approached the podium to speak andrews put in that the attire I was wearing was a personal attack and he objected.  He did not object so badly that he didn’t want a picture of it.
I spoke to the commission body of how I was embarrassed, disappointed and concerned with the actions and language used at the last commission meeting when andrews called me a bastard.  Please note this was done with both women and children in the audience.
I called upon andrews to have the decency to apologize to the ladies and children.  andrews would not allow me to speak without interruption even though the chairman pointed out to him that I had the floor.  Andrews demanded proof that he’d said that and it took me by surprise that he would even deny it considering it was said during a meeting with a large audience and the other commissioners there and was reported in the local Evergreen Courant.
When asked if he would be man enough to apologize his statement was he would CONSIDER apologizing only upon presentation of proof. 
I had anticipated this failure to apologize and told him I would furnish proof, I also told him that I had expected this obvious lack of manhood and knew he would not apologize.
Just so everyone can see what andrews took offense at:
 
   
 County Engineer Winston Foshee noted that at the last meeting it was determined that one of the counties dump trucks be sold and one of the motor graders also be sold.  Mr. Foshee noted that it had been recommended that Gov. Deals be the place for listing the sale of this equipment but he wished to change his recommendation and allow these items to be sold by Richey Brothers.  He stated that the recent bids submitted on the dump trucks put their value at approximately $122,000.00 and that would be set as the minimum bid.  Also, there will be no commission taken out so whatever it sells for, the entire amount will come back to the county.
Mr. Foshee recommends allowing Richie Brothers to set a fair market value on the motor grader and go with the price they set.
I has been determined that District 2 has the dump truck with the most hours and it will be the one sold.  Districts 3 and 4 have approximately 5,000 hours on their graders, District 2 approximately 7,600 hours and District 1 6,000 hours.  andrews stated he believed his grader had approximately 8,000 hours making it the high hour grader.  (Seems odd that the high hour motor grader came from District 3 where they ha(d) 2 motor graders.  Evidently one of them was not being utilized.)
Mr. Foshee asked that the high mileage/hours equipment be delivered to his office this PM.
Foshee also noted that it had been determined a portion of the proceeds be used to purchase a second side cutter.  He recommends purchasing the same style and name brand of the current cutter.  He asked to be able to move forward with an order for this side cutter.  When put to a motion, it passed unanimously. 
Mr. Foshee said he anticipated that 2 new side cutters would arrive in January or February.  His intentions are to continue working the 2 person crew now on hand and supplement them with the patching crew operating the second side cutter.  Anticipated cost for both tractor and side cutter $130,000.00.
Mr. Foshee noted he had received numerous complaints about the debris being cut and scattered when bush hogging.  A discussion of how to possibly cut back on this problem led back to getting trustees from Atmore prison and using them.  Mr. Foshee has already been in contact and getting 10 prisoners per day would not be a problem.  It will come with a cost to the county in that a $15.00 per day per prisoner will be charged.  There are set hours in which prisoners will be picked up and set hours for them to be back in the facility. There will be about 4 hours of travel time per day for prisoner pickup and return.
Mr. Foshee noted that if the commission body desired to do these pickups it would necessitate getting a more reliable van for transportation.  A motion to purchase another van was made and passed by unanimous decision.  It will also necessitate a full time person to cover these pickups and guarding the prisoners.
 
Next agenda item was Mr. Range from Work Force Development.  Mr. Range had come before the commission body a few months back to explain how the state was changing the work force status.  Currently the entire state is divided into 3 areas that get the work force funding.  The three districts consist of Mobile County, Jefferson County and the remaining 65 counties.  Plans are to divide the state into 7 districts of adjoining counties.  Conecuh will be in group 7 and group 7 will consist of 9 counties.  Each county will have a representative on staff.  The staff will make determinations as to which facility will receive funding to cover cost of training for impending jobs.  By all appearances this should be a good thing for the entire state.  Hopefully Conecuh will be able to get their fair share of funds for training.
 
County Administrator Stephanie Brown noted that during the last meeting it was voted and approved that Salter Heating and A/C take over the HVAC preventative maintenance operation from Capitol Refrigeration.  Prior to Salter taking over a company by the name of Kim Aqua did a water treatment.  This company has always submitted their bill through Capitol and there is an outstanding invoice.
Ms. Brown took action to continue the water treatment and established a direct line to Kim Aqua for billing.  That will remove Capitol Refrigeration completely from the picture.
 
Ms. Brown advised the commission that she had a letter from Mr. Jim Allen, Monthly View, dealing with a Christmas.  After discussion a motion to purchase a ¼ page ad was made and passed.
 
Ms. Brown reminded the commission that they were in the process of getting new software.  She has personally been in contact with the software management and things are progressing.  Current plans are to go live with the new software in January.  During the transition period there will be one week whereby no P. O.’s and some other issues will not be available.  Ms. Brown wanted to ensure the commission body knew of this and wanted to ensure the commissioners knew it also.  She assured the commission body that there would be no problems getting needed parts and work it might just delay things for a week in being able to get the proper paperwork to go with it.
 
Next item to be discussed is the 2 meeting in December.  Currently the meeting is scheduled for the day after Christmas.  A motion was made, seconded and passed to hold that meeting on 27 December.
 
County Attorney had nothing to add.
 
Call for executive session to discuss Economic Development AND reputation and character. 
Motion to go into executive session made by voice vote.  Passed unanimously.  9:55 AM.
 
Reconvened regular session at 10:25 AM.
 
Dr. John Johnson asked for approval of the solar panel project presented at the last meeting.  Motion to approve tax abatements passed by unanimous vote.
Here is a copy of the business entity paperwork describing the company bidding on the solar project for Conecuh.

 
 
Not sure but I've been lead to believe this is a China based company. 
 
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
Commissioner Riley advised the front elevator needs repair.  It is the primary wheelchair access route to the Government Center.
 
It was announced that Castleberry has requested the county trim and clean up around the nutrition center in Castleberry.  It is used as a county voting precinct.  Commissioner Millender suggested this be looked into outside the commission meeting.
It was noted District 3 needs a temporary truck driver.  Motion to OK advertising for driver approved.
 
There were no comments from the news media.
 
 
Motion to adjourn approved at 10:34.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
RANT TIME 17 NOVEMBER 2016
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
          Even after almost 36 hours to recover from the stupidity that manifest itself at yesterday’s commission meeting I’m still reeling over the total asininity of Andrews and his actions.
 
     During the course of the meeting Andrews actually called me a “Bastard” and said it loud enough I have it on my recorder.  That’s pretty ballsy for anyone but most especially him after the history we’ve had together.
 
     It is difficult for me to watch a “grown man” cry but that’s the position Andrews allowed himself to sink into, whinnying like a baby he barely kept from choking back tears.
 
     It all started over Coastal Gateway’s proposal dealing with a solar panel business possibly coming to Conecuh. 
 
     For those not in the know, Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance is the conglomerate that Conecuh has paid $25,000.00 per year for several years to bring jobs and businesses to Conecuh.  As of this date all the checks delivered to Coastal Gateway have been honored and cashed.  As of this date there have been ZEROjobs or businesses delivered to Conecuh.  The group of commissioners in office prior to those elected in 2012 had done business with Coastal Gateway, this was prior to Dr. Johnson taking the helm and unfortunately the previous director had the same success in getting jobs and businesses to come to Conecuh.  That group of commissioners had discontinued the $25,000.00 per year relationship with Coastal Gateway and it was reinstituted by the commission body that was just replaced- and under Andrews’ insistence.
 
     Naturally Coastal Gateway showed up with their proposition and it MUST be voted on RATNOW.  Four of the commissioners were not happy that they’d had no time to look or study on this proposition, yet Andrews jumped on top of this “good deal” and made a motion to approve the requested tax abatements it would require for this outside company to even bid on the job.  (Reality Check; the odds of that company getting the bid to do their project and bringing it to Conecuh are twofold, slim and none, heavy on the none.  It was somewhat like dangling a carrot in front of the county to convince them to continue paying that 25 grand).  Any guesses how that vote turned out?  It didn’t, Andrews’ motion died for lack of a second. 
 
     From Coastal Gateways website they actually state “Companies doing business in the Coastal Gateway area have a built-in economic advantage – the cost to operate a business here is 15 percent less than the national average”.  With this already built in savings whose being raked over the coals when tax abatements and other concessions are demanded?
 
     My personal feelings are, Conecuh may well wind up with a $25,000.00 savings from NOT continuing to paying a company for nothing.  I know, double negative.
 
     As the chairman hunted for a second to Andrews’ motion Andrews did his usual disgusting thing of rolling his eyes back, grinning like a jackass eating briars, shrugging his shoulders and looking at the audience?  It was so obvious he was losing it even Stevie Wonder could have seen it.
 
     Next out of the box in a continuing set back to Andrews was the movement to put each motor grader in the county working an equal number of miles of dirt road, a practice that had been in place prior to the Andrews crew destroying it in 2013 along with approving him getting a second, not needed motor grader for his district.
 
     Conecuh has 400 miles of dirt road with it broken down as Districts 1 and 3 having 121 miles each, District 2 having 84 miles and Districts 4 and 5 having only 30 some odd miles.  If you take that 400 total miles and divide it by 5 (the ideal and previous number of motor graders) you come up with 80 miles per grader.  A motion was made that the districts go back to doing that 80 mile stint so each motor grader would be operating with basically the same number of miles and hours on them.
 
     In 2013 Andrews, in what I believe to be a more racist decision than anything else, demanded that District 5’s motor grader stay out of his district.  In conjunction with that he used his influence over his “followers” elected with him to vote in favor of getting a second motor grader for District 3. 
 
     Let’s try to look at this from a practical side.  Andrews cost the county almost ¼ million dollars in new grader cost yet there were no additional workers hired to operate this piece of unnecessary equipment, in fact it spent more time sitting in his foreman’s yard in Lenox than doing anything else.  He just needed it to be on a power trip and a lack of intestinal fortitude on behalf of those that had been elected with him allowed him this feeling of superiority.
 
     Andrews could see the handwriting on the wall and his cries became louder as he offered one ignorant excuse after another as to why that system could not work.  Amazing, it had worked well before he became involved in destroying it just to establish his own little fiefdom.
 
     Knowing it was coming, Andrews saw his motor grader being taken away.  His actions were more those of a spoiled rotten child than a grown person and an “elected” representative of a county.  District 3, your votes are truly reflected in what you sent to the commission chambers.  As I said in my commission report you had the opportunity to send a decent man to the office and you failed your district and the rest of the county horribly.
 
     It just doesn’t stop with Andrews’ cursing me, Commissioner David Campbell was also on the receiving end of Andrew’s tirade.  If I can believe what I was told, and I have no reason to doubt it, Andrews informed Campbell he had just committed political suicide, he had F_’ed up, he had signed his own death warrant and other things, none of them complimentary.
 
 
     I do believe Andrews is in for a rude awakening.  His bullying antics, curses and other childish actions are about to become a thing of the past or he’ll get nothing done over the next four years.  Just so he’ll know, I will be watching and I’m not afraid of him and his perceived omnipotence.  I do believe the days of unlimited culverts, additional paving and unneeded equipment for District 3 is coming to a halt.  We’ll wait and see.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission Meeting 16 November 2016
 
     After being sworn into their office at 8:30 AM the commissioners held their very first meeting at 9 AM.
 
     District 5 Commissioner Millender performed as chairman until decisions could be made.
 
Call to order at 9 AM by acting Chairman Millender.
 
Prayer had been offered by Probate Judge Rogene Booker during the swearing in ceremony.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
Item 1.
     Open floor to solicit ideas and input as to who shall chair the group and what the line of procession will be for ensuing chairmen.
     Commissioner Byrd offered the suggestion that it should progress in a seniority design with the longest serving being the first chairman.  This idea was adopted with District 5 being the first chairman, then District 4, District 3, District 2 and District 1.
     Motion made and seconded and passed by unanimous vote to accept this path of succession.
 
Item 2.
     Welcoming Comments by commissioner.
     Commissioner Riley said his intentions are to serve the people of District 2 to the best of his ability but with an eye on serving the entire county.  His intents are to work with all the commissioners.
     Commissioner Campbell stated his plan was to work with everyone for the better good.
     Commissioner Andrews had no comment.
     Commissioner Byrd echoed the fact that the commission can be successful if everyone works together toward a common goal.
     Commissioner Millender stated he had talked to all the commissioners and is confident that this group will work together better than any in the past.  He noted his belief that the “good ol’ boy” politics were to become a thing of the past.  He thanked all that had given him their vote of confidence and pledged to do his very best.
 
Approve the Agenda.
     It was determined the rules for getting on the agenda would remain the same.  Anyone wishing to get an item on the agenda must do so by noon Thursday prior to the scheduled meeting.
     With this established, the agenda was approved.
 
Minutes of previous meeting:
     The minutes of the 24 October 2016 meeting were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/personnel report:
     There have been 3 new hires, one for the jail, one for the commission office and one for the probate office.  This does not include the 3 newly elected commissioners.
     There has been one separation from the county; this does not reflect the former commissioners.
     26.50 hours of overtime needed approval:  Breakdown; probate office 1 hour, tag office 2 hours, sheriff’s department 7.5 hours, jail 8 hours and district one 8 hours.
     Approved by unanimous vote as presented.
     Ms. Straughn was asked about the job descriptions being done by the group from Auburn.  She reported the paperwork has been taken back to Auburn where it will be reviewed and worked with by the analyst.  She anticipates a response within 6 weeks.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were 6 claims over the $500.00 limit for the general fund.  This does not include an invoice from the coroner making a trip to Mobile.
      Over the $3,000.00 gasoline fund limit, there were 2 claims.  Both dealt with the rework on C. R. 13.  When asked, Mr. Foshee responded these invoices will be all that are due for C. R. 13 paving upgrade.
     All claims approved by unanimous vote.
 
Approve 2016/17 Board Meeting date and time:
     After a short discussion it was determined that commission meetings would be held the 2 and 4 Monday’s at 9 AM.  The 5 PM meeting did not draw any more participation, caused an inconvenience for many workers and resulted in overtime pay for those who had to stay late.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:
     It was announced that today, 16 November, was the final day for contractor Development Consultants to present their performance and payment bonds.  It was determined that Development Consultants were non-responsive in their duties and another route needed to be approached.
     There were 2 primary suggestions offered as alternates.  The job could be rebid or the next low bid could be accepted.  The next low bidder was Youngblood-Barrett.  Unfortunately for the county, that bid was $85,000.00 higher.
     After discussion it was determined to be in our best interest to go with the next lower bid due to increase cost in materials, etc.
     Youngblood-Barrett will be contacted and we’ll work forward from there.
 
Coastal Gateway:
     Dr. John Johnson with Coastal Gateway approached the commission with a “possible” project for the county. 
     Alabama Power is adding solar power options.  Currently, based on Dr. Johnson’s statements, there are 4 companies competing for these positions, 3 in Escambia and one newly formed LLC named “Onenergy Development” considering Conecuh.  Dr. Johnson stated that the company considering Conecuh would initially employ 487 employees but at the end of the day when all the smoke clears there would be 6 full time jobs left over.  There is no absolute this company would get the contact for this job, they will be bidding against the other 3 companies for a final outcome.
     For this honor Dr. Johnson had offered, on the behalf of the county, they would get 100% abatement of sales and use tax and a 50% abatement of property tax.
     Naturally we’ve got a new commission body in place and also naturally this HAD to be voted and approved yesterday.  (This reminded me so much of Mr. Daryll Harper at the city council meetings always showing up with a “you gotta vote right now” proposition).
     Commissioner Andrews jumped on top of this proposal and offered a motion to approve.
     Commissioner Millender noted that it appears the proposals always come in an “emergency” status and there is no time to study what it contains.
     Commissioner Riley noted he did not like the late notification of this proposal, he preferred to have a little time to study it before he voted.
     Commissioner Campbell asked Dr. Johnson how many years the county had been paying the Coastal Gateway $25,000.00 per year.  Dr. Johnson answered for 3 years.  Mr. Campbell then asked just how many jobs or businesses Coastal Gateway had brought to Conecuh.  Dr. Johnson stated Coastal Gateway had brought 0 jobs or businesses to Conecuh.
     Chairman Millender noted there was a motion on the floor and called for a second.  No second was forth coming for Andrews motions, therefore the motion failed.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee addressed the commission about the bids and sales of county dump trucks.
     The trucks were discussed and it was noted the highest mileage truck was only around 30,000 miles with most closer to 10-12,000 miles.
     Due to the lower bidding rate, original cost and current replacement cost, it was determined the county would reject all bids and continue to hold our current trucks.
     Engineer Foshee noted that his department has 2 dump trucks and could easily do away with one of them without impacting him.
     Further discussion dealt with dirt roads and upkeep of them.  It was noted that the county had roughly 400 miles of dirt road but these dirt roads are not equally divided between districts due to district makeup.  Districts 1 and 3 have 121 miles of dirt road, district 3 has 84 miles and districts 4 and 5 have between 30-40 miles each. 
     Prior to the previous, just voted out group of commissioners, an agreement among the commissioners of each district existed whereby each motor grader would cover 80 miles of grading dirt roads.  Commissioners of districts 4 and 5 would take over dirt road adjoining their districts and help out districts 1 and 3.
     It was proposed that, to better utilize the equipment the county owns, the 80 miles per grader be re-instituted.  Andrews came up with weak, outrageous, whining excuses including an excuse of “racism” involved in the districting, as to why this wouldn’t work even though it had been a viable, operating system prior to his interference during the last commission in 2013.  That is when he sold the “other” group on allowing him to purchase another unneeded motor grader for his district.
     When put into a motion to go back to the 80 miles per grader the motion passed by a vote of 4 to 1 with, naturally, Andrews being the dissenting vote.
     The next issue to be addressed was the fact the county now has an excess dump truck and with the 80 mile agreement on road grading, an excess motor grader, a motion was made to declare this equipment surplus and put it up for sale.
     When the motion was made and seconded it also received a 4-1 vote, again Andrews managed to vote no through a whinny voice and tear filled eyes.  Somewhere in this area Andrews looked at me and called me a laughing bastard.  Way to go district 3 voters, you had a chance to put a quality person in there and blew it.
     (Side note:  It appears Andrews 3-2 vote strangle hold on the commission has been broken.  Perhaps we now have some commissioners with back bones and not wish bones; perhaps Conecuh does have a brighter future.  It appears the remainder of Conecuh knows Andrews for what he is.  Shameful part is, his own district (especially The Town of Repton) cannot see this.  I understand he actually threatened 2 of the new commissioners and told them they’d just cut their throat for re-election by opposing him).  How do you say pompous ass????
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Brown announced that payroll/personnel clerk Ms. Ruby Straughn will be retiring in January.  I for one will sorely miss her in the commission spaces.
 
     Ms. Brown noted that the county has money in 3 different banks and it is necessary the board approve these monetary repositories annually.  Board approved this action.
     Discussion on who would represent Conecuh on the ATRC Board was next.  It was determined the current chairman would also be the county rep for the ATRC Board.
     It was noted that next month a decision would be made on janitorial services for the Government Center.
     Every four years it becomes necessary for the appointment of merit board members.  The commission body gets to appoint 3 members, the road crews 1 member and the staff 1 member.  That is to be addressed at the next meeting.
     The County Christmas Party was discussed next.  Friday, 16 December is the day the party is scheduled.  The Government Center Commission offices will be closed from 11:30-1:00 PM that day.  The party will take place in the David Burt Building which will give people a little more room to socialize.
     Next for discussion is the HVAC agreement with Capitol Refrigeration at a cost of $6,525.00 per annum to the county.  Salter’s A/C repair has agreed to accept this contract at a cost of $4,600.00 per year.  Guess who won that bidding war.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop reported on the bridge on Grove Road damaged by a “big” truck using it.  The trucking companies insurance company had offered $2,192.00 for repairs based on the fact the bridge was old and in need of maintenance.  The county sent a letter demanding $5,000.00 to cover the total cost.  The trucking company insurance company refused to increase their offer.
     It was determined that the county accepts their offer of $2,192.00 and move forward.  This was put in the form of a motion and passed.
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
     None.
 
News Media Comments:
     I had some questions dealing with the county policy on burying dead animals.  It was determined the county, if they followed proper paperwork and health department procedures, could bury dead animals.
     Under no circumstances could the county bury dead animals on private property.
     I was cut off from asking additional questions but just those answers should be ample to put former commissioner Cook in a sweat mode over using a county backhoe to bury his dead cow and some other folks need to think long and hard about burying dead horses.  These are but a few instances.
 
Adjourn:
     Sorry, I was having such a good time thinking about how much money the county had saved on getting rid of excess equipment I didn’t get the time.  However, they were to take a short recess and return for an E-911 meeting.
 
There was a scheduled E-911 meeting after the commission meeting and a work session scheduled at 1:00 PM.
 
 
District 3 may have to reconsider who they have representing them considering Andrews got his tail on his shoulders and, after making sure he got his threats in to the new guys, left not to return.  No representation for District 3.
 
 
 
 
 
 
City Council 15 November 2016
 
Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order at 6 PM.
 
All members present for Roll Call.
 
The agenda (for what it was worth) was approved as printed.
 
Mayor’s Report and Comments:
    The current Food Depot has closed down.  Mr. Wilson, owner of the food content came in at the close of business Saturday night and emptied all perishables and some other stuff (to include the computer and security systems). 
    A person who has been interested in taking over that store for a while spoke with the Cooperative District.  An emergency meeting of the cooperative district board took place Monday night where it was decided to allow this person to have the same contract that Mr. Wilson had operated under.  It will require the Wilson regime to return all the stuff he has wrongfully removed.
     The new owner has need of a co-signer.  The bank will not accept the Cooperative District Board as co-signers so it was agreed the city will have to fill the role of co-signer.
     Attorney Hartley advised the city they must hold a public hearing before they can vote to co-sign any loans.
     Mayor Wolff stated that if the cities property is not returned to Food Depot he intends to take legal action.
 
Approval of Minutes:
     The minutes of 1 November were passed without the vote of the 2 new council members, Ms. Davis and Mr. Caylor were not members at that time and could not vote on them.
     Minutes from the organizational meeting of 7 November were approved unanimously.
 
Old Business:
1.     Evergreen VFD Chief Nobles requested their appropriations fund be increased from $7,500.00 quarterly to $60-75,000.00 annually.  Chief Nobles pointed out the ISO rating has improved from a 7 to a 5 which lowers insurance rates and makes the city look more attractive to incoming businesses.  This requested was tabled and will be revisited at a later date.
2.      A copy of the current job description and a proposed job description for the position of city clerk were handed out to the council for them to discuss and amend as necessary.
3.      A request and bid for repairs at Reid State whereby repairs would be done by the city with payment from Reid State was approved unanimously.
 
New Business:
1.     Resolution passed for maintenance agreement dealing with the traffic signal.  Unanimously.
2.     Approval of the sewer rehab CDBG final invoices approved unanimously.
3.     Resolution to move forward with a grant for Airport Improvement passed unanimously.
4.     It was approved unanimously for the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce to hold the first annual collard green festival on 14 January.
5.     A necessary requirement for a municipal bond resolution was introduced and passed.
6.      Interim city clerk handed out a budget to review.  He arrived at this budget using the 2014 audit and increasing the amount by 2% per year to date.  Mayor Wolff stated they would not utilize this budget to for spending.  Should be approved at next meeting.
7.      The interim city clerk will get a copy of the personal handbook to new council members.  This personal needs approval.
 
Accounts Payable:
     Approved unanimously.
 
 
Adjourned:  6:35 PM
 
 
 
 
 
 
Goodbye Food Depot???
 
     I received a phone call Sunday telling me the Food Depot in Evergreen had closed.  Knowing there was nothing I could gain by going there then, I waited until today to make a pass through.
     Yep, it’s true, the Food Depot is now closed.  A group of astonished workers and managers were standing outside the door wondering what happened.  I spoke with them for a while and was told that on Saturday night after closing, the store owner brought in a group of people and some tractor-trailers, took all the perishables and most of the other stuff inside.
     Along with the produce and food goods, they also took the computer system in the building.  Only problem with this is, that didn’t belong to them.  By taking this system there is no way to look at their sales output or money intake to see if they were indeed paying the proper amount to our fair city.
     It seems that might only be a small part of what’s wrong.  For whatever reason the Cooperative District Board has not held Food Depot to the standards it should have been held too.  It seems the Food Depot is serval thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of $ in arrears on rent.
     The owner of this Food Depot also has 2 other stores, one in Greenville and one in Luverne.  There were several trailers noted around the Greenville store location so I presume they took the items removed from the Evergreen store there.
     I felt sorry for the workers at the main door when I went by today.  This same person whom I’ll refer to as a deadbeat left them standing outside the building with no explanation, no job and no pay.  These are our neighbors and friends who have families to feed and care for.
     It’s amazing considering just this past Thursday during a cooperative district board meeting it was announced 2 rent checks in the amount of $6,800.00 and $9,300.00 had been received from Food Depot.  Perhaps a partially guilty conscious attack hit the owner, too bad he couldn’t have the same decency toward the people who had shown him loyalty through thick and thin times.
     I’m unsure of the cost of the computer system he removed but I sincerely hope the cooperative district powers to be will go after him for it and prosecute him to the full extent of the law allowable.
 
     I know another entity has attempted to negotiate for takeover of the Food Depot, my question to this is, why, with the delinquent/non-payment of rent has the cooperative district not already given this ***???*** the boot and moved them in? 
 

     With any luck the Food Depot will reappear under new management and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.  







Election Results by Precincts:
Does not include amendments.






















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































WHERE DO I LIVE???
 
     Perhaps it’s just me but I’m not really sure.  Anytime I’ve ran for office in Conecuh County I competed in Conecuh County, advertised in Conecuh County and tried to convince Conecuh County voters to voter for me.
 
     I feel that Conecuh County Elected Officials Should Represent Conecuh County and the people thereof.  Evidently I must be wrong.
 
     I present to you political advertisements from the Escambia County Brewton Standard (pages 7A & 9A) and the Monroe County Monroe Journal (pages 3,5,7) showing Conecuh County Commissioner Johnny Andrews re-elect me ad in each of those newspapers.









 






     There are no ads in the Conecuh County Evergreen Courant asking for you to vote for him.
 
     Perhaps his concern is more for the residents of those other counties than they are for the Conecuh County residents.  (See letter at end of article).

     I am of the firm belief and opinion that any good ad deserves a picture but I am torn as to which picture to put to Mr. Andrews ad, I have two in mind so I'll just use them both.








I ARE YOUR COMMISSIONER 





















I AM A MYSTERY COMMISSIONER RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN MONROE AND ESCAMBIA COUNTY.



     As I review the records I hold I do not see where either Monroe or Escambia County has furnished Mr. Andrews the monies to conduct his life style whereas Conecuh has.  Note his exorbitant travel pay claims turned in for the citizens of Conecuh to pay him over the previous four years.
 
     Here is a Monroe County sample ballot, I fail to see Andrews name on it yet he feel that he needs to campaign there.  More power to him, perhaps either Escambia or Monroe will elect him and get rid of the blight Conecuh has in his representation.





























     Just so no one will be confused as to how I feel about Mr. Andrews I offer the following article published in the Evergreen Courant.

     Four years ago four new commissioners went into office to run our county. There was great rejoicing about how our county was on the upswing and rebound over the “terrible” people that had occupied the office.    
     Now we’re into another election and what’s happened to that group of newbies? It appears it only took one term for the citizens to show they had a belly full of the management style employed by this group. For sure three of them will not be commissioners next term, and there’s still one in a highly contested race.
     District Three Commissioner Andrews is facing Republican challenger Buddy Howington in the November election and appears he has his hands more than full.
     It’s difficult to unseat an incumbent unless that incumbent has really made a mess of things. Most of the time an incumbent can run on their record, and if it’s a half decent one, they retain their office.
     Let’s look what kind of record/reputation Andrews is running on.
     He has the reputation of being a controlling bully bound to get his way. After taking office he imposed his will on two of the weaker commission members thereby establishing a 3 vote control of anything brought before the commission body stagnating our county.
     Andrews has the reputation of being a spendthrift with others money, I refer to it as having never met a dollar he wouldn’t like to spend.
     Anyone reading this will be able to tell exactly whom Andrews was in office to help. Not the citizens of District 3 or the county, but himself only, as witnessed by his outrageous charges and management of the county funds.
     One of his first wasting of monies started with travel pay claims and meal reimbursement. Anytime his engine cranked up the county received billing for his mileage whether it was county business or not. He even charges travel pay from his home to attend commission meetings, a job and duty he chose to run for. In the first year alone he submitted travel pay vouchers in excess of $5,000.00. As of August 2016 his travel claims exceeded $10,000.00, and there are 8 months of missing claims. He holds the current record for receiving the most travel pay of any commissioner ever. In conjunction with that he also holds the record for the highest cost meal claim. Every trip can be a vacation and every meal a banquet when the cost is not coming out of your pocket. Does this have the sound of someone looking out for the county?
     Andrews lead the charge to hire an auditing company to “ensure” the commission stayed within its budget boundaries. Information readily available from the staff simply by a few computer keyboard strokes, but Andrews just had to hire an outside group at a cost to the tax payers of $23,000.00 per year. He also used his influence and his cronies to push this measure through.    
     Money was not a real problem; we had all those record oil revenues. Andrews served during the time when the oil revenues were the highest. The annual audit shows more than $10,500,000.00 (2013) and $9,780,000.00 (2014) income. That’s over $20,000,000.00 and what do we have to show for it? Very little unless you want to count the additional motor grader Andrews had to have for his district at a cost of $215,000.00 with payments still being made even as it sits idle in District 3.
     In September 2014 Chairman Andrews, with his chest puffed out, bragged how, under his leadership, the county had just passed the biggest budget on record. Oil revenues were running great…..oops, the spigot just got turned down. Within a few months of this self-serving grandeur that budget had to be revisited and amended by several million dollars. There was no chest puffing announcements from Andrews at this time.
     Andrews is currently running a radio ad about how the county’s debt has decreased by $3.2 million because of his management.  False. Each year, normally toward the end of December, the county audit results are listed in the Evergreen Courant. Looking at the result for the years from 2011-2015 there is a drop of $1 million in debt, a mere drop in the bucket as opposed to the over $20 million that came in within a 2 year period of time. Perhaps he’s used that superior education to do some creative figures management.
     Andrews also lays claim to other things that he had no control or help in bringing about. His claim of getting Weyerhaeuser back into “their” building in Castleberry has no validity behind it, the only thing Andrews had input on was the $50,000.00, ($150,000.00 from the state), incentive bonus passed giving Weyerhaeuser this bonus should they meet certain personnel and wage numbers within a given time frame. He also claims to have been at the heart of the Liberty Hill project creating more than 200 jobs from the businesses operating there.  False. Andrews does serve on the Cooperative District Board, but cannot tell you when the meetings are and has no clue where any paperwork dealing with operating cost for the operation is, nor will he assist in making any of this paperwork available to the public. The only thing Andrews has done toward supporting any Cooperative District efforts was vote in favor, along with all the other commissioners, to give 1 cent of the county's sales tax to the Shrimp Basket and Food Depot.
     In this radio advertisement he talks of the 133 miles of repaving done in the county. The truth of this paving bonanza and the person to whom credit should go is Governor Bentley who instigated the ATRIP program, a program whereby the county had to make a 20% fund match to get minor collector roads redone. The only contribution Andrews has toward this repaving is merely voting to proceed with the program already in place when he took office. Thank goodness for that oil revenue again.
     When Evergreen Wood Products came into play, Andrews was ready to open an unlimited check book to support this endeavor. He even stood in front of a church group and told them he had gone to the owner’s home in Birmingham, this was the real thing and the best bet Conecuh had for a new business. He was a cheer-leading proponent of loaning the Evergreen IDB $175,000.00 for upgrading the old Gerber Building for this business to move into. A loan that was to have been repaid by January 2014, but has yet to be repaid. When questioned about this at a commission meeting in October, Andrews responded that the county couldn’t get their money back until the building sells, not a stipulation for originally giving this loan. He refuses to take any action to recover the tax payer’s funds from his bad investment. Furthermore, where is EWP now?
     A few months back, when the Evergreen city elections were coming on strong, it was announced over the radio several times that Johnny Andrews was bringing Dreamland Bar-B-Q to the Liberty Hill business District. As of now there is no Dreamland and no mention of it to coming.  A blatant lie just to get his name in the news. A cheap shot for free publicity.
     We do owe Andrews a big thank you for bringing Kent Hovind, A.K.A. Dr. Dino, to Conecuh. Thanks to his efforts perhaps Conecuh will become known as the Dinosaur Adventure Land capitol. I know the Lenox residents are looking forward to this. Speaking of Dr. Dino, almost every day he produces and places a video where it may be seen on youtube. On 24 August Dr. Dino makes his video as a strike at Jim Allen’s Monthly View article about him and his encounters with the Federal Government and prison. Johnny Andrews “stars” in this video. Acting in his capacity as a County Commissioner he makes accusations toward Jim Allen, his newspaper and Allen’s alleged stance on certain past issues, particularly the dump issue. Mr. Allen responded to Andrew’s accusations with written, documented facts refuting all of Andrew’s falsehoods.  Another lie on Andrew’s part.
     Andrews even picks fights with his own constituents. If you feel a need to confirm talk to his neighbors on County Road 7 in the Lenox Community.
     Four years ago when running for the office Andrews complained of and campaigned on a platform against executive session saying the previous commission body called for too many of them and kept information from the public. He promised if elected he would do away with all those executive sessions and keep the public involved.  False. There have been more executive session called during this past four years than ever before. In fact, and on more than one occasion, I have discovered I actions and discussions that took place in executive sessions that were improper and should have never been broached.
     As his own record has proven, Andrews is a firm believer that there’s no sense in having authority if you’re not going to abuse it and as of now, he has not meet a taxpayer's dollar he wouldn’t like to spend.
     When you go to the polls on November 8 think, can Conecuh afford to have another term with Andrews on our commission?
 

James Leon Windham




1 November 2016
Meeting lasted 3 minutes.  Not worth reporting on.


Commission Meeting 24 October 2016
 
 Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Hildreth who led the opening invocation and pledge of allegiance.
 
Roll showed all members on hand for this commission body’s final regularly scheduled meeting.
 
Agenda:  Approved as printed.
 
Previous minutes:  Approved as read.
 
Payroll/Personnel:
     1 new hire at the sheriff’s department.
     41.15 hours of overtime needed approval.  Tag office; 5 hours; Probate office, 3.75 hours; Jail, 10.15 hours; Sheriff’s office, 22.25 hours.  All approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were no claims above the limit in either the gasoline or general fund.
 
Mr. Henry Williams of Johnsonville was on the agenda to speak about Johnsonville road issues however he did not show.
 
Cara Stallman, Generator grant:
     Ms. Stallman informed the commission body that the generator purchase would have to be paid up front by the county who would then be reimbursed by the state.  These generators are for Castleberry and Repton.  No action taken today.
 
Safe Room Update:
     At this time the contract has a rough spot in it.  The contractor has moved a work trailer headquarters on site and knows the time clock for completion is ticking.  It is expected the work will commence very soon.
 
EMA Director:
     Mr. Johnny Brock presented an EMPG check to the commission in the amount of $3,932.89.  Mr. Brock also advised more money is inbound but he needs the chairman’s signature to make it happen.  Motion to allow chairman to sign paperwork made and approved.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee noted there was a bid opening for the dump truck sale scheduled for 5:30 PM. 
     He proceeded with the remained of his report by announcing that the current side cutter had reached 3 years of age and the practice has been to acquire a new one and put this one on Gov. Deals.  Permission granted for Mr. Foshee to place an order for a new side cutter and to place the old one up for sale.
     Mr. Foshee advised that County Road 13’s chip seal has been completed.  He also advised he had over ordered on gravel.  He noted the only other road on the list that is scheduled for chip seal is County Road 33.  He asked for permission to move the left over gravel to C. R. 33 so it will be in place when the time comes.  After discussion about potential theft, etc., a motion to move the remaining gravel to C. R. 33 passed by unanimous vote.
 
Bid openings:
     3 Bids for 18 month old dump trucks have been received.  It is obvious the market is extremely down from the last sale.  Richie Brothers, Wood and Deanco were the three bidders.  Richie Brothers came in at $855,127.00, Wood at $884,000.00 -7% or a figure of $822,120.00 and Deanco at $870,000.00 -7% or a figure of $809,100.00.
     A review of the price paid 18 months ago showed the county had a $915,000.00 investment in the trucks which have an average of 40,000 miles on them.
     After discussion it was determined to table all offers and review our needs.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown informed the commission that Mr. Mike Turner will be coming down on 27 October to ensure the voting machines are tuned and ready for the November voting date.  He will be back on the 8 just in case any problems arise.  The county will be required to pay a cost of $1,675.00 each day he is available.
 
     Ms. Brown was tasked with finding financing for the purchase of 2 Tahoe’s and one Pickup truck for the sheriff’s department.  She reported the following prices:  Tahoe’s will come in at a price of $38,011.54; the financing rate for them is set at an annual payment of $10,056.00 for 4 years.  For the pickup the annual payment will be $11,836.71.  The overall financing rate is 2.24%.  Motion to approve these purchases approved.by unanimous vote.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop advised the commission body that he had recommendations from ATCA dealing with amendments on the upcoming ballots.  The ATCA recommends voting to approve amendments 3; 4 and 14.  The commission adopted the recommendation of ATCA.
 
Commissioners Comments:
     Mr. Cook reminded everyone that tomorrow (Tuesday, 25 October) a hearing on the Cooperative District $4,000,000.00 bond issue will be held in the courtroom upstairs.  This is the bond issue that, as a requirement for approval, each person in the county is a part of the lawsuit.  The meeting takes place at 10 AM.
 
News Media Comments:
     Mr. Jim Allen, Monthly View Newspaper, asked the purpose of the impending executive session.  He was advised it was a good name and character discussion of a county employee.
 
Call for executive session:
Executive session began at 5:50 PM
Executive session ends and regular session resumes at 6:42 PM

Motion to adjourn approved at 6:42 PM





City Council 18 October 2016
 
Invocation by Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
All members present except for Council person Miller.
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved as presented.
 
Mayor’s Report and Comments:
     Mayor Wolff reported that trees bordering the railroad had been trimmed back by CSX.  The city had no say in this cutting back.
 
Old Business:
     Bicentennial celebration committee member’s names have not been turned in by the council members yet.  Mayor Wolff request these names be turned in as soon as possible.
 
     Residential Solid Waste Contract is nearing expiration.  Expires 31 January 2017.  Research by Superintendent Sullivan revealed that an over charge of $155,000.00 had occurred.  Extra dump charges had been improperly applied also.  Mr. Sullivan has investigated finding an alternate source of waste removal but to no avail.  Recommendation the current contract be renewed with Mayor Wolff and Mr. Sullivan representing Evergreen.  Mr. Sullivan determined the overcharge equals 6 ½ months of service. 
 
     Mr. Sullivan also has determined the inert landfill used for trees, limbs, foliage, etc. is almost full.  It was also determined that, unknown to the city, that landfill was rated a C & D site.  All C & D waste is being transported to Timberlands.  Current cost for Timberlands is $47.95 but this is in line to increase to $50.35 + a fuel surcharge effective next year.
     It was suggested the city purchase 8.2 acres of land off South Main and use it as the next city inert landfill.  This measure approved by unanimous vote.
 
    Halloween will be a door to door event in Evergreen.  Time has not yet been set.
 
Committee Report:
     Council person Upton requested the city give the B. O. E. $1,500.00 to help with expenses for the FFA convention in Indianan.  Motion made and passed unanimously.
 
New Business:
     Resolution 2016-1018-01 dealing with surplus property was approved.  Intent is to get all surplus property, police cars, street department and all other items submitted as surplus under this resolution.
 
     Results of bids let for servicing of city gasoline vehicles and equipment.  3 bids submitted with Bryant’s being the lower bid however the bid package submitted by Bryant was rejected due to improper paperwork.  Next low bid was Interstate Towing.  Interstate Towing awarded the job.
 
     Ordinance for severe weather preparedness tax holiday for 2017 approved unanimously.
 
     A request for a zoning variance for Robin Hall to operate a hair salon on Martin Street.  Request approved by the council.
 
     Reid State Technical College has asked the city to replace a large amount of their electrical system.  Reid State will pay for this work.  City agreed to undertake this job.
 
Accounts Payable approved by unanimous vote.
 

Adjourn:  6:25 




Commission Meeting 10 Oct. 2016
 
     Call to order by Chairman Hildreth at 9 A.M.  Invocation offered by Commissioner Cook followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
     Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda and previous minutes were approved unanimously.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report:
     There are no personnel changes.  There are 29 hours of overtime to approve.  Probate Office 6 hours, Sheriff’s Department 4 hours, Jail 3 hours, Engineering and District Five, 8 hours each.
     All approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     General Funds had 8 claims over the $500.00 limit.
     There were no over the limit claims for the Gasoline funds claim.
     A motion to approve was followed by unanimous vote.
 
     Grant writer Cara Stallman was on the agenda but was unable to attend due to outside circumstances.
 
Conecuh County Safe Room:
     A member of the construction firm overseeing the “Safe Room” project reported that, effective today, a trailer and boom was being put into position and provided the commission with a notice to proceed.  This starts the time clock toward the completion of the project.  They now have 210 days to finish.
 
Engineers Report:
     County Engineer Foshee reported that he had completed his study on the remaining bids not approved at the previous meeting.  These were the bids on crushed stone and the various components thereof.  There were 3 bidders with each of them being the low bidder in certain areas.  His recommendation was to accept the low bid in each area and work with all 3 companies.
     Approved by unanimous vote.

     Mr. Foshee advised the commission body he had made arraignments and set a viewing date for the impending possible sale of the dump trucks.  He announced this viewing was scheduled for this Thursday and asked all commissioners to ensure their dump trucks would be at the engineer’s office on Thursday.
 
County Administrator’s Report:
     County Administrator Stephanie Brown stated that she had looked into the new software to be installed.  The current computer cannot accommodate the update and she requested approval for the purchase a new tower only.
     Approved by unanimous vote.

     The IBM service contract runs from 16 Nov.-15 Nov. and is due to be renewed.  Cost to the county, $2,944.38.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
NOTICE TO JOHNSONVILLE VOTERS:
     The voting polls in Johnsonville are now moved back to the Volunteer Fire Department.  The upcoming election cycle in November will be held there.
 
County Attorney’s Report:
     Mr. Bishop Anthony added that some changes in liability for expenses will be forthcoming.
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
     Commissioner Cook noted at the previous meeting a onetime $400.00 bonus was authorized for county employees.  He stated the Sheriff’s department had 2 part time employees that he felt strongly that they should receive a bonus too.  It was recommended and approved that Mr.’s Robbie Moore and James Powell receive a onetime $200.00 bonus.
 
     District 3 Commissioner johnny Andrews advised the commission body that Hillcrest High School FFA teacher Jeremy Knox will be attending a state FFA convention and asked if there was any way the commission could contribute to the cost associated with this program.  Commissioner Millender noted they needed more information before making a recommendation and suggest Mr. Knox submit a letter with all details possible dealing with this situation.   Mr. Millender also noted he was a member of the ALATOM commission and some funds may be available there.
    
     It was noted a letter dealing with handicap access had been received.  This deals primarily with handicap access to the David Burt building.  Commissioner Millender suggested a panel consisting of the Administrator, Engineer and Maintenance Department investigate and determine what, if any, changes need to be incorporated and report back. 
     Put in the form of a motion and passed by unanimous vote.
 
News Media Comments:
     I noted that our county is on the verge of a large change in the commissioning body with at least 3 and possibly 4 new commissioners going into office.
     There are situation that are hold over from the current body that I felt would be better handled before they went out of office and left a jumbled mess on the new people.  First on the list was the outstanding debt of $175,000.00 that was loaned to the Evergreen IDB dealing with the old Gerber Building and Evergreen Wood Products.  This was a loan request entered into by the commission body in 2013.  The IDB assured the money would be repaid by January 2014 however that has yet to happen.  It has been addressed in the past but has been put aside.
     I advised my concern with a lack of action in attempting to recover this investment could possibly run into a statute of limitations situation and we could lose the window of opportunity to recover this money.
     Andrews spoke stating that the money would be returned when the building sold.  He said that prior to this $175,000.00 loan to the IDB the building had not been tenant ready and now it was but to recover the counties money, the building must be sold.  He said there was a signed “agreement” to that effect.
     I must admit I have seen no signed agreement but all minutes and notes I hold say nothing about the building must be sold for the county to recover our money LOANED to the Evergreen IDB.
     It was duly noted that the county attorney had this for action and I was assured the statute of limitations to take legal action was not being approached.
 
     My next concern was the lack of any attempt to recover any of the cost associated with the roof repair to the DHR building.  It had been noted the roof in place had been under warrant but had been a problem since installation.  A recent repair that cost well in excess of $100,000.00 has been accomplished.
     I was informed the company that had the roof warranty was no longer in existence and there was no real way to go after any recovery.
 
     I addressed the lack of any forward movement dealing with the Murder Creek Lake Project.  Noting has been done on that project since the hiring of a new legal corporation to look at the work and make sure “all the t’s are crossed and all the I’s are dotted.
     Commissioner Andrews advised the lake project was basically in a dormant state as additional funding was being sought to continue.  He also noted that the previous commission body had promised funds for this project and they were not delivered.
     I pointed out to Andrews the previous commission had pledged $30,000.00 but would only be paid out as invoices for work was received.  To date no invoices have been forthcoming.
     I further pointed out that I had been in contact with the Army Corp of Engineers who oversees and approves or disapproves these projects.  I informed him I had an email from the Corp that this project had been dropped in 2012 due to a lack of progress on the part of the Lake Commission.
     See the article titled “Time to bury the Lake” on this website for more information.
     As I expected, there was no action to come forward other than excuses so the new incoming commission will be saddled with making decisions on this blown opportunity.
 
     Jim Allen, owner and publisher of the Monthly View newspaper, asked how many employees the onetime monetary bonus included.  A number in the vicinity of 80 + or – was advanced.
 
     Mr. Allen noted that Ms. Brown has done a commendable job of using the county website whereby minutes can be posted to it; however, minutes from September are not yet posted.  Ms. Brown assured Mr. Allen the minutes had been sent and she is unsure why they are not yet posted however, she will check on this and get it corrected.
 
     Mr. Allen then stated that the commission body has 2 members of the Economic Corporative District board, both Cook and Andrews.  This was acknowledged.  Mr. Allen then stated that as he understood it, they (the E. C. B.) was in the process of floating another bond issue.  Again this was acknowledged.  It was then asked why it was necessary in order to acquire this bond; the citizens of the county must be sued?
     Commissioner Cook stated he’d attended no meeting as of late and deferred to Andrews to respond.  Andrews stated “he noticed that verbage” on that and he recalled something of that nature.  He then called on help from the county attorney in defining this.  Mr. Bishop had no real answer to this either.
     Mr. Allen then asked what this bond issue was going for or toward.  Again, no viable answer.
     Bottom line, there’s some reason out there for it having to be done this way but the answer is not known here..
     In other words folks, you, the citizens of Conecuh County, are involved in a lawsuit so more money can be raised for the Economic Corporative District Board, yet records to this organization are closed to everyone not on the “board.” 
     I’m neither at liberty nor in a position to tell you this is your official legal notification. 
 
Motion to adjourn:

     Approved at 10 AM.



Commission Meeting 26 September 2016
 
    Called to order at 5 PM by Chairman Hildreth who also led the opening invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll call
     showed all members present.  They approved the agenda as printed along with the previous minutes.
 
Payroll/personnel report
     showed no personnel changes, however 21hours of overtime required approval.
 
Approval of the claims:
     There were no over-the-limit claims.  A motion to pay all the claims passed unanimously.
 
Resolution:
     A resolution was passed to recognize the services of Paul Grimes, District 2, upon his retirement.  Commissioner Cook read and presented the resolution thanks Mr. Grimes for his 17 years 7 months of service to the county.
 
GuyoungTech:
     The situation with GuyoungTech and their sewage problem was introduced next.  It was determined that Commissioners Millender and Andrews with Attorney Anthony would schedule a meeting with Mr. Lee and Mr. Carter at 10 AM Wednesday morning.
 
Safe Room:
     A motion was made and passed to allow the chairman to sign the construction contract for the safe room.  It was acknowledged the safe room would be on each agenda for the remainder of the current commissioners term.
    It was also acknowledged the county would submit the required forms necessary for the construction company to have a tax abatement on the cost of materials.
 
County Engineers Report:
     Mr. Foshee discussed turning in the dump trucks for the spring bids.  This will be implemented only if the sell prices and replacement trucks are available.  The commission body told Mr. Foshee to go forward with this project.
      At 5:30 PM a return to the Engineer was made in order to accommodate annual materials bid openings. 
     Bid winners were as follows; 
1.    Robby’s Dozer Service low bidder for Bitimous Asphalt.
2.    Midsouth low bidder on Bitimous plant mix.
3.    Value of Pennsylvania were the low bidder on motor grader blades.
4.    2 bids were submitted on crushed stones, Mr. Foshee will examine the bids closer.
5.    Hunt Company won the bid on liquid ashphalt.
6.    Contect was the low bidder for pipe
7.    Gas and Diesel low bidder was Slydell.
8.    Hall Wood was the low bidder on bridge timbers.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Brown noted only one bid for newspaper advertising was the Evergreen Courant at 0.25 per word.
     Pest control for county buildings showed Lewis Pest Control as the low bidder.
     The budget for Fiscal year 2016-2017 was approved at a total of $8,429,371.28.
 
County Attorney:
     Nothing to report
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcement:
     Nothing to report
 
News Media:
     Jim Allen, Monthly View owner and publisher ask the administrator what last years budget was.  Ms. Brown told him she would have to look up the figure.
     Mr. Allen then asked the commission body if there was any response to the letter he had submitted at the previous meeting.
     There was no response to the question.
 
     An executive session was called for at 6:06 PM.  Unanimous voice vote passed the motion for executive session.
 
    Regular session returned at 6:29 PM
 

Motion to Adjourn:  6:30 PM.



Commission Work Session 26 September 2016
 
     Chairman Hildreth was not present for the opening; Commissioner Cook assumed the position of chairman.
 
     A change to the agenda was announced.  Mr. Lee, President of GuyoungTech and Mr. Bob Carter of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood came before the commission body under somewhat of emergency circumstances.
     Mr. Lee addressed the commissioners dealing with a sewage problem with their plant located in Castleberry.  Mr. Lee informed the commissioners that an issue with oil being found in the system had caused them to have to take extraordinary measures.  By all indications the oil appears to be common motor oil and a product not used in the system.  There has been no determination as to how or who placed the oil there but it seems the popular thought is that of possible sabotage.
     Mr. Lee explained how much money this has cost the company and asked for help.  It seems the city of Castleberry is well aware of the problem considering they were the ones that shut the plant down last year for this problem.  In the interim Castleberry has chosen to ignore the problem.
     Commissioner Millender asked Mr. Carter what options were available to get things back up to speed.
     Mr. Carter stated there were 3 options.
1.     Under this option Mr. Carter advised it will take $150,000.00 to put the sewage plant back into operation.  It will also require a new ADEM permit considering Castleberry, which owns the property and has allowed the current permit to expire.  The new permit will need to be issued to an identity such as the I. D. B., County Commission, Guyoungtech, etc.
2.     Under option 2 a redesign of the system was explored and the total cost to complete this was $500,000.00.
3.     A possibility of putting it into the Evergreen Sewage lagoons would be a solution but that will require truck transport from Castleberry to Evergreen.
    Commissioner Millender suggested the concerned parties, Mr. Lee, Mr. Carter and a committee of 2 commissioners have a sit down meeting ASAP to discuss and check what would be the best solution.  This was acceptable and will be brought before the commission body at the regular scheduled meeting to follow.
 
     Mr. Keith Harris and Ms. Kim Janeway representing Schneider Electric were next.  They presented a program of upgrades and corrections dealing with primarily electrical system savings at a variety of buildings under the counties responsibility list, to include the Government Center, jail, David Burt Building and EMA. 
     Mr. Harris presented a program whereby the county stood to lower their electric bills between 20%-24%.  Over a 20 year period of time this is predicted to save 1.4 million dollars.
     Mr. Harris said the next step in the process is to check into the design process which falls under bid laws.
     Commissioner Cook offered the recommendation that it be taken under consideration by the commission body.  Mr. Cooks recommendation met with approval.
     Mr. Ed Castile with the Alabama Department of Commerce, Work Force Development spoke next.
     He stated that under the current WIA program 4.2 million dollars come into the state.  These are federally funded rework programs to help create businesses and education in areas within our state.  The current breakdown within Alabama has Mobile County as an entity, Jefferson County as an entity and the remaining 65 counties grouped together as an entity.  Both Mobile and Jefferson get a large portion of this money and what’s left goes to the remaining counties.
     Under the new revamp of this program is would set out the state into 7 regions.  Conecuh will be in region 7 along with 9 other surrounding counties.  Each region will create a board consisting of equal numbers of representatives from each county.  It will be the responsibility of these boards to best figure the way the funds allocated for the area will be spent.  This eliminates one county from having a stranglehold over the funds.  These funds can be used to close the skills gap and improve the work force for the area.
     This program will cost Conecuh nothing other than a signature by the chairman on some paperwork left with the commission body for evaluation.
 

     Next item for the work session was a quick run through of the 2016-2017 budget.  The commission body took a last brief look at the figures and agreed to bring it forward at the scheduled meeting.




Commission Mtg. 12 Sep 2016
 
     Call to order at 9 AM by Chairman Hildreth.  Prayer offered by Engineer Foshee followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
     Roll Call showed all members present.
 
     The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report:
     There has been 1 new hire in the engineering department and 3 separations.
     There has been 40 hours of overtime within the following departments; Jail 3 hours; Sheriff’s department 2 hours and District 2 with 14 hours.
     Motion to approve by Commissioner Cook, seconded by Commissioner McCreary.  Passed by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     Under the $500.00 limit there were 5 claims needing approval.  Under the $3,000.00 limit only 1 claim needed approval.  Motion to approve by Commissioner Millender seconded by Commissioner Andrews, motion passed by unanimous vote.
 
Resolution Presentation:
     County Engineer Foshee presented Mr. Willie Etheridge with a framed certificate congratulating him on attain retirement after 13 years of faithful service to the county.
 
Communications Upgrade:
     Mr. Thad House, Lyeffion Volunteer Fire Department came before the commission body to give an update on the Motorola Radio System upgrade.  Mr. House informed the commission that there were 2 more matching funds payments to be made.  He also informed the commission body that an annual fee of $25,000.00 was to be paid  to maintain the upgrades.  This came as quiet a surprise to the Commission.  It was asked who was to be responsible for this payment.  This issue is to be determined at a later date.
 
Grant Management:
     Grant Writer Cara Stallman was on hand to advise the commission on invoicing for the safe house under construction at the corner of Wild Avenue and Rural Street.  She stated that most of the counties “in kind work” had been completed.  She also recommended a pre construction meeting be held on 21 Sept 2016 at 10 AM.  These actions were approved by the commission body.
     Ms. Stallman asked that she be allowed access to the county web site so she can post updates.  A motion to approve this action was made and passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee told the commissioners that a tractor-trailer had ran off a bride on a dirt road in district 2.  The bride was on either Grove Road or King Road and it had sustained damage.  Mr. Foshee had estimated the repairs to be $5,000.00 and had written a letter to the trucking company for them to forward to their insurance company.
He is in receipt of a check for $2,100.00 which included a letter stating that should the county accept this amount of money the issued was to be considered closed.  The commission did not accept the offer but instead advised the county attorney to handle this situation.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Brown brought forth a letter from Frank Harris and Association dealing with damage payment for an accident in the amount of $10,000.00.  County Attorney Anthony Bishop advised the commission body he had reviewed the release and it was a standard release.  It was determined by unanimous vote that the release would be signed.
     Next issue was a contract with a facility in Baldwin County for youth detention.  This contract is to be signed by the Chairman and must be completed by 1 October.  Commissioner Millender ask how many bed positions were to be allowed under this contract.  Ms. Brown was tasked with finding out the answer to Mr. Millenders question.  Motion to approved passed by unanimous vote.
     There have been numerous problems with doors in the counties buildings.  DoorTech cooperation has been called several times and each call results in a cost to the county.  Ms. Brown stated that a contract has been offered by DoorTech for a cost of $1,350.00.  The county has already paid $200.00 to date and the offer included accepting that $200.00 into the $1,350.00 total.  There will be a continuing contract on a yearly basis at a cost of $700.00.  Motion to accept the contract made, seconded and passed by unanimous vote.
     Workers health insurance has gone up by 4% ($18.00) per month.  This is paid by the county.  Commissioner Millender asked Ms. Brown to do a benefits package for the employees reflecting this new, added cost so these employees will be able to see that, even though they may not get a noticeable pay raise in salary, they are getting additional pay by the county picking up these cost.
     There is a senior aide slot open.  There are several requirements that must be met to fill this position.  It was adopted that this position should be advertised and someone placed in it.
     Mr. Keith Harris is to meet with Commissioner Andrews and Maintenance Person Harper on the 26 at 4 P.M.
     There will be a budget hearing meeting on 19 September 2016 at 9 AM.
     Ms. Brown advised that service classes for her position were to be held on 5 and 6 October and she desired to attend.  A request for Ms. Straughn to attend payroll classes on 22 and 23 September in Auburn was also forwarded.  Both request were approved.
 
Attorney’s Report:
     Nothing to report from the county attorney.
 
Commissioner’s Comments and Announcements:
     Commissioner McCreary again spoke on transparency within the commission body.  He addressed left over materials from jobs should be used under the guidance of the commission body.  Mr. McCreary went on to make a motion that a phone call, at a minimum, should be made prior to using this left over material.
     Commissioner Millender stated he could support Mr. McCreary’s motion but consideration had to be given to the excess material.  If it was a product that must be used in a time sensitive manner, common sense must prevail.
     After much fumbling about a final motion was made that a secondary place should be designated to receive any left-over materials.
     This motion failed to move forward due to the lack of a second.
     Commissioner Andrews stated his trailer for moving heavy equipment was no longer safe for use.  He asked that the current trailer be declared surplus and he be allowed to acquire another trailer.  Motion made and approved by unanimous vote.
     Commissioner Millender reminded all that a budget meeting was scheduled for Monday, 19 September 2016 at 9 AM.
 
News Media:
     Mr. Jim Allen, Monthly View Newspaper, noted that the commission body had approved a $4,000.00 per month payment to the Board of Education (B.O.E) for building maintenance and upkeep.  Mr. Allen stated that his understanding was this payment was to be used to bring the school facilities at Southside School up to par for a B.O.E. office and spaces.  It seems the B. O. E. has now purchased the old Schneider property to be refurbished and used at office and spaces.  Mr. Allen was informed that the $4,000.00 per month was not dedicated to the Southside School, but was dedicated to the B. O. E. to use as they deemed necessary.
     Mr. Allen then presented the commission body with a letter detailing Commissioner Andrews Utube appearance with Mr. Kent Hovind, AKA, Dr. Dino.  In this video Mr. Andrews, acting in his position as a commissioner and member of the commission body, made several derogatory statements about Mr. Allen and his paper accusing him and his newspaper of being in support of the landfill issue that has now been dead for several years.  (Copy of letter to be included at the end of this report along with a link to the Utube video).
     Mr. Allen has demanded the commission body either furnish him strict proof of Mr. Andrews accusations or furnish him with an apology.
     Mr. Allen furnished both myself and Lee Peacock with the Evergreen Courant copies of his letter.
     For additional information please check out Mr. Allen’s website: http://themonthlyview.home.mindspring.com/features.htm
 
Motion for Executive Session:
     Chairman Hildreth asked for an executive session to discuss good name and character.  He stated the executive session should last approximately 30 minutes with no action expected to follow.  Motion made and passed unanimously.
     Regular session reconvened.
 
Motion to Adjourn:  Approved by unanimous vote. 
 

Andrews you-tube appearance:  

Jim Allen's Letter to the Commission:

                                                                         Monday, September 12, 2016

Gentlemen,

On August 24, 2016 in his official capacity as a Duly sworn Agent of Conecuh County, and representing himself as a member of this Board, Commissioner Johnny Andrews participated in a Youtube video with Mr. Kent Hovind at his compound in Lenox, Alabama.

The video was a direct attempt by Commissioner Andrews and Mr. Hovind to damage my good name, question my character, and damage the credibility of my newspaper.

Commissioner Andrews began this video by stating that myself and my newspaper, The Monthly View, had publicly endorsed the former landfill project outside the town of Repton.

My request is a simple one: since Commissioner Andrews was acting as a Representative of this County and this Board when he participated in this video, I would like the commission to please provide me with documentation that myself and my newspaper publicly endorsed the landfill as Commissioner Andrews claimed.

If no such documentation can be produced, a Public Apology in local media, commensurate with the number of people who have viewed the video, would be appropriate.

Thank you



Jim Allen
The Monthly View Newspaper





Council Meeting 6 Sep 2016
 
     A special public hearing was held prior to the start of the Council meeting.  It commenced at 5:45 PM and was to deal with bond issues. 
     Mr. Barry Staples, attorney, was on hand to update the refinancing of the Liberty Hill Bond issue.  Mr. Staples advised the rating for the city is an A and for Liberty Hill is an A-.
     This will be a limited funding obligation from the city for the sales tax at Liberty Hill.  This simply means the tax will be used to pay any shortfall on the bond. 
     A resolution for the city funding agreement, limited funding agreement, was needed to move forward.
     A motion was made to agree to this by Council person Miller and seconded by Council person Skinner.  This motion passed by unanimous vote.
     Public hearing adjourned at 5:55 PM.
 
Invocation offed by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
Roll call showed all members present and the agenda was approved as printed.
 
Mayor’s Report and Comments:
     Mayor Wolff thanked all voters for their participation.  A swearing in ceremony is scheduled for 6 November.
 
Previous minutes were approved unanimously.
 
Old Business:
1.     Superintendent Sullivan stated that approximately one year ago he had asked for and had a pay increase approved for his workers.  This raise was approved at a council meeting and at the next meeting it was revoked.  Mr. Sullivan stated he had compared our cities worker’s pay to other compatible cities and Evergreen lagged far behind.  He stated he had recently posted for an open job position and, because of the low pay; he got no response to the advertisement. 
     Mr. Sullivan asked for a $2.00 per hour increase in hopes he will be able to attract someone to work for the city.  Mr. Sullivan asked the council to take this under advisement.  No action taken.
2.     Mr. Evan Davis with ALADOT asked permission to pump waste from the south bound I-65 rest area into the lagoons at Evergreen.  This waste will be already be ground up.  A motion was made to accept this request by Council person Miller and seconded by Council person Skinner.  A split vote of 4 ayes, 1 nay and 1 abstention was recorded.  Motion carried.
3.      Mr. Bob Carter, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood approached the council on the behalf of Guyoung Tech dealing with the dumping of runoff from a new paint booth.  Guyoung Tech has an ADEM permit in hand already.  This issue has come before this council twice before.  It was approved at one meeting, rescinded at another meeting and now comes before them again.  Mr. Carter advised this new paint booth will add an addition 30-40 jobs to the local market and there is no danger from the treated runoff.  Guyoung Tech will pay $0.10 per gallon making an anticipated $500-1000 per day income to the city.
     A motion to approve was made by Mayor Wolff and seconded by Council person Upton.  Results, 4 ayes, 2 nays.
 
New Business:
1.     Mayor Wolff announced updated appointments to the Industrial Development Board.  They are as follows:
Bobby Watkins was reappointed to the board.
Jessie Lett replaced Chris Askew.
Gregory Gray replaced Warrick Maye.
Steve Fleming replaced Al Etheridge.
Jerald Dean replaced Jerry Kendrick.
Marc Williams was reappointed.
Arthur Ingram was reappointed.
Todd Watson and Robert Bozeman have not served out their complete terms as of now.
2.      South Alabama Gas District Board appointees:
Council person Skinner was reappointed.
Council person Harris was appointed.
 
     Prior to the meeting ending, Council person Fountain questioned the Mayor as to who appointed the City Clerk and why his assistant was still employed by the city.  Ms. Fountain went on to ask Mayor Wolff why doesn’t the Council have any input to the City Clerks position.  She recalled a few years back discussion about the City Clerk position was an issue for the Council to be involved in.

     Mayor Wolff stated City Attorney Hartley will explain about the city clerk at the next meeting.



Commission Meeting 22 August 2016
 
Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Hildreth who gave the opening invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The agenda and previous minutes for both the regular and special called meetings were approved as published.
 
Payroll/personnel report:
     It was announced there was one new hire in the sheriff’s department.  There was one separation from the engineering department.  There were 78 hours of overtime needing approval.  56 of those hours were for District 3.  Approved and passed by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were no over the limit claims approval required for either the gasoline or general fund.
 
Maintenance Department:
     Mr. Ben Harper of the maintenance department reported he had prices for a series of repairs.  For the D. H. R. building a price of $1,450.00 to complete all the repairs there was submitted.  (This includes painting, tile and ceiling repairs).  In the courthouse repairs were set out in 3 phases with phase 1 costing $1,650.00 and includes painting of the halls and doors around the old drivers licenses office.  Phase 2 is painting in the commission spaces at a cost of $650.00.  Phase 3 is to include painting the lower level of the courthouse interior at a cost of $2,200.00.
     Mr. Harper advised that, due to heavy rains and high humidity, some mold and swelling of doors have occurred.  Commissioner Millender advised that action should be taken by the maintenance department to cover these problems.
     Painting and upkeep for D. H. R. and courthouse were approved by unanimous vote.
 
EMA:
     Director Johnny Brock advised he has two checks in hand totaling $3,279.02 as a refund from EMPD claims.  He also advised there will be more checks inbound because the EMA department personnel have met all requirements set for them.  Mr. Brock pointed out some paperwork needed signing by the chairman and left this paperwork with him.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee advised that the proper paperwork dealing with the Godwin Pit on C. R. 6 has been submitted.  This is just a paperwork drill showing the county is no longer pulling from the pit.
     Commissioner Andrews asked about the engineers input on an ALADOT letter dealing with extending the northbound entrance ramp at exit 93.  Mr. Foshee’s response, GOOD.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown informed the commission that Hillcrest Band Boosters has asked the commission purchase an ad in their publication.  Cost $175.00.  Approved by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown also reported the county had received refunds in the amounts of $5,330.53 and $5,969.75.  These refunds were based on both safety and paperwork completion. 
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop had no comments.
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
     Commissioner McCreary spoke on a situation in the past where he had caught grief over purchasing loads of rock from Mr. Joel Pate’s rock pit without first obtaining approval from the remaining commission body.  He stated it had come to his attention that at the last meeting it was pointed out a portion of asphalt from a project on C. R. 47 had also been placed on C. R. 54 and he was curious and concerned as how this, in a spirit of transparency, could have happened without commission approval. 
     County Engineer Winston Foshee, obviously irritated, stated that approximate 250TONS of asphalt was not needed for the C. R. 47 project and he made the decision to use this on C. R. 54.  Mr. Foshee went on to point out that nothing would have been said had I not addressed it at the previous meeting.  Basically it’s all my fault because I pointed out how some of our federal and county funds were being spent.
     Mr. Foshee also stated that any conversation about the usage of this asphalt should have been conducted in his office, basically outside the purview of the public.  This tells me that secret meetings and how to spend county funds are, or at least, in his opinion, should be kept from the very public that is paying the way for these improvements.
     Chairman Hildreth stopped any further conversation on this issue and moved on.
     
     Commissioner Andrews pointed out that an ongoing “STEALING” of road signs almost resulted in a tragedy when an emergency vehicle responding to a call for help missed the road they needed to be on because some self-serving, gotta have it jerk had taken the sign.  The emergency response team was delayed approximately 20 minutes in getting to the site because of this missing sign. 
     I’m not sure but I think that should someone antics in stealing these signs result in a death, they could be in a world of trouble.  Think first people.  What about that sign is so important it would look better on your bedroom wall than on a sign post at the road?
 
     Mr. Andrews gave a basic down and dirty cooperative district report saying the last meeting dealt with business and bond issues.

With no further business to come before this meeting a motion to adjourn was approved at 5:50 PM.  
 
 
  

City Council Meeting 16 August 2016
 
Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
Roll call revealed all members present.
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved as presented.
 
Mayor’s report and comments:
     Mayor Wolff introduced Mr. Clifford Hill, President of the Southeast Regional Fly in (SERFI).  This is SERFI’s 25th year and is one of the major attractants to Evergreen.
     Mr. Hill remarked that the 2015 year had perfect weather and a total of 176 aircraft registered.  The cost for last year’s program, based on Mr. Hill’s figures, total was $11,237.00. 
     SERFI goes on over a 3 day period, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Both Friday and Saturday an entrance fee is charged but Sunday is a free day.
     Previous cost of event insurance paid by SERFI has been $1,700.00.  Mr. Hill asked if the city could possibly assist or cover this cost.  Mayor Wolff will check on this, he believes the city may have insurance that will cover it.
     Mr. Hill forwarded a request for more hangar space if at all possible.  This is to be checked into.
     Each year a need for assistance in selling tickets, directing visitors and general crowd control is prevalent.  Mr. Hill asked the city if they could assist in getting volunteers to help.
     The event is scheduled for the weekend of 20 October.  For more information check the website www.serfi.org.
 
Old Business:
     An agreement for the approval of the Conecuh Sausage project was forwarded.  This as a result of a public hearing held prior to the start of the Council meeting.  This is to be a 17,000 square foot building.  The property will be sold to Conecuh Sausage for $1.00.
     A resolution to this effect was approved by unanimous vote.
     In conjunction with this, a similar resolution dealing with Dreamland Bar-B-Que was also approved.  This business will include a gift shop.  Dreamland is to move into the building where Weaver was located.  Allegedly certain restrictions not named at this time will be applied to the deal.
 
     A report on the Coastal Gateway economic development project was presented by Dr. John Johnson.  This is dealing with a potential business coming to the old Gerber Building.  A representative of the business has evaluated the building and advised there are some needed changes such as increasing the height of the building in certain areas.  This business is looking at being in place by the fall of 2017.  It is expected to bring 300 jobs to the area.
 
New Business:
1.     CDBG invoices for the sewer improvement project were presented for payment.  They were approved by unanimous vote.
2.     A request for Terri Webb to attend the 2016 Alabama Airport Conference from 9/19-21/2016 was approved.  Cost to the city, approximately $500.00.
3.     A request to purchase a grounds keeper trailer was approved by unanimous vote.  Low bid submitted and approved by Truck and Trailer Outfitters at a cost of $2,500.00.
4.     A resolution to appoint election officials for the impending election was approved by unanimous vote.
5.     A resolution to place certain items from the waste water department on the bid list was approved.
6.     Superintendent Sullivan was granted approval to sell city scrap metal at his discretion.
 
Accounts Payable:
     It was agreed by unanimous vote to pay the bills.
 
It was announced there would be a special call meeting of the City Council at 12 PM on 30 August 2016 to canvas election results.  This is mandated by state statues.
 

Adjourn:  6:25 PM 




Commission Meeting 8 August 2016
 
Call to order by Chairman Hildreth, opening invocation by Commissioner Millender followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll call showed Commissioner McCreary and Andrews absent.
 
The agenda was approved as printed.
 
Minutes from previous meeting approved as read.
 
Payroll/personnel report:  1 new hire at the jail, 1 separation from the sheriff’s department.  There were 30.5 hours of overtime requiring approval.  Jail, 0.5 hours; Animal Shelter, 4 hours; the remainder to District 4.
 
Claims Approval: 
2 claims over the $500.00 limit in the general fund; 2 claims over the $3,000.00 in the gasoline fund.
 
American Red Cross:
     Mr. Mike Brown, Red Cross director, was on hand to thank the commission body and give a status report.  Mr. Brown reported on the number of instances of help being afforded for Conecuh citizens.  He also advised Ms. Scott-Wells was the local director in charge.
     Mr. Brown noted that Alabama is the number one state in fatalities associated with fires.
      He stated the local Red Cross is working to ensure each home has functioning fire detectors in them.  Representatives are working in the county to inspect, install and make sure each home has a fire detector in strategic locations within each home.
     Mr. Brown also noted the Red Cross is working with Veterans to ensure they are receiving the help they need.
     Contact number: 1-800-Red Cross
 
Commissioner Andrews arrived at 9:11 AM.
 
Grant Writer:
     Ms. Cara Stallman was on hand to give an update on the safe house.
     Firstly she noted the awkward payment style for the work/grant monies.  The county must make payment on bills produced, this payment is routed through the city and the FEMA reimbursement for these efforts is re-routed back to the city.  All this is due to the fact the city was the originator of the grant before it was passed to the county.  (Who shot John?)
     With that said a reimbursement check for the first payment has been returned to the city and another payment is due.  The commission body determined no other payments will be made until they are in receipt of the funds the city is holding.  Mike Hinson, Interim City Clerk was in attendance and ensured the county would get their money.
     Also on hand was a representative of Goodwin, Mills and Cawood with the assessment of the progress on the safe house.  In his estimation it is time to turn the project over to the general contractors.  Motion by the commission to do so passed unanimously.   
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Foshee had nothing to report. 
     Commissioner Cook reminded the engineer that, by all appearances, we are on tap to get a large amount of rain and expressed his confidence the engineering department was prepared.
     Commissioner Millender noted that County Road 47 resurfacing was complete and asked which roads were next in line.  Mr. Foshee stated 13; 32; 85 and 54, in that order, were on the repaving list.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown, County Administrator reported the only business on her desk was the agreed payout for the Liberty Hill development project for the counties tax abatement.  Total amount due back to the project:  $11,471.36. 
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop reported he had reviewed the contracts for the Generator maintenance and everything seemed to be in order.
     Mr. Bishop was questioned about the recent discussions of Castleberry Wood Products.  He informed the commission body that, due to the location of the business, everything fell on the City of Castleberry to negotiate with them; the county has no authority to discuss issues.  No tax abatement has been asked for by the company.
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
     None.
 
News Media Comments:
     I asked when authorization for a resurfacing of Circle W Trailer road had been authorized.  County Engineer Foshee advised that there had been left over asphalt from the County Road 47 project and he directed it be used on Circle W Trailer road because it was adjacent to County Road 47.  I asked if transporting the asphalt approximately 3 miles was considering adjacent and why did they start at the adjoining county line and come backwards to the Circle W Trailer business and the houses there? 
     There are 3 other paved roads that come off 47 that would not have required the zigzag procedure needed to get to Circle W Trailer Road and they needed a resurfacing just as badly as or more so than Circle W Trailer.
     I am also aware of a situation in that area where a runoff from a dirt drive has closed a natural flowing creek and is filling up a resident’s pond.  Why couldn’t this “excess” (about ¾ mile) asphalt be used to possibly try and stop this?
 
     I also asked about the Murder Creek Lake Project which the commission body oversees.  They don’t have a clue.  I advised them of a recent published article in the 21 July edition of Evergreen Courant from Terri Carter, Chairman of the Lake Committee.
     I advised them the article was written in response to a letter I had written Ms. Carter asking certain items and information be made available to me.
     I also advised the commissioners that the lake issue had placed on a ballot and voted on by the residents of the county.  I informed them of previous funds spent by the county to the tune of $238,394.01 in helping this project along.
     I also informed the commission that I was in receipt of an email from the Army Corp of Engineers stating the Lake project had been placed in a closed file in 2012.
     I went on to state that the lake project committee had hired a legal firm to go over the Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood reports to ensure all the “T’s were crossed and I’s dotted.”  This was done to the tune of $19,700 expenditure but, based on the newspaper report, this report is considered attorney/client privileged.  Big words for making sure T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
     I asked the commission body, if they are interested in pursuing this lake project, to disband the current committee and put someone in place that will work to accomplish it.
 

Adjourn:  10:02  




City Council 2 August 2016
 
Prayer by Pastor Nevlous.
 
Call to Order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
Roll Call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved with one amendment.
 
Mayors Report and Comments:
     Mayor Wolff announced that Mr. Funderburk was on hand to talk about refinancing some bond issues.  The 2013 bond issue for the cooperative district at exit 96 can benefit by refinancing now, the city can save $300,000.00-350,000.00.
     Mr. Funderburk stated that many larger cities in the state have noted what Evergreen has done and are both surprised and amazed how this has been accomplished in such a short period of time.
     The council voted unanimously to allow Mr. Funderburk to move forward in seeking refinancing on the bond on a contingency basis.  If the refinancing does not happen there will be no charge from Mr. Funderburk.
 
Old Business:
     Mr. Bob Carter with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood announced the receipt of bids on the Miller Sellers Drive repair.  Only two bids came in with Ralls Contracting being the lowest at $562,000.00.  This bid is higher than expected. 
     FEMA will pay 87.5% of this figure and the city is responsible for 12.5%, approximately $70,000.00 for the city.  
     Mr. Carter said the terms of the contract drove up the cost.  They must complete the work within 4 days.  A $10,000.00 per day penalty to the contractor is in place should they fail to complete within the specified time.
     Passed by unanimous vote of the council.
 
New Business:
1.    Request for a $300.00 cash advance for Helen Wiggins to attend a Court Clerks Conference in Orange Beach was approved.
 
2.    A uniform request from Hillcrest High School volleyball program was offered for consideration.  After discussion a motion was made to give $500.00 to the B.O.E. for this program.  Motion passed unanimously.
 
3.         The City of Evergreen received an invitation to participate in the Alabama Bicentennial over the next 3 years.  This requires the Mayor to set up a committee to oversee these efforts.  A resolution to this effect was passed.
 
      4-7.      The following resolutions were passed by unanimous vote.  Each resolution dealt with acknowledging the following persons being named winners of the impending city elections.  Each person is running unopposed but an independent resolution must be passed to put them in office.  Resolution 2016-0802-01; John Skinner; 2016-0802-02, Jerry Caylor; 2016-0802-03, Luther Upton; 2016-0802-04, Vivian Rogers Fountain were made and completed.
 
       8.     Chief Simpson returned from a police conference strictly to talk to the council about raises for his officers, more equipment for the police department and community involvement for the department. 
     The chief talked of the conference he is attending saying it is the first time he’s ever been involved in a group where they had armed officers guarding the area but, due to the current attitudes, it is necessary.
     Overall results, a $2.00 per hour raise was approved for the officers, the city will add assault rifles to their inventory and overtime will be approved for community involvement.
 
Committee Reports:
     Council person Upton discussed the current electric system employed by Evergreen.  He made a suggestion the city sell the electric company to Alabama Power or any other entity interested and stop all the “deposit” grief coming to city hall. 
     Mayor Wolff advised that “pay as you go” meters are being installed and will do away with the current deposit system.  Mayor Wolff asked any action dealing with the electrical system be held until an opportunity to evaluate this new system is completed.
 
     Council person Harris presented a petition from residents of District Five asking the council to rescind allowing Guyoung Tech’s dumping of their industrial waste water in the Evergreen lagoons.  A motion to rescind met with approval with the council being in agreement that their city people were more important than the jobs that would be brought by allowing this.
 
     Council person Fountain questioned the staffing issues dealing with the temp. hire made by interim city clerk Hinson.  She had, with no assistance from the interim city clerk, managed to get a copy of the contract dealing with this hiring.  She presented each council person with a copy of said contract then went on to point out the contract was written in two different ways.  One stated the temp hire would be for 694 hours (four months) or for one year.  She noted there was no signature from any member of the city managing authority, the only signature appearing authorizing this was that of the interim city clerk.
     Ms. Fountain then asked the interim city clerk if he was authorized to hire anyone without clearing it via either the mayor or the council to which he replied he was allowed to hire 8 people.  The interim city clerk gave no more information so Ms. Fountain then asked Ms. Peggy Howell, former city clerk that was called in to take the minutes of the meeting because the current interim city clerk could not, if, during her time as city clerk, had she hired anyone without first clearing it via the mayor or council.  Ms. Howell responded she had NEVER hired anyone without first clearing it with the city managers.
     Ms. Fountain noted the following pay factor for the temp hire as being; $30.00 per hour which equates to $85,000.00 per year, $1,600.00 per week, well above the amount paid anyone else in a compatible position.  Ms. Fountain stated the contract said a 30 day notice must be given and she made a motion that such notice be now given.  This motion received a second and passed by unanimous vote.
     Mayor Wolff asked Mr. Hinson, interim city clerk, if he had that for action and for the first time as an interim city clerk, Mr. Hinson actually took a note.
     (My opinion; Mr. Hinson sat looking like a grinning idiot during this entire exchange.  His smug and cavalier attitude seemed as if he was the one in charge rather than a hired employee.  Information received from a past encounter about a write-in position on the ballot, Mr. Hinson TOLD the mayor he would not be putting any write-ins on the ballot even after the Mayor had told him he would.  Why does Mayor Wolff continue to accept this insolence?  I remember a certain police officer that was fired because of similar statements.  When is this blight on the posterior of Evergreen going to be given his walking papers?)
 
Accounts payable:  Approved by unanimous vote.
 

Adjourned:  6:50 PM






City Council Meeting 19 July 2016

Invocation by Reverend Meeks.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff
 
Roll Call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved as printed.
 
Mayor’s Comments:
    
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
 
Old Business:
    
 
New Business:
     Training request for electrical department.
     Training classes will be held in Auburn, AL in September.  2 employees will attend at a total cost of $1,990.00.  Motion to approve passed by unanimous vote.
Alabama League of Municipalities.
           A motion to continue paying the cities dues to the league was approved by   
      unanimous vote.  Total cost, $1,866.84.
Old Evergreen City School
           The old Evergreen City School has been placed on the National Historic  
       Register.  This adds national recognition to the school and future projects.
Night Club/Pool Hall.
            Mr. Chuck Nelson has submitted a request to the city to approve a night
        club/pool hall (with or without alcohol) in the old Burkes building.  Council   
       person Harris stated she did not think this would be a good idea.  After
       approximately 10 minutes of discussion, Attorney Hartley advised Mr. Nelson 
       that he needed to file a formal application to the city.  Request tabled.
Request for additional police presence.
             A letter from the Woodmere Apartments manager asking for additional police
        presence/protection due to an increase in criminal activity was shared with the
        council.  Mayor Wolff stated the facility needed to hire their own private security.
        Action on this request was tabled until the next meeting.
Resolution:
              A resolution requesting that Monday, 8 August 2016 be declared as a  
         “Ride4Gabe Day to End Duchene” was submitted.  This is a motorcycle ride to
         fight against this disease.  The ride will go from Main Street to Mobile and this
         will be the last day of the ride.  Motion to approved passed by unanimous vote.
B. O. E. Request:
               A motion by Council person Upton to donate $5,000.00 to the Board of
            Education to help cover the cost of Hillcrest High School Jaguar’s football 
            team uniforms.  Passed unanimously.
                 In conjunction with this, Council person Skinner introduced a motion to  
            contribute $2,000.00 to the youth football leagues.
                 It was noted that a plaque previously approved for Mr. Justin Nared had
            not yet materialized.  Mayor Wolff placed Council person’s Skinner and
            Harris in charge of getting this completed considering they had done such a
            good job on Ms. Stallworth’s plaque.
Request from the D. A. V.
                  The Disabled American Veterans ask that the City of Evergreen assume
             the S. E. A. gasoline bill for the eternal flame at the Evergreen-Conecuh
             Veterans Monument.  A motion to accept this bill was passed by unanimous
             vote.
Promotion Request:
                    A motion request for Magistrate Helen Wiggins was made to increase
              her pay and position.  Discussion pointed out that Ms. Wiggins has worked
              for the city for 27 years and the raise was appropriate for her position.  After
             discussion a pay raise to $21.00 per hour was approved unanimously.
     MY OPINION:
                      If the city can pay a temp hire employee $30.00 per hour, put in
              position by the “Interim City Clerk” without consultation or approval of the 
              council, this raise should have been made retroactive.
******UPDATE 21 JULY 2016******
                     I have been informed the figure of $30.00 per hour for 
              the temp hire is incorrect.  The figure is actually closer to 
              $40.00 per hour.

Airport Improvement Program Project Contract
:                       Ms. Michelle Conway advised she needs a resolution from Mayor
               Wolff to be allowed to let the bids for airport approval projects prior to any
               other action.  A motion to allow her to proceed was approved unanimously.
Guyoungtech Sewer:
                       A request from Guyoungtech management for assistance in solving a
                wastewater problem at the plant was brought forward.  The problem deals
                with getting rid of waste water from a paint booth.  Guyoungtech
                management has requested the city of Evergreen accept this waste water
                for dumping into the lagoons off Bruner Avenue.  Metal test have been
                conducted by the University of Auburn on waste water from a similar plant
                in Eldon, MO. with the testing showing negligible amounts of metal and 
                well within ADEM standards.
                     Water Department Supervisor Darell Davis was tasked with looking into   
                all aspects of this deal and, if his report is favorable, the city will look into
                negotiating a contract to handle this.
                      After discussion where it was pointed out that several other cities,
                including Brundage, accepts this same waste water.
                       Prior to further action, Council person Harris was called away to an 
                emergency.
                       When a motion to approve was made, it passed by a vote of 3 ayes
                and 1 abstention.
Evergreen Sewer Project:
                        Ms. Cara Stallman explained that the sewer improvement project for
                Evergreen was 82% complete.  Also, Ms. Stallman advised ADECA,
                controller of the grants, will be in Evergreen Tuesday 26 July to do an audit
                on grants given.  She also stated that it would be nice if the elected city
                officials came by to meet them.
 
Committee Reports:
                        A $2,179.00 bill from Salters Hardware was discussed.  Council
                 person Upton stated he believed this bill to be too high and suggested the
                 city seek other suppliers.
                         Council person Skinner offered his heartfelt thanks to the various 
                supervisors and workers who’ve done such a wonderful job on the park. 
                          Council person Fountain asked why she has not been furnished
                paperwork she requested on 6 July.  Interim City Clerk Hinson stated he
                had not yet found it, he has been busy with the election proceedings.  He
                also told her he had furnished her with Economic Director Bobby Skipper’s
                bonding paperwork to which Ms. Fountain replied that was not what she 
                had asked for.  She again stated she wanted a copy of all receipts
                pertaining to the Las Vegas trip.  Mr. Hinson informed her he needed an 
                additional “public document” request.
                           Council person Skinner brought up an incident on Elizabeth Street
                dealing with teenagers with guns.  It seems 2 young boys pulled a gun on
                a 9 and 7 year old boys threatening to take their bicycles.  Mr. Skinner
                stated Chief Detective Ellis had told him the police reports were incorrect. 
                Chief Simpson has for action and Mayor Wolff will consult with him.
 
Accounts Payable:  Paid by unanimous vote.
 

Adjourn:  7 PM.                                              





City Council Meeting 19 July 2016

Invocation by Reverend Meeks.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff
 
Roll Call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved as printed.
 
Mayor’s Comments:
    
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
 
Old Business:
    
 
New Business:
     Training request for electrical department.
     Training classes will be held in Auburn, AL in September.  2 employees will attend at a total cost of $1,990.00.  Motion to approve passed by unanimous vote.
Alabama League of Municipalities.
           A motion to continue paying the cities dues to the league was approved by   
      unanimous vote.  Total cost, $1,866.84.
Old Evergreen City School
           The old Evergreen City School has been placed on the National Historic  
       Register.  This adds national recognition to the school and future projects.
Night Club/Pool Hall.
            Mr. Chuck Nelson has submitted a request to the city to approve a night
        club/pool hall (with or without alcohol) in the old Burkes building.  Council   
       person Harris stated she did not think this would be a good idea.  After
       approximately 10 minutes of discussion, Attorney Hartley advised Mr. Nelson 
       that he needed to file a formal application to the city.  Request tabled.
Request for additional police presence.
             A letter from the Woodmere Apartments manager asking for additional police
        presence/protection due to an increase in criminal activity was shared with the
        council.  Mayor Wolff stated the facility needed to hire their own private security.
        Action on this request was tabled until the next meeting.
Resolution:
              A resolution requesting that Monday, 8 August 2016 be declared as a  
         “Ride4Gabe Day to End Duchene” was submitted.  This is a motorcycle ride to
         fight against this disease.  The ride will go from Main Street to Mobile and this
         will be the last day of the ride.  Motion to approved passed by unanimous vote.
B. O. E. Request:
               A motion by Council person Upton to donate $5,000.00 to the Board of
            Education to help cover the cost of Hillcrest High School Jaguar’s football 
            team uniforms.  Passed unanimously.
                 In conjunction with this, Council person Skinner introduced a motion to  
            contribute $2,000.00 to the youth football leagues.
                 It was noted that a plaque previously approved for Mr. Justin Nared had
            not yet materialized.  Mayor Wolff placed Council person’s Skinner and
            Harris in charge of getting this completed considering they had done such a
            good job on Ms. Stallworth’s plaque.
Request from the D. A. V.
                  The Disabled American Veterans ask that the City of Evergreen assume
             the S. E. A. gasoline bill for the eternal flame at the Evergreen-Conecuh
             Veterans Monument.  A motion to accept this bill was passed by unanimous
             vote.
Promotion Request:
                    A motion request for Magistrate Helen Wiggins was made to increase
              her pay and position.  Discussion pointed out that Ms. Wiggins has worked
              for the city for 27 years and the raise was appropriate for her position.  After
             discussion a pay raise to $21.00 per hour was approved unanimously.
     MY OPINION:
                      If the city can pay a temp hire employee $30.00 per hour, put in
              position by the “Interim City Clerk” without consultation or approval of the 
              council, this raise should have been made retroactive.
******UPDATE 21 JULY 2016******
                     I have been informed the figure of $30.00 per hour for 
              the temp hire is incorrect.  The figure is actually closer to 
              $40.00 per hour.

Airport Improvement Program Project Contract
:                       Ms. Michelle Conway advised she needs a resolution from Mayor
               Wolff to be allowed to let the bids for airport approval projects prior to any
               other action.  A motion to allow her to proceed was approved unanimously.
Guyoungtech Sewer:
                       A request from Guyoungtech management for assistance in solving a
                wastewater problem at the plant was brought forward.  The problem deals
                with getting rid of waste water from a paint booth.  Guyoungtech
                management has requested the city of Evergreen accept this waste water
                for dumping into the lagoons off Bruner Avenue.  Metal test have been
                conducted by the University of Auburn on waste water from a similar plant
                in Eldon, MO. with the testing showing negligible amounts of metal and 
                well within ADEM standards.
                     Water Department Supervisor Darell Davis was tasked with looking into   
                all aspects of this deal and, if his report is favorable, the city will look into
                negotiating a contract to handle this.
                      After discussion where it was pointed out that several other cities,
                including Brundage, accepts this same waste water.
                       Prior to further action, Council person Harris was called away to an 
                emergency.
                       When a motion to approve was made, it passed by a vote of 3 ayes
                and 1 abstention.
Evergreen Sewer Project:
                        Ms. Cara Stallman explained that the sewer improvement project for
                Evergreen was 82% complete.  Also, Ms. Stallman advised ADECA,
                controller of the grants, will be in Evergreen Tuesday 26 July to do an audit
                on grants given.  She also stated that it would be nice if the elected city
                officials came by to meet them.
 
Committee Reports:
                        A $2,179.00 bill from Salters Hardware was discussed.  Council
                 person Upton stated he believed this bill to be too high and suggested the
                 city seek other suppliers.
                         Council person Skinner offered his heartfelt thanks to the various 
                supervisors and workers who’ve done such a wonderful job on the park. 
                          Council person Fountain asked why she has not been furnished
                paperwork she requested on 6 July.  Interim City Clerk Hinson stated he
                had not yet found it, he has been busy with the election proceedings.  He
                also told her he had furnished her with Economic Director Bobby Skipper’s
                bonding paperwork to which Ms. Fountain replied that was not what she 
                had asked for.  She again stated she wanted a copy of all receipts
                pertaining to the Las Vegas trip.  Mr. Hinson informed her he needed an 
                additional “public document” request.
                           Council person Skinner brought up an incident on Elizabeth Street
                dealing with teenagers with guns.  It seems 2 young boys pulled a gun on
                a 9 and 7 year old boys threatening to take their bicycles.  Mr. Skinner
                stated Chief Detective Ellis had told him the police reports were incorrect. 
                Chief Simpson has for action and Mayor Wolff will consult with him.
 
Accounts Payable:  Paid by unanimous vote.
 

Adjourn:  7 PM.                                              





OUR WISE FOREFATHERS

    How truly wise were our forefathers and the founders of this great nation.  If one takes time out to look at our constitution one would think those writers of this great instrument either had a time travel machine or a superb crystal ball that gave them an uncanny ability to see what would happen in the future.  They would make a quick trip forward or take a simple glance and know just how foolish we would become in certain issues and they would ponder how to give us a way out of situations we allow our country to get in.
 
     Our system is failing and we worry about which bathroom people should use, we are told that guns are the problem and the Second Amendment should be done away with, we are told to open our doors, hearts and homes to foreigners that have sworn to annihilate us and take over our country, our federal government has taken prayer out of any facet of public purview and turned it into something nasty that should never see the light of day but instead, be relegated to the “back room” and kept in the dark. 
 
     We are told not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to our country in fear we “might” offend someone yet someone who has crossed our borders illegally can burn and stomp on our flag as an expression of their freedoms.  We are told we must assimilate these people into our culture and bend our way of life to accommodate them.  When we attend sporting events that open with our National Anthem we get some type of squealing, yelling, squalling version of it that bears no resemblance to what the original was or what it stood for or it’s not performed at all, no doubt so we might not offend someone in the audience.
 
     What do you say to this?  I say HOGWASH. 
 
     I encourage everyone to become familiar with that great instrument, the Constitution of the United States of America, and use it as our founding fathers wrote it.
 
     With that said, here’s a tidbit from our national constitution and our state constitution.
 

     If you’re not happy with the way things are going, I encourage you to take action by writing your state legislature and encourage them to invoke those rights so wisely left to us by those who mutually pledged to each other “our Livesour Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”  Don’t sell these heroes short, we owe to them the same pledge they made for us.  










































































































































































































































































































AL Historical Commission Release






Commission Mtg. 11 July 2016
 
     Call to order by Chairman Hildreth at 9 AM followed by opening invocation.
 
     Roll call showed 3 members present, 2 missing.  Present were Mr.’s Hildreth, Andrews and McCreary.
 
     The agenda was approved as printed and the previous minutes were approved as written.
 
Payroll/payment report:
     There has been one separation from the Jail and 33.5 hours of overtime needs approval.  Break down as follows:  Sheriff’s Department 9.5 hours, Jail 4.0 hours, District One 8 hours and Engineering 12 hours.
Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Approval of Claims:
     There were 2 claims over the $500.00 limit in the general fund and there were 7 claims over the $3,000.00 limit in the gasoline fund needing approval.  Motion to approve passed by unanimous vote.
 
Sheriff Brock:
     Sheriff Brock came before the commission body to ask for help/improvement to the generator system for his department.  He noted that in the past week or so he has lost power in the jail 3 times because of inclement weather.  Each time the backup generator would come on but would not assume the load.  Also the generator for the communications system would not work when power was lost. 
     Mr. Brock suggested getting some type of maintenance program to be used on the generators ensuring they would work when needed.  Final determination from the commission body was to give Sheriff Brock, E-911 Director, County Engineer and County Administrator to meet and work things out as to who can be used as a contract maintenance programmer.  Also, Chairman Hildreth suggested a manual throw switch be put on the generators so a transfer of power can be facilitated when normal power is unavailable.  Will be addressed at a later meeting.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee reported the safe room work is progressing however the recent rainy weather has impacted the dirt work that needs to be finished.  He stated he would be 95% finished if and when he can get 3 full days of work on the area.  Everything should then be ready for building construction to start.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Brown informed the commission body that another shipment of free dog food was available but shipping cost must be borne by the county.  Cost for shipment, $100.00.  Motion to accept made and passed by unanimous vote.
     A letter of designation for ALATOM must be signed by the chairman and sent.
     1 election reimbursement check has been received.
     Liability coverage for the IDB has been worked out.  Need chairman’s signature.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Bishop reported to the commission body that he, a commissioner and the sheriff’s department had looked into the uniform bill that has been hanging since Sheriff Booker was in office.  They came to the conclusion that the procedures used for ordering those uniforms was the proper procedure for that time and it would be in the counties best interest to pay the bill as additional late charges are continuing to increase the bill.  Current payoff; $3,390.69.  Motion to approve passed by unanimous vote.
 
Cooperative District Report:
     Commissioner Andrews stated that a meeting had been scheduled for last Friday but had not been held due to lack of a quorum.
 
Commissioners Report and Comments:
     Chairman Hildreth discussed the possibility of moving the next commission meeting to 21 July.  This was recommended due to 2 of the commissioners being unavailable for the next meeting date and the need to do budget planning.  After discussion a motion was made to move the meeting to 21 July with a work session starting at 1 PM for budget hearings.  Regular meeting will commence at 5 PM.
 
News Media Comment:
     I asked Commissioner Andrews why the Cooperative District meetings were not published with a date and time so interested/concerned persons could attend.  Mr. Andrews stated that Mayor Wolff needed to answer that question as he also received short notice on the meetings.  I then asked why these meetings do not fall under the Alabama Open Meetings Act.  Mr. Andrews again referred me to Mayor Wolff.  I then asked if the Cooperative District received any public funding to which Mr. Andrews stated the Cooperative District was a stand-alone facility.  Mr. Andrews also informed me that the original money used from the city and county to get the project started had been paid back.
(Opinion:  I know the businesses within the cooperative district area receive tax abatements.  These tax abatements are a form of public tax payer’s money that is being diverted from our city/county funds therefore it appears to me the Cooperative District is indeed receiving public funds and therefore meetings should be publicized and open to the public.)
 

Adjourn:  Motion to adjourn approved at 9:35 AM by unanimous vote.   


























































































City Council 5 July 2016
 
Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order by Mayor Wolff at 6 PM.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved by unanimous vote after one addition (executive session).
 
There were no reports or comments from the Mayor.
 
Previous minutes were approved as read.
 
Old Business:
     Mediacom will be coming to the Carver Rec Center tomorrow to check on installing WIFI. 
     Council person Upton also wants Mediacom to speak to Dr. Byrd about putting in WIFI at the new B. O. E. building.
     Council person Harris and a couple of city employees are going to Sam’s Club tomorrow (6 July) to see what entertainment games are available for the Rec Center.
 
New Business:
     Transformer Training class in Destin FL 15-17 August will be attended by Superintendent Adams and Electrical employee Bethune.  Total cost for class, transportation and housing, $2,975.00.
     A host agency agreement with Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission dealing with the senior citizen nutrition program was approved.
   
Committee Reports:
     Council person Upton, on behalf of B. O. E. Superintendent Byrd and Sheriff Brock, asked permission to use the airport as a site to hold their back to school bash.  To be held 30 July from 10-2.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
     Council person Fountain asked why the city was paying for a staffing firm for 1 employee.  Both the staffing firm and the employee were hired without council’s approval.  Ms. Fountain went on to question Interim City Clerk Hinson why this person was hired and that her name was not one on the list given to him. 
     Mr. Hinson replied she had been hired for Human Relations and elections, she is hired under a 4 month agreement and after the elections she will be gone.
     Ms. Fountain countered with questions about Mr. Hinson's capability.  She wants to know why a city employee must be paid overtime to take minutes at council meetings when Mr. Hinson, the Interim City Clerk, is in attendance.
     Ms. Fountain also questioned why Mr. Hinson, who was originally hired to get the budget prepared for the auditing firm of Meadows & Meadows, had not completed that task.  She pointed out he had been on his job for a year and seems to have accomplished nothing.
 
     Council person Harris stated she was appalled by the recent charges submitted from a trip by Economic Development Director, Bobby Skipper.  She noted charges were submitted without proper documentation, charges were duplicated and in her opinion, excessive.  She remarked that it struck her as extremely unusual that a $118.00 receipt for a meal and a $118.00 receipt for room service at the same time were submitted.
     Council person Upton stated the charges should not have come to the city and the city has been paid back by the Cooperative District. 
     Attorney Hartley stated the charges should not have been placed on a city credit card.  Mr. Hartley noted there was a problem with the way the Economic Director kept and submitted his receipts and he would be happy to attend a Cooperative District meeting to explain.  Council person Harris noted she would also like to attend the next Cooperative District meeting and asked when it was scheduled.
     Mayor Wolff advised Council person Harris and Mr. Hartley the Cooperative District met on an “as needed” basis, there are no scheduled meetings.  He stated he thought the next meeting may be this Friday, 8 July.  Mayor Wolff added that $252,000.00 had been deposited in the Cooperative District’s account in 2012.
 
Executive Session:
     Motion made to go into executive session.  Council person Fountain and Harris noted they were only going into executive session to discuss economic development; there would be no discussion of good name and character or of the expenses from the recent trip by Mr. Skipper.
     Executive session approved by a vote of 3 ayes, 2 abstentions.  Council person’s Harris and Fountain did not vote.
Start:  6:32 PM
End:   7:05 PM
 
Upon return to regular session the council voted to approve accounts payable.
 
     Mr. Skipper stated there were 3 clients looking at possibly locating in Evergreen.  He also stated another lot had been sold in the Liberty Hill development area.  Another restaurant is coming.  Supposedly another non-restaurant business is coming to Exit 96 too.
 

Adjourn:  7:08 PM



Commission Meeting 27 June 2016
 
Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Hildreth, pray and pledge led by Commissioner Hildreth.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll /Personnel report showed no changes in personnel but 12 hours of overtime needed approval.  4 hours to the animal shelter and 8 hours to the engineering department.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
There were no claims over the prescribed limit.
 
EMA Director:
     Mr. Johnny Brock advised he had some state FEMA agreements that need the chairman’s signature.  Approved for signature.
     Mr. Brock advised the commission body that he, as a certified local emergency manager, qualified the county to receive a $10,000.00 funding from the state provided the chairman signed his paperwork.  Mission accomplished.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee brought forth a petition request to vacate a road in District 3.  This road has not received any upkeep from the county well in excess of 20 years and the current landowners on each side of the road aske it be vacated.  Permission grated by the commission body to commence paperwork required to complete the request.  Mr. Foshee advised there must be a public hearing held prior to any action taken.
     Mr. Foshee, as part of his preparation for potential bad weather, advised the commission body his department, coupled with the district road crews, will provide the “push and shove” movement of debris for the county.  Other companies will handle the debris removal.
     A bid opening was conducted at 5:30 PM for the purpose of surface treatment.  Two companies sent in bids, S & C Materials and Charles Watts.  Low bidder was Charles Watts and they were given the contract after proper voting.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Ruby Strong, County Administrator Pro Tem, informed the commission a payment invoice (should be the final payment) for the work done to the DHR building had been submitted.  Total amount $7,835.60.  Approved for payment.
     Ms. Strong advised she was in receipt of a letter from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood dealing with the roof warranty on the DHR building.  There is a basic 20 year warranty in effect.
     Ms. Strong pointed out the budget for mapping was in the commissioner’s packet.  After review it was determined there were unanswered questions and it would be tabled until the next meeting.
     A recommendation from Maintenance man Harper dealing with the kitchen and dining room area in DHR was also tabled until further information could be ascertained. 
     Ms. Straughn informed the commission body that Mr. Harper with the maintenance department reported that 2 of the fresh air pumps were down and in need of belt replacement.  There are a total of 6 fans and it was determined that all 6 belts should be replaced to prevent this problem from occurring.
     Chairman Hildreth, in conjunction with the Administrator’s report, noted he had been advised the camera system in the Government Center was not functioning.  An estimated cost of $650.00 has been submitted for repairs.  $650.00 estimate approved by the governing body.
 
County Attorney:
     Anthony Bishop, County Attorney, stated he had nothing to add other than note the letter he had submitted requesting and executive session.
 
There was no report from the Cooperative District Meeting.
 
Commissioner Comments:
     Commissioner Cook asked the county attorney as to what legal steps were needed to move the Wooten Voting Center to the China School.  When this move gets completed a determination will be made as to how to handle the building that had been in use at Wooten.
      A short discussion of some departments getting close on their budgets and how to handle this ensued.  It was determined there will be a budget meeting after the next regular commission/E-911 meeting.
 
There were no news media comments.
 
Motion to go into executive session to discuss Economic Development was approved unanimously by voice vote.
Executive session commenced with Dr. John Johnson present.
Dr. Johnson left after approximately 25 minutes.
Executive session continued until 6:45 PM.

Return to regular session followed by motion to adjourn approved at 6:45 PM.







Council mtg. 21 June 2016
 
Invocation by Mike Lanier.
 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
All present for roll call.
 
The agenda was approved.
 
Mayor’s report and comments:
     The recognition plaque for Ms. P. J. Stallworth is in and looks good.
 
Previous minutes of the meeting of 7 June 2016 were approved as read.
 
Old Business:
1.     Interim City Clerk Mike Hinson was notified on 15 June that Allied Fencing of Dothan did not have the proper business license needed to enter into a contract with the city to install the ballfield fences.  Superintendent Sullivan suggested that the fencing be rebid considering we had not entered into a contract.  This suggestion was approved by unanimous vote.
2.    Superintend Sullivan noted that we are in the time zone for strong winds and bad storms that leave debris scattered about.  In the past good meaning individuals and companies have pitched in to help clean up this debris but, unfortunately damage to city property such as sidewalks and curbs has occurred.  My Sullivan recommends using only one contractor for debris removal.  Motion to approve unanimous.
3.     The advertisement for repair to Miller-Sellers Drive has been let, bid opening will be 25 July at 2 PM.
 
New Business:
1.     A request to hire K & O Sound & Music & Lights to provide entertainment for 4 July celebration was approved at a cost of $175.00.
2.     A request to use the Evergreen Airport on 3 September for a Fairview Community reunion was approved.
3.     CDBG invoices for the sewer improvement project were approved as requested.
4.     An ordinance setting both qualification fees and residency requirements was introduced.  Council person Harris questioned the requirement for qualification fees.  Attorney Hartley explained and showed that qualification fees were a state requirement, as well as residency.  The ordinance set qualification fees at $50.00.  Motion to approve by Council persons Upton and Skinner.  Vote results; 3 ayes; 2 abstain.  Council persons Harris and Fountain abstained.
5.     Interim Clerk Mike Hinson asked that a resolution allowing a bank account for CDBG projects be opened.  Passed by unanimous vote.
6.     A resolution to rename Middleton Field, (as adopted at a July 2015) meeting was made.  Name change to Evergreen Regional Airport approved by unanimous vote.
 
Committee Reports:
     Council person Harris reports that a large influx of people are now using the Carver Recreation Center and a need for additional part time help is needed.  Motion made and approved to hire additional help.
     Council person Harris also asked that wifi be installed at the Rec. Center.  Approved.
     Ms. Harris also asked for $2,500.00 to purchase games and activities for the younger people that attend Carver.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
     Council Person Fountain issued a personal thank you to Superintendent Sullivan for his efforts in keeping the streets within her district in such a good state of repair.  Council person Harris echoed Ms. Fountains statement.
 
     Mayor Wolff announced upgrades to Everfun Park.  New mulch chips are ordered and on their way and the swings have been repaired.
 
Accounts Payable was approved by unanimous vote.
 
A motion to go into executive session to discuss numerous items including economic development, good name and character, etc was approved at 6:27 PM.  Dr. John Johnson, Coastal Gateway was in attendance for approximately 15 minutes of the executive session and after his leaving both the interim clerk and Ms. Terri Nobles (on hand to take minutes of the meeting) were asked to leave.
 
Regular session was reconvened at 7:12 PM.
 

Motion to Adjourn at 7:13 PM approved.





Conecuh County Commission Meeting 13 June 2016
 
Call to order at 9 AM by Chairman Hildreth who led both the invocation and pledgte.
 
Roll Call showed all commissioners present.
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved as published.
 
Payroll/Personnel:
     1 New hire as a Jail C. O.
     There were 61 hours of Overtime.  5 from the jail, 24 from District 3 and 32 from District 4.
     Motion to accept made and seconded followed by unanimous vote.
     It was noted that job descriptions will be done in September with assistance from Auburn.
 
Claims Approval:
     5 claims above the limit were submitted under the general claims and 2 claims above the limit were submitted under the gasoline fund.
 
Cara Stallman, Grant Writer:
     Ms. Stallman reported she had a resolution dealing with water infrastructure in the SouthWest water system that needed approval.  This deals with the 3” to 6” line expansion discussed at previous meetings.  SouthWest will be putting $50,000.00 into the matching funds portion, the county will put in $50,000.00 also.  Total amount of county and Federal monies for the project is $350,000.00.
     Ms. Stallman was asked how Conecuh’s commission body and their support of water projects compared to other counties.  Ms. Stallman stated no other county supports their water vendors as well as Conecuh.
 
     Ms. Stallman reported on the saferoom currently under construction.  There are some invoices that need approval and approval for newspaper advertising needs completing.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee reported he had a check in the amount of $46,154.30 in hand.  This is the FEMA percentage pay for the December disasters suffered by the county.  Mr. Foshee also stated he expected a check from the state to be provided soon.
 
     Mr. Foshee explained there had been some problems encountered with the excavation portion of the saferoom project but he expected to have all of these overcome by the end of the month and be prepared to go forward with the construction.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Ruby Straughn, County Administrator ProTem  informed the commission body that a resolution dealing with a bond issue with the Board of Education needed adopting.  Motion made, seconded and passed by unanimous vote.
 
     A letter from the state audit board has been received and requires acknowledgement by the chairman.  Letter advises of the upcoming audit.  Motion to allow chairman to sign made, seconded and passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop reported on the ongoing situation with Leo’s Uniforms.  This is a company the previous sheriff supposedly entered into an agreement with to furnish 3 officers uniforms.  This goes back to a 2012 timeframe with the initial invoice being $2,100.00.  There was never a P. O. issued, the bill has not been paid (even after 2 letters from the attorney being sent to Leo’s) and now the bill has climbed too $3,336.24. 
     It was agreed by the commission body that current Sheriff Brock discuss this purchase with his Chief Deputy and see what we can do to put it to rest.
 
     Sheriff Brock used this occasion to ask for permission to order a new printer.  There was a high dollar lease for a previous printer but that lease has been completed.  The sheriff’s department is using a printer now that does not fit their purpose completely.  Sheriff Brock talked of getting a new printer through a lease to purchase program.  Commissioner Millender asked if the printer could be put on hold until Ms. Brown’s return and a check be made as to what the admin offices are using for a printer system now.  This idea was accepted so standby to hear more at the next meeting.
 
There were no reports or announcements from the Cooperative District Meetings, no commissioner comments, no news media comments.
 

With no other business to come, a motion to adjourn was made and approved at 9:45 AM.




Commission Meeting 23 May 2016
 
Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Hildreth who gave the opening invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved as printed as were the previous minutes.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report:
     There was one new hire at the jail as a Corrections Officer.  There were 13 hours of overtime listed.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     There were no claims over the limit listed.
     Administrator Brown pointed out the claims listing now has E-911 information listed and E-911 bills are paid from their own funding.
 
Revenue Commissioner:
     Mr. Jimmie Bell appeared before the commission and informed them an “end of the year” tax form must be signed by the chairman and submitted.  Motion to allow Chairman Hildreth to sign and submitted passed by unanimous vote.
 
County Engineer:
     As discussed in the work session repair work to C. R. 13 was approved.  Mr. Foshee informed the commission he will have to let bids out for portions of the repair.  This was also approved.  Commission Millender again cautioned about not emptying the miscellaneous funds and suggested keeping $150,000.00 funds there.
 
     Mr. Foshee announced the safe room work is to continue.  He informed the commission that, starting Wednesday he would need 2 dump trucks to help with hauling dirt to the work site.  This will continue for approximately 1 week.  Commissioner Millender made his truck and crew available for Wednesday, as did Chairman Hildreth.  The other commissioners advised Mr. Foshee to contact them when a truck was needed and they would respond.
 
     Mr. Foshee also brought forth a “PALS” request for Adopt A Mile.  Mr. and Ms. Hodges submitted a request to adopt a portion of Wiggins Road and Mr. and Ms. Potts have adopted a portion of Jones Chapel Road.  Mr. Foshee stated he would place the appropriate signs in place.
 
County Administrators Report:
     Ms. Brown stated she had received a proposal from the current contract cleaners to do a deep cleaning and pick up the former drivers licenses office.  Commissioner Millender has looked at the space and informed the commission body the interior needs repainting.  He suggested doing an interior painting prior to incorporating the space into the cleaning schedule.  This was approved by unanimous vote.
 
     In keeping with the county incentive safety program, a safety class is available in Prattville 13 and 14 July.  A request from Sheriff Brock to allow 2 of his people to attend was approved.
 
     ATRC has submitted a letter notifying the current appointee has reached the end of their 4 year term and another name must be submitted.  Action to come.
 
     Ms. Brown noted putting the minutes from the commission and E-911 meetings had been approved.  She asked permission to put these minutes on the county website after their being approved by the commission body and not waiting until each commissioner had signed them.  This action was approved.
 
     A request to use Ms. Ruby Straughn’s stamp on check documents as needed for the next month was approved.
 
     ADEM notified the commission the solid waste management plan has been approved.
 
     Ms. Brown announced receipt of a letter from ATCA dealing with the use of the counties tax exempt number.  This evolves from a check sent to the commission body by the contractor that did the Brooklyn Water Project.  It seems the contractor was given access to the counties tax number by the county engineer.  The contractor then used the number to make tax exempt purchases during the course of work.  The main problem seems to be a lack of accountability of what was purchased under this number.
     Commissioner Andrews appeared to be upset saying the board had taken action on this issue at the last meeting.
     Commissioner Millender stated he had contacted ATCA dealing with the tax exempt usage and, although the board had taken action, improper procedures had been involved and could lead to latter legal repercussions.
     It was determined the check would be returned to the contractor who is to supply better documentation for the expenditures.
     Mr. Andrews stated that he felt the commission body should have been informed even though the information had been placed in each commissioner’s box at the office.  Mr. Andrews stated he did not get to the office on a frequent occasion anymore and he would like to have his notifications sent electronically.
     It was determined that no usage of the counties tax exempt number would be authorized by anyone until approved by the board.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Bishop noted a resolution needed to be passed for a sales tax abatement for Castleberry Wood Products.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Commissioners Comments and Announcements:
          Commissioner Andrews stated that he has received more complaints about the microphone system in the courtroom.  This has been an ongoing saga since his taking office in 2012.  It was determined to do a new evaluation on the sound system.
 
No comments from the news media:
 

Adjourn:  5:42 PM





Commission Work Session 23 May 2016
 
Work session called to order by Chairman Hildreth at 4:31 PM.
 
The only topic for discussion was road projects.
 
     County Engineer Foshee addressed the commission with the minor collector list he had brought forward at an earlier meeting.
     Mr. Foshee pointed out the top road needing rework/paving was county road 13 and he suggested going forward with this project from county funds.  He advised a miscellaneous line in the current budget held $600,000.00 and suggested this money be used for the project.
     Commissioner Millender pointed out the amount of money in the miscellaneous portion of the budget was placed there primarily to balance the budget and, in his estimations, it would be foolish to empty this portion of the budget considering we still have a long way to go before the end of the fiscal year and oil revenues are continuing their downward trend.
     Several other roads were mentioned with C. R. 85 being one of the most prominent ones.  Mr. Foshee reminded all that 85 will qualify for Federal Funds.  Mr. Foshee also advised that annually (normally around November) $550,000.00 federal funds will be given to the county for upkeep and maintenance and he proposed waiting until then to rework C. R. 85.
     After much more discussion it was determined to follow the engineers printed list for road repairs. 
     It will be addressed in the regular meeting for approval.
     Commissioner Millender again cautioned that the entire miscellaneous funds should not be emptied on this project.
 

Work session ended 4:55 PM





City Council 17 May 2016
 
Invocation given by Reverend Jimmy Taylor.
 
Call to order by Mayor Wolff at 6 PM
 
Ms. Terry Nobles was on hand to take the minutes under the supervision of the interim “City Clerk.”
 
All members present for roll call.
 
The agenda was approved as printed.
 
Mayor Report and Comments:
     Mayor Wolff discussed E-911 and the city’s position on the current manner in which it is being run.  He stressed the city had followed proper procedures to arrive in this position.
     Mayor Wolff announced $50,000.00 per council district is available for paving projects.
     The mayor stated he had looked into county oil revenues January through April and reported a total of $930,500.00 had been received.  Council person Upton pointed out that ½ that money must go to the Board of Education.  Mayor Wolff continued notice that Knoxville Road was being torn up by oil truck traffic.  Superintendent Sullivan was asked if a weight limitation could be placed on the road.  Mr. Sullivan advised it could be done but would cause excess mileage on the oil trucks.  Council person Upton stated that was not their problem.  Mr. Sullivan advised he could put out weight restriction signs but they were not being enforced on other city streets and he has no reason to expect them to be enforced there.
     Mayor Wolff questioned the city attorney as to how Evergreen, Repton, and Castleberry could get their share of oil revenues.  Attorney Hartley advised the council that any change in oil revenues would have to come from the state legislature.  Mayor Wolff stated he had been in contact with Representative Albritton who was in favor of this move.
 
   
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
 
Old Business:
     National Registry Designation for old City School.
     Report presented by Mr. Larry Ryland who stated the school has been approved by the Alabama Historical committee to be placed on their registry.  The next move is have it put on the national registry which must be approved by the National Park Service.
 
     Superintendent Jeff Sullivan gave an update on the Miller Sellers Drive Emergency project.  A request has been turned in for FEMA help on this expensive repair and it appears FEMA is going to provide some funds.  The original estimate for repairs was $392,487.00 but FEMA has added additional items they want to have placed in the project and want it downgraded from emergency repair to normal repair.  It appears the total cost will be in the vicinity $410,000.00.  Superintendent Sullivan has made temporary repair to keep the road open.
 
     An ordinance (required to maintain Arbor Day Foundation for Tree City USA) was passed by unanimous vote.
 
     Invoices for the county safe room were passed.  This is required due to the funding for the safe room having originally been a city project.
 
    Grant Writer Cara Stallman informed the council there are additional funds from FEMA for the safe room project.  She was authorized to pursue this additional funding.
 
     CDBG invoices for sewer improvements were approved.
 
New Business:
     A resolution brought by Superintendent Darrell Davis dealing with a water prevention program was approved.
 
     A request for approval for a Map Solutions Inc. invoice to include the city on the current typical map was passed by unanimous vote.  Cost $875.00 for 500 maps.
 
     It was noted the city has 3 bucket trucks, all of them in older status and filled with maintenance problems.  A consideration of purchase of a 2016, 45” boom replacement truck was approved at a cost of $120,123.00.  This will negate the current boom truck rental costing the city $3,000.00 per month.  Will be delivered 15 August 2016.  Motion to purchase was approved by vote of 4 ayes, 1 abstain, (Council person Harris).
 
Committee Reports:
     The new toilets in the part are leaking but are out of warranty.  It is hoped Skipper Construction will repair them under a “good faith” policy.
 
Accounts Payable were approved by unanimous vote.
 

Motion to adjourn approved at 6:32 PM.




E-911 Meeting 9 May 2016
 
Call to order by Commission Chairman Hildreth at 10 AM.
 
Prayer and pledge dispensed with having been covered in the Commission meeting.
 
Roll Call showed all members present (Chief Simpson arrived approximately 2 minutes late).
 
The agenda was approved by unanimous vote as were the previous meetings minutes.
 
E-911 Director Shawnee Booker passed out the audit results from last October.
She informed the commission there would be an E-911 meeting tomorrow (10 May) for the appointed committee.  Meeting to be held at 4:30 PM.
 
Some questions arose about procedures for getting on the agenda.  The proper manner is to contact Ms. Brown (County Administrator) first who will inform the Chairman and Ms. Booker.  The agenda is set at 12:00 PM on Thursday before the meeting so all items must be presented prior to then.
 
Commissioner Andrews questioned Ms. Booker asking if certain people had been in contact with her.  Answer, no.
 
It was asked if Flatrock VFD & Rescue had been in contact with Ms. Booker.  Not at this time.
 
Ms. Booker supplied the Commission body with an expenditure sheet of E-911’s monthly cost which varies from month to month.  This expenditure sheet has a signature place for the chairman to affix his name and it was requested this information be placed in the minutes of the meeting.  The expenditure sheet did not contain the salaries of the employees and Commissioner Millender asked that be included in future reports.
 
Commissioner Andrews asked about income to E-911.  His questioned centered primarily toward what contributions the City of Evergreen is making.  Even though Evergreen withdrew from the county program and now does their own police dispatching, the county still takes and dispatches calls for fire/rescue etc. within the city. 
 
Mr. Andrews asked the county attorney about the contract(s) between the city and county.  There were 2 separate contracts.  The first required withdrawal notification from the city X number of days before the city terminated their participation in E-911.  The second contract relieved the city of having to make any notification.  Mr. Andrews seemed rather irate over this saying it was costing the county an additional $9,500.00 per month because of Evergreen’s non-participation.
 
County Attorney Bishop responded that both contracts had been written quite some time back and were both written and adopted near the same time by the then E-911 board.  Mr. Andrews stated that was during the Larry Ryland time on the board and seemed in some fashion to hold Mr. Ryland accountable for these poorly written documents.
 

Final outcome. have Mr. Bishop contact and discuss with City Attorney Hartley some manner of getting a portion of the E-911 bill paid via city funds.






Conecuh County Commission 9 May 2016
 
     Before we start the commission report let me share with you the oil revenues from the month of April……………$172,000.00.  This sounds like a lot of money but remember, this must be evenly split with the Board of Education.  Also, keep in mind the county budget was put into effect with planning of $150,000.00 per month in oil revenues being needed to maintain the budget.  Yep, short another month.  Stand by for budget cuts.
 
 
Call to order by Chairman Hildreth at 9 AM
 
Prayer offered by County Engineer Foshee, followed by the pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll Call:  All members present
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved as read.
 
Payroll/Personnel:
     1 Separation from the sheriff’s department.
     37.25 hours of overtime for approval.
     Payroll/personnel report approved as read.
 
Claims Approval:
     General Funds:  Over $500.00.  3 claims submitted over the limit.
     Gasoline Funds:  1 Claim over the $3,000.00 limit.  $12,650.70 forculverts.  (Only 1 month ago a claim for $17,000.00 in culverts was approved.  What do we need all these culverts for?  Easy, election time vote buying.  Remember folks, those are your tax dollars and if you’ll note the opening statement about the loss of oil revenue you should get downright mad.  Amazingly there have been very few culverts purchased until we get into the short hairs of the election.)
 
Public Hearing for CDBG Application: 
     A public hearing was conducted dealing with a CDBG program to replace 3” water line in the Southwest Water Authority District with 6” line.  This is a good thing because a 3” line cannot support a fire hydrant.  There are currently 13 hydrants planned in this upgrade.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee discussed road improvements on the list of minor collectors he passed out last month.  He stated $500,000.00 in funds was available from the state, it requires a 20% match from the county.  Mr. Foshee recommended C. R.’s 32 and 85 receive first consideration.  A resolution accepting this proposal was passed by unanimous vote.
     Mr. Foshee said local funds were available for C. R. 13 and suggested the $600,000.00 placed in the budget be used to do C. R. 13 now.  Commissioner Millender suggested no funding for this project be approved until a work session has been held to discuss it further.  Will be on the next work session agenda.
     Mr. Foshee spoke on “prescriptive right of way.”  He informed the commission that “right of way” on several of the county's roads varies in manner due to private property.  Some roads will have more right of way than others but a provision must be made to set rules for who can claim property in what are now county roads.  A motion was made to allow Mr. Foshee and County Attorney Bishop to work of a solution to this situation.
     Mr. Foshee pointed out the truck used to transport inmates is having problems and wishes to swap it out with the truck used by the Government Center maintenance crew as their truck is not as prone to problems.  (My solution is, take one of the 16 new trucks bought by the county and now being taken home by county workers and give it as transportation for the inmate crew.  I stated many times it is nothing more than an abuse of the tax payers dollars for all the road crews and engineer crews to be furnished transport to and from home and used as personal vehicle for shopping, etc.)
 
County Administrator’s Report:
     A $13,000.00 refund check has been received thanks to the safety committee efforts.  Kudos to Johnny Brock and his group.
     There was also an $11,540.00 reimbursement check from the contractor of the Brooklyn Water Project.  This check was sent to the Commission as a refund due to the contractor being able to use the county's tax exempt program for buying items needed in the project.  Commissioner Millender was the first to question this action and asked who approved this procedure noting this could create problems during any audit’s coming from the state.
     County Engineer Foshee admitted he had given the contractor the county's tax exempt number allowing them to purchase the items. 
     County Administrator Brown informed the commission that in 2015 a provision was made that the county could allow a contractor to use the counties number but it must be approved prior to giving it out.  Ms. Brown said she had discussed this situation with the current auditor and had been assured no problems would arise from this but for future reference, it must be approve prior to allowing anyone to have that number.
     (In my opinion this could result in potential kickbacks to unscrupulous persons gaining a windfall from some of our grant projects.  Thank goodness this contractor was not of that ilk and, I wonder if this could have happened in the past.  If the county commission is to make decisions about the spending and use of our tax dollars and tax exempt number no one else should be able to share it.  Some control of this number and who is allowed to share it must be put in place.)
     Ms. Brown offered a suggestion that both commission and E911 meeting minutes be placed on the county website when approved and made available.  This suggestion was placed in the form of a motion and passed by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown noted she had been approached by 2 department heads asking to be able to shift line item money to a different area allowing them to purchase need items for operation.  No action taken on this issue.  Will wait for budget review.
 
County Attorney Bishop had nothing to report.
 
Cooperative District Meeting Report:
     Commissioner Cook, a new member of this board, reported that at a meeting on 27 April the board agreed to go into a new bond issue for $4 million dollars.  This new bond is to be used to pay off old debts and put more into the growing Liberty Hill project.  Mr. Cook said current projections sow the revenue generated should cover the cost of this bond issue.
 
Commissioner Comments and Announcements:  None
 
News Media:  Nothing
 
Adjourn:  9:50 AM




Council Meeting Update.

     I have been informed the $25,000.00 approved for expenditure at the 3 May Council meeting was pledged for an Economic Development Program not for publication at this time.
     Hopefully this will clear things up for some of my readers.
Thanks



City Council 3 May 2016
 
Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier
 
Call to order by Mayor Wolff at 6:01 PM.
 
Roll Call showed all members present.
 
The agenda was approved as written.
 
Mayor’s Comments:
     Love's Truck Stop is expanding.  They have purchased more land.
 
Previous minutes:
     Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Old Business:
     Based on a resolution of public nuisance and notice to owners of unsafe structures, Compliance Officer Bobby McNeil has issued notice to the owner of 404 Magnolia Avenue.  Council person Harris asked for an extension of time to allow the owner to bring things better up to par.  This request has been granted.
 
     Magnolia Apartments:
     Superintendent Jeff Sullivan gave a report on the demolition progress.  6 of the old apartments are on the ground.  The goal is to take out 2 per month.  A salvage operation to save the bricks for use in erosion control problems is ongoing.
 
New Business:
1.        Superintendent Sullivan noted the Arbor Day Foundation has designated Evergreen as a member of Tree City USA, the 28th continuous year Evergreen has so been recognized.  There are only 3,500 cities in the nation to receive this designation.
2.        Mr. Sullivan also noted there have been changes made that will require Evergreen to pass an ordinance establishing guidelines so they will be eligible to continue receiving this award in the future.
3.        Current CPA/City Clerk Mike Hinson requested the city pay for a continuing education course through a UNA Governmental Auditing Seminar to be held 27-30 June.  Estimated cost voucher for travel and course $1,200.00.  No need for hotel cost as he will stay at his other house.  Request did not move forward due to a lack of motion.
 
Committee Reports:
     Mr. Sullivan reported temporary repair has been done to Miller-Sellers Road to allow continued usage.  There has been a grant request submitted and returned for additional information, which is in work.
     Council person Upton thanked Mr. Sullivan for the cleanup he had done to Hwy. 31.
 
Accounts Payable:
     Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Executive Session:  6:17 
Regular Session:  7:13
 
     After executive session a motion was made to spend 25% of $100,000.00 on a project discussed with Coastal Gateway representative Dr. John Johnson while in executive session.  Motion approved by unanimous vote.  No report as to what these tax payer funds were spent on.
 

Adjourn:  7:14





Commission Mtg. 25 April 2016               
 
     Call to order by Chairman Hildreth, opening invocation given by Mr. Mike Lanier followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
     Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Personnel/Payroll Report:
     There were 2 separations, 1 from the commission office and 1 from the jail.  One promotion in the commission office.  There were 28 hours of overtime, all in District Five.  Report approved by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Straughn, payroll officer, announced the tax revenue office had a new “certified” appraiser on board.  The test results are in and she passed first time.
 
Revenue Commissioner:
     Mr. Jimmy Bell confirmed his newest employ and former appraiser trainee had passed the test first time through, a virtually unheard of accomplishment.  Mr. Bell reminded the commissioners they had agreed to a pay raise for her based on when she passed the test and that goal had been met on 18 March.  It was determined by unanimous vote her pay raise was to be retroactive to that date.
     Mr. Bell also asked that some money be figured into a possible part time hire for a tax appraiser.  He noted he had been notified that for the first time in 30 years or so that new appraisal changes are coming down from the state.
     STAND BY FOR A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE PEOPLE AND IT WON’T DO ANY GOOD TO YELL AT THE REVENUE OFFICER, HE CAN’T HELP IT.
 
Grant Writer:
     Ms. Cara Stallman announced bids for the safe house construction had been opened on11 April.  Of the 5 qualified bids, the lowest one belonged to Development Construction cooperation.  It came in at $900,637.00.  Ms. Stallman announced there was a possibility of getting more Federal grant money for this project.  She asked the commission body to accept the low bid and also allow her to attempt to get additional funds.  Both motions passed by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Stallman is also working on a water line improvement in the Southwest Water Authority; this will improve the line size from 3” to 6”.  With a 6” line real fire hydrants can be installed and should help get the insurance rates lowered for homeowners.
 
EMA Director:
     Mr. Johnny Brock was next on the agenda.  He reported the Repton Police Department had received a $6,000.00 + grant for radio upgrade.  As per usual, this grant must be made through the EMA office and must be overseen by the commission body with the equipment being inventoried and issued through the county.
     Mr. Brock also announced 2 upcoming conferences he normal attends.  He stated he had money in his budget to cover the expenses but need the Administrator to coordinate hotel arrangements
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee announced that dirt hauling for the Johnsonville Fire Department had been started and should finish tomorrow (25 April).
     Mr. Foshee also noted that our dozier is in need of some undercarriage work.  Although it is an older model dozier, with the rework it should continue to serve the county for several more years.  Cost of rework by John Deere, $8,500.00.  Commission body in agreement to have the work performed.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Stephanie Brown informed the commission she needed some assistance with bond issue items until she can get up to speed on it.  Currently the county is paying $2,000.00 per month to an auditing firm.  This firm has agreed, for an additional $300.00 per month, to help get Ms. Brown up to speed.  The commission body approved this by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Brown advised the commission Mr. Willie Johnson, Maintenance Crewman, has submitted a letter of retirement to the commission.  He will be retiring 31 August 2016.  This request was approved unanimously.
     The driver licenses office will close in the court house effective 28 April.  They will relocate to the State Trooper Office just off Liberty Hill Drive.
     Starting on 2 May state auditors will be on hand looking things over.
     Ms. Brown stated she had meet with Department Heads as requested by the commission at the last meeting.  The meeting purpose was to look for cutbacks to the budget due to low oil revenue income.  She advised the commission no Department Head could give up anything in their budgets.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop advised he has a final agreement with Castleberry Wood Product and the Department of Revenue.
 
Commissioners Comments:
     Chairman Hildreth announced that Mr. Carl Turman, a commissioner in Covington County, had passed away.
     Mr. Andrews tried to hem Commissioner Millender up about the previously discussed Cooperative District Board needing an additional member.  Commission Millender pointed out that at the last meeting Mr. Cook was to take the job under consideration.  Final tally, Mr. Cook goes on this board.
 
There were no news media comments:
 

Adjourn:  6:10 PM




Election Runoff Results of 12 April 2016





































Conecuh County Commission Meeting 11 April 2016

 

     Call to order by Chairman Hildreth at 9 AM.  Opened with prayer by Mr. Hildreth followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

     Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda was approved as printed and the previous minutes were approved as read.

 

Payroll/Personnel Report:

     There were no personnel changes.  41 hours of overtime was approved by unanimous vote.

 

Claims Approval:

     There were 8 claims over the $500.00 general fund, and 4 claims over the $3,000.00 limit in the gasoline fund.  This included $17,000.00 for culverts and $49,000.00 in election cost.

 

Solid Waste Plan:

     Mr. Cole Robinson representing Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood presented the final analysis of the solid waste plan that will give us 10 years of coverage.  The need for a resolution to adopt the plan was offered by Commissioner Andrews/2 by Commissioner Cook and passed by unanimous vote.

 

Revenue Office:

     Mr. Jimmy Bell came before the commission body to discuss the need to continue the employment of Mr. Rufus Kervin as the current appraiser until our recent graduate can complete her qualifying test for certification.  Mr. Bell stated that it was not unusual for a person to have to take that test more than once and numerous counties actually had an appraiser that was not certified.

     It was determined Mr. Bell needed to decide by the next meeting what he deemed fair for Mr. Kervin and re-introduce his solution.

 

Safe House Grant Info:

    Cara Stallman, Grant Writer, advised bids for the safe house will be opened Thursday at 2 PM, currently there are 7 bids in hand.

     A grant extension was applied for and granted until May 2017.

     Ms. Stallman is also working on CDBG grants to change 3” water pipe to 6” pipe.  This will improve fire-fighting capabilities.

 

Dinosaur Park:

     Mr. Kent Hovind, a creation science evangelist was scheduled to speak however he was not on hand.  Speaking on his behalf, Commissioner Andrews announced Mr. Hovind’s intentions are to purchase land at exit 77 and erect a dinosaur park there.  He plans on building this display on serval acres of land there and will include a paved drive and parking area.  As of this time he is not asking for anything from the county.

 

Sheriff Randy Brock was not available for his spot on the agenda.

 

EMA Report:

     Mr. Johnny Brock was unavailable for this meeting but had passed to Administrator Brown information about continuing safety meetings.  He also suggested a monthly safety inspection be done on county buildings.  Inspections are to be completed by the maintenance staff, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Harper.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Foshee informed that work on the safe room started today.   Naturally the first thing to be handled is the huge sink hole in the property.

     Commissioner Cook asked Mr. Foshee when the weed/grass mowing would start.  Mr. Foshee responded that he was waiting for grass to peak out in height before doing the first mowing.  It was also suggested some spraying may be needed in certain areas.

 

County Admin Report:

     Ms. Stephanie Brown, County Administrator reported a public meeting of the Historic Commission will take place in Montgomery on 28 April at 10:30 AM dealing with the Evergreen City School.

     She reported that the hiring of election helpers cost $1,575.00 per day.  They were on hand for the primaries and will be on hand for the runoff.

     The Animal Shelter has some items they wish to have declared surplus.  Approved by unanimous vote.

     Ms. Brown has a support letter from Phillips Communication in hand.  (Radios)

 

County Attorney:

     Mr. Bishop informed the Department of Revenue did not like some of the language in the Castleberry Wood Products abatement agreement.  It will be redone and he will report in 2 weeks.

 

Commissioners Comments:

     Commissioner Cook spoke of a C. A. R. E. S. program for elderly services.  This is a program through ATRC dealing with needs of our elderly population.  It is requested that each commission body contribute to it and through this program items of need can be purchased.  This program will help those in need that cannot receive assistance through the commission body.

     A motion to contribute $1,000.00 to this fund was approved by unanimous vote.

     Commissioner Johnny Andrews told the commission body he had been approached by the brother of a deceased individual asking for the indigent burial money of $300.00.

No other information was forthcoming but if the deceased person has family members they cannot be consider indigent.  Burial arraignments fall upon the remaining family members.

     Commissioner Andrews discussed membership on the Cooperative District Board of which he is the only county representative.  At one time Commissioner McCreary served on that board and resigned from it, same story for Engineer Foshee. 

     Andrews suggested and made a motion that EMA Director Johnny Brock be placed on the board.  During discussion Commissioner Millender suggested the commission body consider placing a non-county employee on the board so they would not feel intimidated or pressured to vote in the manner of a commissioner on that board.  (Remove any sign of possible impropriety).

     It was suggested Commissioner Cook be placed on the board.  Mr. Cook forwarded several arguments that he did not wish to be on the board but in the end he said he would consider it and give his answer at the next meeting.

     Issue was tabled until the next meeting.

 

News Media:  No comments

 

10:05  A motion to move into executive session was approved by unanimous voice vote.

10:33  Motion to resume regular meeting approved.

 

Adjourn:  10:35







Commission Meeting 28 March 2016

 

Called to order by Chairman Hildreth at 5 PM.  Prayer offered by Commissioner Andrews followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Payroll/Personnel Report:

     One new hire in the sheriff’s department and one separation from the jail department.  There were 15.5 overtime, probate office 9 hours, jail 6.5 hours.

   

Claims Approval:

     There were no over the limit claims for approval.

 

Retirement Resolution for County Administrator Judy Covan:

     Chairman Hildreth asked for and received approval for a resolution in honor of Ms. Judy Covan’s 17 years, 5 months service to the Commission.  Ms. Covan is retiring at the end of the month after her faithful service.  Best wishes, good luck and grateful thanks to Ms. Covan.

 

Sheriff Brock:

     Sheriff Brock was unable to be on hand but had asked incoming County Administrator Stephanie Brown to represent his request to the commission.  Sheriff Brock has 2 deputies he wishes to send to SWAT training class at a cost of $375.00 each.  He also requested approval to send 2 corrections officers to jail training, cost $150.00 each.  Both request were approved.

 

EMA:

     EMA Director Johnny Brock reported that this has been an unusual and crazy weather season.  He stated he had been contacted by the National Weather Service after the last round of storms.  The NWS informed Mr. Brock they were coming down to take a look at the damage areas and see if there had actually been tornado activity involved.  After their examination it was determined 2 tornados had passed through Conecuh, one on the south end and one on the upper end.  They were rated as tornados but had a 0 category rating.

 

County Engineer’s Report:

     Mr. Foshee passed out an updated call out list.  He was asked to see that E-911 got a copy as well as all fire department chiefs. 

     Mr. Foshee reported he had been contacted by Mr. Frank Jones, Johnsonville Fire Chief, asking for county help in re-constructing the pad for a Johnsonville Fire Department.  Mr. Foshee advised he had talked with the county attorney and the assistance being asked for was permitted under the code of Alabama.  All commissioners agreed to help in any manner possible.

     Commissioner McCreary’s district had the call out duty when the last bad weather came through and he wanted to thank all the commissioners who had responded to his call for help.

 

County Administrator’s Report:

     There is a scheduled ALATOM meeting to be held in Demopolis AL. on 13 April.  It was requested anyone going give notice.  It appears Commissioners Millender and McCreary will represent Conecuh.

     The scheduled “Back to School” tax abatement is scheduled for 5-7 August.  This met with approval by the commission body.

     The commission was in receipt of a letter from Mr. Sonny Braswell asking them to support a tax increase in gasoline taxes.  The commission agreed to send a response in support of this request.

     Conversations with the city were conducted dealing with the pending “safe room” construction and grant.  The grant was originally a city grant passed to the county.  Monetary pay offs and reimbursements must be made through the city.  It was determined an independent bank account be established so the grant return money can be better tracked.

     Maintenance Supervisor Harper was called on to give a report dealing with a recent inspection.  Mr. Harper reported:

     DHR building needs some new floor tiles, ceiling tiles and sheet rock.  He recommends getting outside company to do floor tiles.

     David Burt Building has a safety door that is partially blocked, must be cleared. 

     Animal Shelter is OK safety inspection wise but is a filthy mess.  Mr. True, inspecting individual, stated the Animal Shelter was unsanitary due to poop and smell.  He stated it may well be best to shut it down and that it may well be uninsurable.  The response from the Animal Shelter employees was “they are short-handed.”

     A discussion ensued as to the responsibility for cleanliness, either a community action group or the county were accountable.  Commissioner Millender asked to check the handbook and contract for clarification.

     There must be a written response to the inspecting organization within 60 days on problem items.

     There was a $31,947.31 pay application due Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood dealing with the DHR building work.  This was approved by unanimous vote.

     The subject of stripping the downstairs floors, stairs and landing was brought forth from last meeting.  It was determined the county should go for the “full” works which will include stripping the above mentioned items plus moving out the large, heavy desk and other items so a fresh coat of wax can be put back in place.  Total cost: $5494.44 approved.

    Ms. Covan pointed out that bank signatories needed to be changed.  It was approved to be handled by the admin staff.

 

County Attorney Bishop had nothing to add.

 

Commissioner Comments:  None

 

No News Media Comments:

 

Adjourn at 6:10 PM




Commission Work Session 28 March 2016

 

The entire work session was geared toward the budget and where the county stood to date.

 

The budget is at or over on most counts as of now.

 

Commissioner Millender pointed out the oil revenues are below the amount they needed to maintain the current budget and urged action be taken now.

 

Commissioner Millender asked how the current culvert pipes are being charged.  Mr. Foshee responded that in the past the pipes had been billed as either driveway or highway pipes but that designation is no longer in play, they are billed as highway pipe only as of now.

 

Commissioner Millender also questioned the engineer as to how money for some paving work could be found.  Mr. Foshee responded that $710,000.00 had been programmed for paving projects.

 

Final determination, the budget must be amended.  The administration department was directed to meet with all department heads with an eye on where their budgets could be cut.  Report due at next meeting.




Commission Meeting 14 March 2016

 

Call to order by Chairman Hildreth at 9 AM.  Prayer offered by County Engineer Foshee followed by the pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll call showed all members present.

 

     The agenda and three sets of previous minutes from both regular and special call meetings were approved as read.

 

Payroll/personnel report:

     Shows 3 new hires, 1 corrections officer, 1 deputy and 1 in the commission office.  There were 68.75 hours of overtime approved.  Probate Office had 3.75; Jail 5; Engineering 40; District One 12 and District Two 8.  Most overtime was the result of the tornado/inclement weather.  The payroll/personnel report was approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Commissioner Millender questioned how things were coming with the Government Economic Development group from Auburn who is putting together a combination of job descriptions, pay plans, personnel and employee handbooks.  Ms. Straughn reported the work was in progress and the contracted amount ($26,838.02) would be paid in 4 quarterly payments starting in October.  The entire packet is expected to be completed by July 2017.  Commissioner Andrews questioned as to the amount of pay to Webb and Elly (Attorney Firm) that had originally been involved in re-writing the handbooks.  Response, $2,000.00.

 

Claims approval:

     There were 9 claims over the $500.00 limit in the general fund and 1 claim over the $3,000.00 limit in the gasoline fund.  All claims approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Grant writer Cara Stallman was next on the agenda with a report dealing with the safe house.  Ms. Stallman called on the engineering consultant. 

     There were some questions forwarded about the “in-kind” work which appears to favor the county.  There were also some questions dealing with the payments and grant returns going through the city.  (This was originally a city project that the county agreed to undertake therefore all monies, payment and grant, must go through the city).

     When the issues were answered it was determined and voted on to allow bid advertising to be posted.  Advertising will appear in the paper on 20 and 27 March along with 3 April.  This advertising must be posted locally and also in 3 major newspapers.  A bid opening date was scheduled for 14 April.

 

DHR Building Update:

     Mr. David Langford with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood reported the DHR roof was on the verge of completion.  There was to be a meeting and walk through with Mr. Ben Harper, county maintenance man, and a final “punch list” would be created and completed. 

     The roof will have a 5 year installer warranty and a 20 year no dollar limit warranty.  Mr. Langford assured the commission body the warranties will be observed, they will not turn their backs and walk away.  The warranty will not start until the final inspection is complete.  Mr. Langford expects the warranty to start when considered complete (within the next 2-3 days).

 

Sheriff Brock Report:

     Sheriff was unavailable.

 

EMA Director Report:

     Mr. Johnny Brock noted that although he had been out of area at the previous meeting he was pleased to see the mass communications notification contract was approved at the previous meeting.  This is the service paid for that send telephone notification out when areas within the county are threatened by inclement weather.  It was duly noted that during the tornado that struck Johnsonville telephone notification was sent. 

     Mr. Brock also negotiated a new CHEAPER contract for this service.  The county is now paying $3,500.00 per year and, based on Mr. Brock’s statements, that contract can be renewed 3 more times at the same price.  Good Job.

 

     County Administrator Judy Covan also presented a check to the commission from the ACCA based on EMA’s safety rating.  Another Good Job by Mr. Brock.

 

     Mr. Brock addressed the commission body about getting some promo items for his department to pass out.  He stated he had programmed for this in his budget and has the money (estimated $750.00) to cover the expenses.  The commission body approved this request by unanimous vote.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Winston Foshee brought forth a petition to vacate (close) county responsibility for the upkeep of Cleter Lane, a road in District 3.  All land owners are in agreement.  Motion to vacate made and approved by unanimous vote.

     Mr. Foshee noted that in 2010 the commission had established a public road list by district.  He noted that Blair Road (a road off Merritt road) had become a public road.

     Mr. Foshee noted that, under the Federal Aid Route County Road 47 from the Beat 8 Fire Department to the county line had been the only road that needed completion.  This is the end of ATRIP money and will require a 20% match of approximately $104,000.00 to resurface approximately 6 miles.  Motion made and passed by unanimous vote to complete this road.

 

County Administrator Report:

     Ms. Stephanie Brown, incoming County Administrator, reported the annual renewal of the ABC memo was due.  There were no changes; the county is at the maximum it can receive from the ABC sales.  Renewal approved by unanimous vote.  It was reported the quarterly sales tax abatement for the Shrimp Basket (approximately $3,000.00) and the Food Depot (approximately $8,500.00) needed approval.  Motion made and passed unanimously.

 

     It was noted Ms. Brown will be at a conference 11 and 12 May in Prattville.

 

County Attorney:

     Mr. Anthony Bishop reported back that he had researched the possibility of the county paying for porta-potties used during the Johnsonville emergency and he could find no legal justification for the county to bear the expense of this item.

 

There were no commissioner comments or news media comments.

 

Adjournment at 10:10 AM



Primary 2016
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































County Commission Meeting 22 February 2016

 

Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Hildreth, invocation by Commissioner Millender followed by the pledge of Allegiance.

 

All members present for roll call.

 

The agenda and previous minutes met with unanimous approval.

 

Payroll/Personnel:

     1 new hire at the jail, 1 separation at the jail.  38 hours of overtime in District 3.

 

Approve Claims:

     There were no claims in either the general or gasoline fund over the limit.

 

Grant Writer:

     Ms. Cara Stallman was available and during the work session before the regular meeting it had been discussed to move ahead on the safe house project.  This had been a grant project approved for the city of Evergreen and Ms. Stallman reminded the commission body that all payouts on the project must go through a City of Evergreen banking account.  Commission voted to authorize setting up an account with Evergreen for the purpose of paying the “in kind” portion of the grant.

     Ms. Stallman suggest both she and the architect come back for the next meeting for further action on the safe house.

 

     Ms. Stallman advised the commission all the previous individual safe house grants had been turned down by the people that originally submitted the grant request.  The individual safe house program is now put to rest.

 

EMA:

     Mr. Johnny Brock, EMA Director was out of town but had left a request with Chairman Hildreth to forward a request for approval of the Mass Communication system.  For those who received phone calls telling you to take cover now, this is the system.  Mr. Brock talked to the provider and managed to get the price reduced to $3,500.00 per year.  Motion to approve made and met with unanimous approval vote.

 

     Ms. Shawnee Booker from E-911 was also on hand.  She informed the commission she had received a letter from the state saying the E-911 state funding would still be coming to her department.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Winston Foshee really had nothing to bring to the commission body today.  He noted Ward Land and Timber were busy on the job trying to clear up and clean up the mess left in Johnsonville as a result of the storm system.

 

     Commission McCreary asked if there were any means available to provide Johnsonville citizens with a little assistance.  Some of the residents are having to use porta-potties due to water and sewer problems created by the storm.

     Mr. Foshee responded that he knew of nothing that could be done for them.

 

County Administrator:

     Ms. Judy Covan reminded the commission body of the insurance presentation during the work session and asked if they were going to grant permission for the provided to address these insurance issues to the employees.  The commission body agreed to allow the insurance provider to discuss their policies with the employees.

 

     Ms. Covan advised that 2 invoices dealing with the DHR roof had been submitted.  Motion to pay the invoices passed by unanimous vote.

 

     The Lewis Pest Control termite contract is up for renewal.  Contract renewed by unanimous vote.

 

     The current janitorial contract does not include deep cleaning such as striping the floors etc.  Ms. Covan suggested approaching the janitorial services and asks for a quote on doing the bottom floors of the courthouse.  Motion made and carried unanimously.

 

County Attorney:

     Mr. Anthony Bishop had nothing to report.

 

Commissioners Comments:

     Commissioner Andrews noted the February oil funding is below what the budget was programmed on and request Ms. Covan to take a look and see how the budget is holding together.

 

     There will be a regional care organization meeting held at the depot on 25 February at 12 PM.  This is dealing with changes in the Medicaid program and maybe of interest to anyone receiving Medicaid.

 

News Media Comments:

     Mr. Jim Allen, Owner and Publisher of The Monthly View newspaper addressed a question to the commission body dealing with E-911 announcements being placed in his paper.  He reminded the commission body this had been a topic of discussion at a previous meeting.  Chairman Hildreth stated he remembered the meeting Mr. Allen spoke of and directed County Administrator Covan to review the minutes for clarification.




     Commission body agreed and directed Ms. Booker, E-911 director to send advertising request to the Monthly View also.

 

     I asked the commission body to reconsider the help to Johnsonville.  The damage there does not rise to the level necessary to receive FEMA funds; a lot of people have no insurance and suffered an extreme amount of damage.  Commission chairman Hildreth asked the county attorney to look into this issue and see if any help could be forthcoming.

 

Adjourn  5:35 PM



City Council 16 February 2016

 

Invocation to start the meeting offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.

 

Call to order by Mayor Wolff at 6 PM.

 

Roll call revealed all members present.

 

The agenda was approved by unanimous vote as were the previous minutes and accounts payable.

 

Mayor Wolff commended all departments for their devotion to duty and their performance during the storm.

 

Old Business:

     The landfill lease expires 1 March and must be renewed.  Motion to renew passed by unanimous vote.  This is an inert landfill approximately 1 mile outside of city.

 

     The mosquito control contract is also due for renewal.  A the last meeting some questions came forth about checking/testing the material being used. 
     Lewis Pest Control responded they are the only ADEM approved company in the area and the accused the media of blowing their reluctance toward being checked out of proportion.
     Superintendent Sullivan strongly recommended approving the contract.  Motion to approve made by Council person Harris and was approved unanimously.
    Contract for mosquito spraying will be the same cost as last year, $22,345.00.

 

     Miller Sellers Drive (Tenax/Farmers Favorite) drainage problem was addressed.  Discussions with FEMA appear to be heading to a solution of a grant assist in this repair.  If everything comes through it will result in an 85% Federal pay, a 12 ½ % State pay and the remainder of the repair will fall upon the city.  Superintendent Sullivan has this for action.

 

     Contract to Asphalt Plus for a paving project was let 8 months ago.  Superintendent Sullivan has done follow-up and the work will start soon pending weather.

 

     A resolution to appoint Terri Nobles as the Acting City Clerk for the purpose of producing minutes for the council meetings while the Interim Acting City Clerk will be absent due to a pending medical procedure.   

 

     Evergreen Fire/Rescue Chief Ricky Nobles submitted a request for a part-time fire inspection position.  This inspector will fulfil the requirements for a yearly inspection of commercial businesses.  Mr. John Hendrix was recommended for the position which will require him to inspect approximately 274 different businesses. 
This move will help lower the ISO rating which now stands at a 5.  An ISO of 4 was only missed by 2 points.  The lower your ISO, the lower your insurance rates.
     Motion to approved by Council person Upton and seconded by Council person Skinner.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

 

     The current city sick leave policy for separation is no sick leave pay.  However, the police department handbook/manual states separating officers will be paid for 50% of unused sick leave.  That equates to 600 hours for Lt. Stewart or approximately $4,800.00.  Should Chief Simpson decide to retire it will amount to approximately $8,000-9,000.00 in unused sick leave hours.  The council determined everything is fine as is and will keep the current policy in place.

 

Committee Reports:

     Council person Skinner asked for an update on how things were progressing at the Evergreen Park.  Superintendent Sullivan reported the electrical department has been held off due to the influx of rain.  General consensus is, ground is too wet to handle the weight of the electrical trucks.  When things dry out, they will complete work.  Current estimated completion date April 2017.

 

Adjourn:  6:30 PM



Conecuh County Commissioner Meeting 8 February 2016

 

Call to order by Chairman Hildreth at 9 AM.  Invocation offered by Commissioner Cook followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call showed Commissioner McCreary not on hand however he arrived before any business came before the board.

 

Agenda Approved by unanimous vote as was the previous minutes.

 

Payroll/Personnel report reflected the following:

     There has been one (1) separation from the jail department.

     21 hours of overtime required approval.  Jail 5 hours; District 4 16 hours.

 

Approve the claims.

     Under the general funds, $500.00 board limit, there were 5 claims that needed approval.

     Under the gasoline funds, $3000.00 board limit there were two (2) claims needing approval.

   

Mr. Robbie Moore, Conecuh County Rescue:

     Mr. Moore came before the commission to ask for assistance in funding for a “jaws of life.”  Approximate cost, $17,000.00. 

     Mr. Moore reminded the commission body he had been before them this past August to ask about this purchase.  His intent was to do a follow up on any action the commissioners may have taken during budget hearings.

     It seems a shortage of memory existed and no one could really recall Mr. Moore having come before them.

     Several options were offered such as seeking a grant for the equipment and others.

     Mr. Moore stated some of the fire departments have the “jaws” and have offered to respond to any assist needed, some departments have them and he believes they have no one trained to use them. 

     Commissioner Andrews asked Mr. Moore to repeat himself as to responders having the equipment but not being able to use it due to a lack of training.  Mr. Andrews went on to tell Mr. Moore that he should get the “jaws” from some of these VFD’s.  Mr. Moore quickly exclaimed the fire departments acquired their “jaws” with funds from their departments and he was certain that no one would just give up equipment they had worked, skimped and saved for.

     Final solution, there was none.  Mr. Moore advised to seek grant money to get the “jaws” with and, if that fell short, approach the commission again.

 

Sheriff Brock was next on the agenda but was unavailable.

 

EMA Director:

     Mr. Johnny Brock, EMA Director, remarked that he secured a grant in the past and had given a portion of it to the Rescue Squad.  He noted he would see what he could do from his position in helping get funding for the above mentioned “jaws”.

     Mr. Brock advised that he’d received request from some home owners asking for assistance due to the flooding Conecuh experienced during December.  There is no assistance available.

     Mr. Brock has a situation with his current phones but has the money for the needed repairs are programmed in his budget.  A motion was made and approved by the commission body for Mr. Brock to complete this work.

     Mr. Brock also noted the purchase of the safe room land was completed and grant writer Cara Stallman wished to attend a work session to discuss the next moves. 

     Work session scheduled 4 PM next meeting date.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Winston Foshee was accompanied by Assistant Engineer Shane Moore who has also functions as the county bridge inspector.  Mr. Moore spoke on the current condition of bridges in the county, what he was doing to check and keep them safe.  He advised the inspection cycle for the bridges is based on the max allowable weight the bride is rated for.  Heavier equals more.

     Commissioner McCreary spoke to the county engineer and the other commissioners advising them had been asked by the Superintendent of Education if he could assist Hillcrest with some heavy duty work in the line of loads of dirt and spreading equipment.  He noted he had been approached because Hillcrest is in District Four. 

     When asked what type equipment Mr. McCreary stated approximately 12 loads of dirt and 2 pipes.  Commission body made a motion to allow this assistance to the school.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

County Administrator’s Report:

     Ms. Judy Covan reported she was in receipt of a letter of resignation for Mr. Howington from the DHR board.  Motion to accept resignation passed.

     She also reported the Animal Shelter had to replace the washing machine for the shelter and the old one needed to be declared surplus.  Motion passed.

     Ms. Covan told the commissioner the Chamber of Commerce banquet is scheduled for 4 March at 6 PM, tickets are not required.

 

County Attorney:

     Mr. Anthony Bishop advised the commission the land sale on Wild Avenue, location of the safe house, has been completed.

 

Commissioners Remarks:

     It was announced the annual calf show was scheduled for 29 February and Mr. Tim Covan had asked for finical help.

 

Adjourn:  9:41 AM







City Council 2 February 2016   (Happy Groundhog Day)

 

Invocation offer by Mr. Mike Lanier.

 

Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff

 

Roll Call showed all members present.

 

The Agenda was approved by unanimous vote.

 

Mayor’s Report and Comments:

     Mayor Wolff reported on how well the new electric meters are working out.  He noted how these meters will show spikes when something goes askew.  In fact, Mr. Wolff remarked about a resident whose electricity spikes when he and his wife leave home for work and goes back down when they return.  Mayor Wolff said he would have a representative out today to check that meter and see if they could establish what is causing the problem.

     The mayor stated he had visited the new Shoney’s building today and they hope to open by the end of the month provided their concrete can be delivered soon.

     Another hotel is on track to be built in that complex.

 

The previous meetings minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Accounts payable also passed by unanimous vote.

 

Old Business:

     None

 

New Business:

     Chief Simpson is to attend the AACOP Winter Conference in Montgomery on 29 February-3 March.  Estimated cost to the city, $700.00.

     The Southeastern Meter School and Conference will be held in Auburn 16-19 March.  Three city employees are to attend; Brian Martin; Virgil Adams; Chad Moore.  Estimated cost to the city, $900.00 each.

     Interim City Clerk/Auditor Mike Hinson recommended the council approve closure of various bank accounts no longer serving a purpose.  This amounts to 9 bank accounts that have been inactive for several years now.

     A resolution for declaration of public nuisance and notice to owner of unsafe structure was passed by unanimous vote.

     Another resolution for declaration of public nuisance and notice to owner of weeds, debris, junk vehicles and graffiti passed by unanimous vote.

     On both these resolution Mr. Bobby McNeil has sent notice to the owners with no response returned.  The resolutions were necessary to allow the mayor to send notice to these owners.

     Council person Upton remarked about the funeral home work shed being an eyesore.  Mr. McNeil advised he had been in contact with the owners who indicated they were going  to remove that shed and build a new one.

     Council person Upton asked if the Vo. Ag. Classes can use that area for cattle?  It was noted this is zoned A & O therefore cattle can be placed there.

 

Committee Reports:

     Council person Upton reported the new gasoline station erected on the old Warren Bolton Texaco spot has slot machines in it.  They are illegal.  Mr. Bobby McNeil was directed to contact them and have them removed within 24 hours.

     Council person Harris talked briefly about mosquito control.

     Mr. Bobby Skipper, Economic Director, stated Alabama Power places a demand charge on the city during peak operating hours.  These demand charges are not passed on to the customer and cost the city additional monies.

     Council person Upton asked about Library Board members.  It came to light that a great number of the members have passed away and it is time to consider replacing board members. 

     It was remarked that even though it is the Evergreen/Conecuh Public Library the city is carrying the lion’s share of payments.  Any money coming in from the county goes to purchase books only and the city pays all maintenance cost and the salaries of all employees.

 

     Ms. Jones (JJ) stood to speak but was advised by Mayor Wolff that she was not on the agenda and would have to hold any comments until the meeting was closed.

 
Motion to adjourn approved at 6:24 PM




Groundhog Day Rant Time

      Gee daddy, didn’t you serve in the military?  Why can’t you seem to get any care for the hurt, wounds and problems you have from that service?
     Gee son, I don’t know but perhaps this will help explain it some.


      It’s a relatively brand new year and so far there’s been no rant time to speak of.  Well, that’s changed. 

     This is just the latest in a cascading saga of wrong, wronger and even more wronger deeds.

     To do a short recap, two (2) upper echelon V. A. employees (both women), determined they wanted to relocate to a less “stressful” position but didn’t want to surrender their current pay.  Simple solution, they used their position and power to force the person(s) holding those positions to move to another location then they merely moved in themselves and held onto their pay.

     Sounds easy enough and no one will notice.  Well, to heap more abuse on their already stinkin’ scheme, they decide to utilize the system and take relocation pay to the tune of $288,000.00 for one of them to move approximately 140 miles and $130,000.00 for the other to move to the “Land of the Lakes” St. Paul, Minnesota area.

     This ADDITIONAL “relocation” pay was to offset any expenses they incurred in this monumental self-serving move.  Remember that money is on top of their already inflated beyond belief salary of (Rubens-$181,000.00 and Graves-$174,000.00).

     An interesting article on militarycoruption.com  (www.militarycorruption.com/dianarubens4.htm) tells of a retired Air Force Brigadier General (female) Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for V. A. Benefits, resignation when this information came out.  It is alluded that Under Secretary Hickey was instrumental in assisting the illegal maneuvers involving these transfers and that she was having a relationship with one of the women (Rubens), this relationship resulted in a “rapid promotion” move from GS-7 to GS-15 for Rubens after this became a ‘live in affair.”

     Now with all this pointed out and the current condition of our Veterans programs and pay increases (none), one would think this situation would be a top priority to “fix” and get the funding abuse put back into the system to help our veterans.

     After much browbeating, chest thumping and mutter under the breath words, Congressman Jeff Miller, Republican (FL) and Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee called for a hearing under oath.  Naturally the culprits would not willingly cooperate and had to be subpoenaed.  In the true bureaucratic form of “circle the wagons” both Ruben and Graves answered questions with “we plead the 5”.

     Long story short, the ever ready to stand fast for the Veterans legal staff of Veterans Affairs has found a way to subvert the one pay grade reduction awarded to these sterling representatives of the very best our V. A. has to offer.  This delay in time has resulted in a final decision by 2 separate Federal Judges, Judge William Boulden & Judge Michele Szary Schroeder to reverse the decision on the demotion and allow them to keep their ill-gotten relocation gains.

     I’d love to say every American should be required to perform at least two years of military service but by virtue of a Brigadier General being involved in this miscarriage of everything, even that wouldn’t carry any weight.  I'm willing to bet neither judge has served this country or if they did it would have been a hardship 2 week deployment to Brewton or some other such place and it would not surprise me to see them have received grants/government assistance in their school expenses.

     When oh when are we going to have a system designed to take care of those who risked so much instead of those whose only risk is the REMOTE possibility of legal action for wrong doing?

     This is a classic example of what occurs when citizens do not take the responsibility to vote.  I feel certain had the public spoken at the polls those 2 judges would have been much more hesitant to take the actions they did and the chain of events would have been much different.  I continue to tell you the power of the voter is an awesome thing, BE AWESOME.

WELCOME TO THE WALL OF SHAME


















Diana Rubens                        








                              


Kimberly Graves

Will the real Allison Hickey please stand?















Today's modern military seems to be a continued misguided witch hunt for someone who came up short of being a Boy Scout resulting in their being asked to resign, how can this woman continue functioning without some type of sanctions.






     Yesterday, 28 January 2016, something happened that I’ve looked forward to so much and so long.

     The Evergreen Cemetery, more commonly known as Greasy Bottom, received some much needed attention.

     Sponsored by D. A. V. Chapter 72, Andrew G. Faulk group and coupled by the invaluable help of Sgt. Major Crysell, his JROTC champions and Vo. Ag. Teacher Jeremy Knox and his class, Greasy Bottom got a facelift that should “rock the socks” off everyone.

     Starting at 8 A. M. approximately 200 young men and women showed up to work and work they did.  Trees whose limbs were low hanging over gravesites were trimmed back.  Garbage was picked up, fallen limbs disappeared and most dead trees were removed, graves were cleaned off and a lot of leaves met their fate.

     Mr. Knox brought the Vo. Ag. Department tractor over and as brush and debris were piled up he used it to relocate it to an area where it could be burned or picked up at a later date.

     Along with the tractor a grill on a trailer made the trip and somewhere around 11 A. M. Sgt. Major fired it off, broke out hotdogs and buns and open up coolers filled with drinks.  He and I went to work grilling those “dogs” and around 11:30 it was chow time.  I’m not sure how many hotdogs were grilled but I’m sure the count exceeded 300. 

     Finishing up around 12:30 it was sort of “back to work.”  Mostly it was gathering up the tools and the trash and a general cleanup as the day wound down.

     The students began to meander back to the school and, along with Mr. Knox, a quick look over the area to make sure we had everything.

     As we started to leave I couldn’t help but give a long look back at the cemetery and marvel at the good these young students had accomplished.  This certainly gives me great hope that tomorrow’s will be better days as these young people grow up and take their place in our county and town.

     Thanks again to those D. A. V. members who showed up and super thanks to the JROTC under Sgt. Major’s supervision and also a super thanks to Vo. Ag. Teacher Knox and his class.

 

All pictures courtesy of Lee Peacock, Evergreen Courant reporter.

































 
American Red Cross
South Alabama Chapter
35 South Sage Avenue
Mobile, AL 36607
Media Contact: Darlene Scott-Wells
Phone: (251) 243-8723
joseph.hilliard@redcross.org

ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY PROJECT SHARE
AGAIN THIS YEAR
 
Conecuh County, Al, January 6, 2016The South Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross will begin accepting applications from Conecuh County residents on January 13, 2016 for Project SHARE, the energy assistance program for low-income elderly or disable individuals.  Residents of Conecuh County can set up an appointment by calling the numbers listed below for Project SHARE.
 
As the organization responsible for administering Project SHARE funds, a Red Cross representative will interview applicants seeking financial assistance in paying their energy bill.  For those who qualify, payments will be made directly to the energy supplier.
 
To qualify for assistance, the family income must be within certain guidelines depending on the size of the household.  In addition, the head of the household must meet one of the following eligibility criteria:
 
·         Sixty-two years of age or older
·         Receiving a disability check.  
 
Project SHARE (Service to Help Alabamians with Relief on Energy) was introduced in 1982 through an agreement between Alabama Power Company and the American Red Cross.  Since 1984, Alabama Gas Corporation and 24 other electric cooperatives and municipalities have joined and now participate in the program.
 
Project SHARE is funded through the voluntary pledges made by customers of participating energy suppliers.  Assistance is geared toward the need of the client rather than entitlement.  Please help those in need this winter by donating to Project SHARE through your energy provider.
 
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
 
Applicants can begin calling to set an appointment on January 13, 2016 between 10:00 and 2:00 p.m.
   
            Organization:               Red Cross Office (Conecuh County Department of Human Resources)  
            Location:                      856 Liberty Hill Drive, Evergreen, AL 36401
            Phone:                         251-243-8723
            Appointments:             10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 
            Start Date:                    January 14, 2016
            End Date:                     Until all funds are used
 
About the American Red Cross:
 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.






Christmas Behind Us
 
     Another Christmas has come and gone.  They seem to be moving so fast we’ll probably be celebrating another one tomorrow, at least that’s the thought process of my generation but…. I can remember years ago that if Christmas happened everyday it would be OK.
     Those were simpler days and harder times.  Why I can remember when fruit was an acceptable present and one was glad to get it.  Homemade items were always popular and cherished.  I had a great uncle that was King of the Carvers.  His pocket knife took on a life of its own when he applied it to wood.
     Can you imagine the reaction one would get in today’s world when they received a hand carved toy or an apple for Christmas?  I believe the only thing you’d see on a young one’s face would be disdain.
     Putting all that to one side let me tell you of our Christmas this year and how tired but fulfilled we are.
    Thanks to the Scottish Rite Masonic Bodies of the Montgomery Valley and some local folks, my elf and I managed to put toys in 42 children’s hands this year.  A lower number than usual but still enough to let us know we made a difference.
     It might well be a good thing that the number of deliveries have dropped, I know I’m completely worn out and it appears my elf has wilted just a touch. 
     On two delivers this year we had the pleasure of having someone accompany us and I believe it had an impact on them too. 
     During one delivery to some young boys Santa was pulling out toys for them  These were respectful children who hadn’t really touched anything.  One of them asked could they play with them now, Santa told them it was up to their mom, she was in charge.  Mom told them since Santa had brought them it would be OK.  I watched the youngsters faces light up and one of them asked in a timid manner, “are all of these for us?”  When they got a positive response it was an unbelievable reaction.
     As we left that resident the person with us remarked “I can see now why you do this.”  Yes folks, it has its rewards and good feelings.  If the good Lord’s willing and things are possible, next year I’d like to invite some of you to travel with us and just observe, I’m sure your rewards will be as great as ours.
     A second blessing came this Christmas also.  A family of four had become displaced with no place to live nor any real means of income.  Again I appealed to my Masonic Brothers at two different meetings where a collection was taken up to help them monetarily.  Luckily I also managed to find a place for them to live in the city of Evergreen.  The new electric deposit is a stiff hill to climb but I contacted my Scottish Rite fellows in Montgomery again and they came up with the deposit for this family.
     What had started out looking like a disaster for a family at Christmas time turned into them having a roof over their head, food in the pantry and some gifts for the two children.
     Despite all the workings of the devils out there God still reigns supreme with the miracles of what’s happened this year being living proof.
     Hoping all had a Merry and Blessed Christmas, we did.



ELECT?  APPOINT?? 

     In receipt of a most interesting phone call this evening.  Seems most folks expected the bill allowing the appointment to the office Superintendent of Education by the Board of Education be approved in the upcoming legislative meeting.

 
     This is the resolution approved by unanimous vote by the Board of Education (B.O.E.) and introduced by Chairman Coretta Boykin to the County Commission on 10 August 2015 where it also met with a unanimous vote.  It was approved by the city councils of Evergreen and Castleberry.  The only negative vote came from Repton City Council.

 
     Based on Ms. Boykins information, Alabama is one of only three states that still uses an electoral process to put a person in the office of Superintendent of Education, all others allows the B. O. E. to appoint the most qualified person and if you take a moment to think about it, this really is the most logical way to handle this situation.  The Superintendent of Education actually works for and reports to the B. O. E. yet, just by the fact it’s an elected position, a totally unqualified person could wind up being the Superintendent.  Our children should mean more to us than taking a chance on this happening.

 
     The next move toward getting this change incorporated is for all of our elected officials to get behind this bill and allow it to progress through the Senate and House.  The only way to ensure it will receive passage is a show of unity from our elected representatives.

 
     The B. O. E. has worked hard to ensure this bill can become a fact and not a dream.

 
     All four of our local representatives, Sells, Jackson, Albritton and Sanders had voiced their approval for this action but…….it seems someone has done an 11th  hour change and waffled on the deal, caving in to a “political” payback situation.

 
     There is a meeting of our state legislative bodies Monday.  If there is a dissenting vote or non-signature on this bill from our representative group it will show then.

 
     I have no intention of naming anyone here at this time but should this bill fail to get the support of our representatives you will most assuredly hear more on this issue from me.

 
     I sincerely hope that Misters Sells, Jackson, Albritton and Sanders think before they turn their back on this bill.  It’s the right thing to do for our children.  It’s time Alabama stopped being tail-end Charlie when it comes to looking out for our general schools children.  If your children are in private school or you don’t have children perhaps it’s time you let your single sighted mind move to one side and let what’s best for the child come to the front.



Posted in AlabamaSeptember 04, 2015 by Jennifer Young


At least there are some good pictures.
 
The 10 unhealthiest counties in Alabama.
 
1. Walker County

























In Walker County, an average of 15,000 residents die before reaching the age of 75. Smokers make up approximately 28% of the population, while 33% of the population suffer from adult obesity. Walker County's county seat is Jasper, and it also includes the cities of Dora, Carbon Hill, Cordova and Sumiton.


2. Lowndes County


















An average of 14,500 residents of Lowndes County pass away before reaching the age of 75, and 36% of the population experiences poor or fair health. Adult obesity is experienced by 44% of the population. Lowndes County is part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its county seat is Hayneville.

3. Wilcox County




















In Wilcox County, physical inactivity accounts for 32% of the population, and 50% of the children live in poverty. The county seat for Wilcox County is Camden, and it's also home to Oak Hill, Pine Apple, Pine Hill and Yellow Bluff.

4. Greene County























In Greene County, an average of 12,000 residents die before reaching the age of 75. Adult obesity affects 48% of the population, while physical inactivity affects 32%. The drinking water is very good with violations accounting for only 3%. Greene County's county seat is Eutaw, and it also includes the towns of Boligee, 
Forkland and Union.

5. Choctaw County















An average of 13,500 residents die before reaching the age of 75, and 32% of the population experiences poor or fair health. Children living in poverty accounts for 31% of the population. Choctaw County's county seat is Butler, and it also includes the towns of Gilbertown, Lisman, Needham, Pennington, Silas and Toxey. 

6. Perry County

















An average of 13,000 residents die before reaching the age of 75, and 27% of the population experiences poor to fair health. Also, 34% of the population experiences physical inactivity. The county seat for Perry County is Marion, and it's also home to Uniontown.

7. Conecuh County


















In Conecuh County, an average of 13,500 residents die before reaching the age of 75. Adult obesity is high at 39%, as well as adult smoking at 23%, but only 18% of the population experiences poor to fair health. Conecuh County's county seat is Evergreen, and it's also home to Castleberry, McKenzie and Repton.
McKenzie??????  Me thinks Butler may have stuck us just a little bit.

8. Chambers County
















An average of 12,000 residents die before reaching the age of 75. Adult obesity is high at 40%, as well as physical inactivity at 35%. The county seat for Chambers County is Lafayette, and it also includes the cities of Cusseta, Lanett and Valley.

9. Monroe County














In Monroe County, an average of 11,000 residents die before reaching the age of 75. Adult obesity affects 36% of the population, while adult smoking affects 21%. The county seat for Monroe County is Monroeville, home of the Old Courthouse Museum. Monroe County is also home to the towns of Beatrice, Excel, Frisco City and Vredenburgh.

10. Fayette County
















In Fayette County, an average of 11,500 residents die before reaching the age of 75, and 32% of the population experiences poor or fair health. Adult obesity is high at 36%, but adult smoking is low at 14%. Fayette County's county seat is Fayette, and it's also home to Winfield, Belk and Berry. 


User tax ordinance passed by city of Evergreen on 4 August 2015:

Hopefully these pages have been arranged where they make sense.  My web site seemed to scramble them last time.  Sorry for any inconvenience.



































































































































































































































County Commission Meeting 25 January 2016

 

Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Millender.

 

Prayer by Commissioner Hildreth followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call showed all members present.

 

 Approve Agenda.  Agenda approved by unanimous vote with one adjustment in item 5 to include approving the Butler County Hamden Ridge Water Board member.. 

 Approve previous minutes.  Approved by unanimous vote.


 
Approve Payroll/Personnel Report:
                   There were no personnel changes this reporting period.  There were     
                   28   hours of overtime to be approved.  Sheriff’s Department   
                  17.5 hours, jail 1.5 hours and District 2 Four hours.  Approved by    
                   unanimous vote.



 Approve Claims:
No claims over the $500.00 limit in General Funds, no claims over $3,000.00 limit in Gasoline Fund.  Motion to approve claims followed by unanimous vote. 

 Hamden Ridge Water System and Fire Protection Agency:  2 Board members were reappointed from the Conecuh County part followed by approval of Thelma Mixon as the Butler County representative. 

Maintenance Report:  Mr. Ben Harper, Maintenance member, reported the roof at DHR is 25-30% completed.  New tin was delivered today and should be going on ASAP.  Mr. Harper gave a report on the water damage caused by the roof leaks and they all appear to have been repaired at this time.Bids were received on replacement doors for the David Burt Building.  3 bids received in the following amounts:$3,700.00 to replace all doors with same style door.$4,300.00 to replace all doors with same style door.$2,814.00 to replace all doors with aluminum store front style doors.Mr. Harper recommended accepting the $3,700.00 bid and go back with the same style doors.  Motion accepted by unanimous vote.Mr. Harper also reported on the curbing needed to stop water running into the building.  He has been in contact with Evergreen Concrete who can start the job during the first week in February at a cost of $3,188.95.  Motion to accept followed by unanimous vote.Mr. Harper reports one of the voting precincts has a ramp in need of repair and they need the keys to check the insides.  Mr. Harper informed of where to get keys. 

Sheriff’s Report;  Sheriff Randy Brock reported all 3 of his new vehicles are up and running.  The 3 turn in vehicles have been stripped and are ready to be turned in.  He and Ms. Covan will handle this tomorrow.  They will be placed on Gov. Deals.  Approved by unanimous commission vote.The jail has been approved for Federal Prisoners except for an inspection.  This is to be a surprise type inspection.  The maintenance personnel have been working to ensure everything is working and ready.Sheriff Brock reported an arson in Castleberry community.  His officers investigated, made four arrests and received four confessions. 

 EMA Director:  Mr. Johnny Brock informed the commission body that all paperwork required to ask for assistance on the road damage from the recent flooding rains has been submitted.  He has a meeting at his office on Wednesday at 1:30 PM with state officials.  This is to complete the process known as the applicants briefing.Mr. Brock also reported on the storm that struck Lennox this past week.  There was extensive damage to property but no report of injury or death.  It was determined the damage was generated by a Micro-Burst. 

 County Engineer:  Mr. Winston Foshee passed a handout to each commissioner listing who the afterhour’s callout crew was to be.  He informed the commissioners he would be putting one of these handouts in their mail boxes each month.He also stated that due to extensive debris on 3 roadways, he had mobilized Ward Land & Timber Co. to remove the debris from all roads.  All roads are open for traffic.As approved by the commission body, Mr. Foshee is to prepare a list of employees to attend a 3 day training session.Mr. Foshee also asked for reassurance on the policy for culverts.  Land owners desiring a driveway will purchase the first culvert but replacements may be paid for from county funds.  Currently concrete culverts are giving problems.Commissioner Hildreth was recognized at this time and he made the suggestion that the county establish a backup crew for callout situations.  It was determined whichever district had the primary callout responsibility; the next district in line would be the backup.  I.e., District 1 will be backed up by District 2; District 2 will be backed up by District 3, etc.Mr. Hildreth also noted that some of the roads had not been cut back far enough for emergency vehicle traffic to make it through.  Mr. Foshee informed Mr. Hildreth that was not county policy.  If the county is clearing the road ample room for response vehicles will be made. 

 County Administrator:  Ms. Judy Covan informed the commission body the agreement with the Board of Education had been signed by the B. O. E. and returned.  This was strictly done for incorporation into the minutes.April 16-23 has been designated “Don’t Dump It On Alabama” clean up week.  This project will receive its normal support from the commission.Ms. Covan has been in contact with the Elections Systems representative as talked about in the previous commission meeting.  She is awaiting a response from them now but it appears 15 February is the current date asked for so the machines can receive calibration.Ms. Covan reminded the commission body that 292 days have elapsed since Commissioner Millender took over as the chairman.  It is time now to rotate another person into the position.  It is Commissioner Hildreth’s turn to sit in as chairman.  Effective tomorrow, 26 January 2016, Commissioner Hildreth will be the chairman. 

County Attorney:  Mr. Anthony Bishop reported the agreement between the commission body and Castleberry Wood Products dealing with tax abatement has been prepared. Motion to allow Mr. Bishop to go forward with the agreement approved by unanimous vote. 

Commissioners Remarks:  It was noted County Administrator Covan was retiring effective 1 March and the position had been posted asking for applications/resumes for the job from within.  Commissioners Millender reported that he and Commissioner Cook had sat on the interview committee.  One application had been received from Ms. Stephanie Brown, current assistant administrator.  She had been interviewed and Mr. Millender was going to allow Mr. Cook to make the report.Mr. Cook reported that Ms. Brown had met and/or exceeded all requirements and she was highly recommended for the job.  Ms. Brown is a 14 year employee of the county and has done a commendable job in any position assigned plus she has continued here educational achievements.Motion was made and voted unanimously that she take the position of County Administrator effective 1 April 2016.Commissioner Cook reminded the body that a salary gap range was discussed at a previous meeting and it was determined that between $42,000.00 and $55,000.00 had been set.  Due to Ms. Brown’s experience and education she be set in at a salary of $49,500.00.  He then made that into a motion.Commissioner McCreary advised Commissioner Cook it was not proper to make a recommendation into a motion and that a separate motion should be made, whereby Mr. McCreary recommended Ms. Brown be hired in at a salary of $52,000.00.After much discussion Commissioner Andrews made a motion to accept the initial salary offer of $49,500.00.  This motion carried.It was then noted that Ms. Brown’s position would require advertising and filling.

 News Media Comments:  I spoke at this time on the formation of the “backup crew” to the callout crew.  When the callout crew was established there were rules and regulations put in place that curtailed the actions of the members of the call out crew.  They were not allowed to consume any alcoholic beverages and were to be at their phone for a moment’s notice.  They were also to be compensated (if called out) at a minimum of 4 hours of pay.When I questioned this new backup crew plan I was informed they would be paid if called out.Jim Allen, Monthly View owner and editor, asked for clarification on Ms. Brown’s salary.  Again $49,500.00.  Mr. Allen then asked what Ms. Covan’s salary was.  It was finally determined she was paid “a little” over $52,000.00 per year. 


Adjourn:  With no further business meeting adjourned at 5:55 PM.


City Council Meeting 19 January 2016
 
Invocation 6:00 PM by Ms. Liz Davis
 
Call to order following invocation.
 
Roll Call:
     All members present with the exception of Council Person Harris who is reported as being ill.
 
The agenda was approved by unanimous vote.
 
Mayor’s report and comments:
     Magnolia Apartments are being demolished starting today. 
     Most of the new electric and water meters are installed.  Upon completion will be easy to identify when problems arise by showing spikes in the system.
     Suggestion of turning the old gym into a YMCA.  Need boots on the ground to explore this possibility.
 
Approval of Previous Minutes:
     Minutes approved by unanimous vote.
 
Approval of Accounts Payable:
     Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Old Business:
     None
 
New Business:
     Approval of fireworks contract for July 4 with Pyrotecnico Fireworks, Inc.
     Contract approved by unanimous vote.
 
Committee Reports:
     Council Person Upton spoke on the condition of the shed owned by the funeral home and its dilapidated condition.  He stated the house beside it is being torn down and something needs to be done about the shed.
     Attorney Hartley stated Mr. Bobby McNeil will have to make a report and recommend action.
 
     Reverend Jimmy Taylor was afforded the opportunity to speak.  Reverend Taylor had asked to be placed on the agenda but had not been placed on it.  A heated discussion over this issue ensued prior to the called meeting to include Ms. Liz Davis expressing dissatisfaction with the way the agenda was manipulated.  She stated Ms. J. J. Jones was allowed to stand and speak as she wished yet a citizen attempting to do things the proper way was denied access.
     Long story short, Reverend Taylor was allowed to speak.
     He indicated he was aware of the procedure for the use of the depot and he requested the use of the depot for a “town hall” style meeting whereby residents could discuss problems within the city and city government.   
 
Meeting adjourned at 6:45 PM



Commission Mtg. 11 January 2016

 

Call to order by Chairman Millender at 9 AM.  Prayer led by Commissioner Cook followed by the pledge of Allegiance.

 

All members were present.

 

Agenda: 

Approved by unanimous vote

 

Minutes: 

Previous minutes approved by unanimous vote.

 

Payroll/personnel report: 

There have been 2 separations from the jail department and 1 new hire for the jail.

There were 60 hours of overtime requiring approval. 

Payroll/personnel report approved by unanimous vote.

 

Approve Claims:

There was 1 claim over the $500.00 limit under the general fund requiring approval.

Under the Gasoline fund limit of $3,000.00 2 claims required approval including the previously held over claims from C. R. Pate logging dealing with certain stone purchased material.  Motion to approve resulted in unanimous vote to approve.

 

Revenue Commissioner Report: 

Mr. Jimmie Bell spoke of the current property appraiser and his new contract.  He is now working 2 days per week.  Mr. Bell reminded the commissioners it takes 3 years of training for a person to become qualified to be an appraiser.  Currently Conecuh has a trainee in school for this position.  She has not scored less than 94% on any test.  Her final test will be 17 March.  This test is only offered once per year.  Should she pass this test she will have met all requirements to be an appraiser and as soon as her paperwork is back she will assume the position of county appraiser.

 

Sheriff Brock was unavailable for his slot on the agenda.

 

EMA Director: 

Mr. Johnny Brock reported AAEM board member meeting was planned for 21-25 February in Washington D. C.  He informed the commission body that each attendee must pay their own way.  He further stated he had funds in his budget to cover this.  He asked the commissioners approve his request to attend.  He stated attending this meeting is a win-win situation for the county as they normally get approximately $40,000.00 in funds  Approved unanimously.

Mr. Brock also gave a report on how the county faired during the recent down pouring of rain.  He stated one house in Castleberry suffered damage and a team was mobilized to put tarps in place in an effort to prevent further damage.  He also stated a house in Belleville had suffered damage.

  Mr. Brock reported that road damage was minimal.  Roughly 16 roads suffered some form of damage.  County Engineer Foshee provided a preliminary estimate of $70,000.00.  This may qualify for FEMA reimbursement for the greater portion of this amount.  Mr. Brock stated the threshold that must be reached to qualify for FEMA assistance is $47,000.00.

It was noted that Mr. Foshee had received calls from the commissioners and the general public to make him aware of where damages existed.

 

County Engineers Report:

Mr. Winston Foshee advised the commission that he had a recommendation for a road closure off the “L” Pond Road.  Pleater Lane is a dead end road with no houses on it.  There are 2 landowners involved and they are in agreement to vacate the road.

Mr. Foshee advised it will require a public hearing (to be announced) to complete this request.

Mr. Foshee spoke again on a letter from ALADOT dealing with debris removal after a major storm/disaster.  ALADOT has requested that the county assume responsibility of all debris and cleanup after disasters.  Mr. Foshee stated that this effort would strain the county beyond their fiscal means and recommends the commission votes no on this request.

After discussion a motion was forwarded to allow the chairman to sign the final response on behalf of this letter.  Motion approved unanimously.

 

County Administrator Report:

Ms. Judy Covan advised the commission body that several “parts and pieces” from damaged, broken printers are being stored in various places.  She requested that these “parts and pieces” be declared surplus material and she be allowed to dispose of it.  Motion to that effect made and passed.

A discussion about the upcoming election and how to get the voting machines programed and put out ensued.  It was determined Mr. Whitman of Election System Services be contacted and have him program the machines.  This will be at a cost of $1,575.00 for this service.  Three members of the commission staff have been designated to put out the machines.  It was determined that Mr. Dudley Godwin, the former programmer, be contacted and asked to be on hand voting day in the event of any problems.  Approved by unanimous vote.

Ms. Covan reminded the commissioners that she will be retiring effective 31 March 2016.  It was suggested that advertisement to hire from within be posted to the local paper.  This met with unanimous approval.

 

Executive session:

An executive session to discuss general reputation and character was on the agenda.  A motion to go into executive session was made and passed by unanimous voice vote.

Executive session commenced at 9:40 AM

Regular session approved to reconvene at 10:27

 

Ms. Covan reminded the commissioners that a change order existed to the Hartmann, Kilgore, Blackmon contract recently approved.  The need for a change order originated from extra work outside the scope of their contract dealing with the recent re-financing of bond issues.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Commissioner Hildreth, for the sake of setting the record straight on the C. R. Pate purchase, wanted everyone to know the cost quoted for the material was not to be considered in the same frame as regular dirt.  Basically there is no way to compare the different associated cost due to the composition of the material.

 

It was announced the salary range for the impending chief clerks job is between $42,000.00 and $50,000.00 depending on experience, education and knowledge.

 

With no further business, motion to adjourn at 10:34 was approved unanimously


City Council 5 January 2016

 

Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.

 

Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff, Roll Call showed Council person Fountain absent.

 

The agenda was approved as printed.

 

Mayor’s Report and Comments:

     Police Dispatch was moved to City Hall effective 12 AM, 1 January 2016.  Some of the dispatchers formerly with E-911 came back to the city.

     Mayor Wolff reported that Zaxby’s is doing well hopefully Shoney’s will be up and running by February.

 

Minutes of previous meeting were approved as read.

 

Accounts Payable

     Motion to pay the bills brought forth a unanimous vote.

 

Old Business:

     None

 

New Business:

     A resolution to approve liquor sales and an ABC licenses for Shoney’s of Evergreen was properly made and seconded.  Passed by unanimous vote.

    Ms. Jones announced Mr. Fred Richardson would be the guest speaker for Martin Luther King Day.  He is a member of the Mobile City Council.  Ms. Jones presented the city with a laundry list of items needed to be on hand to include a key to the city, 2 plaques, one for Mr. Robert Floyd and one for speaker Richardson plus she wants 200 of the Evergreen pins to present. 

     Based on what Ms. Jones says, refreshments will be available in the form of chips, mints, nuts, cookies and punch/water.

     Martin Luther King calendar day is 11 January 2016.  Time to be posted.

 

Committee Reports:

     Council person Harris reported that the demolition of Magnolia Hts. Apartments should be coming soon.  The deed is back and clear.

     Council person Upton reported he has correspondence from Superintendent of Education, Dr. Zickeyous Byrd, dealing with the ownership of the property formerly known as the Old City School.  The Board of Education is in negotiation with the city now to allow the city to assume ownership of the property and, providing the city agrees to the following conditions, a resolution relinquishing the property will be approved.

  1. The B. O. E. retains ownership of the property currently known as the “Genesis School;
  2.  The old school portion MUST be used for educational purposes and will not be sold;
  3. Should the property cease to be used for educational purposes, it will be conveyed back to the B. O. E.     Again, all this property ownership transfer is based on resolution of understanding being approved. 

Adjourn:    
     No further business, meeting adjourned at 6:08 PM


Commission Meeting 28 December 2015
 
Call to Order: 
     Chairman Millender called the meeting to order at 5 PM.  Invocation was offered by Commissioner Hildreth followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll Call:
     All Commissioners with the exception of District 3 Commissioner Johnny Andrews were present.
 
Agenda, Previous Minutes
     The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report:
     There were no changes in the payroll/personnel to report.  There was no overtime requiring approval.  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims:
     2 Claims over the $500.00 limit required approval under the general fund.  There were no claims requiring approval under the gasoline fund.  Motion to approve passed by unanimous vote.
 
The following were on the agenda but did not show:
Sheriff Randy Brock;
EMA Director Johnny Brock;
County Engineer Winston Foshee
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Judy Covan announced the 2016 Holiday schedule was available for approval.  All listed were the typical holidays that have been approved over numerous years.  A motion to approve was made, seconded and passed by unanimous vote.
     Ms. Covan announced that District Meetings were scheduled to start in January.  One may register on line.  The meeting nearest to Conecuh will be held 8 January in Grove Hill.  Commissioner Millender told Ms. Covan he intended to attend that one.  The other commissioners we not ready to commit at this time.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop advised the commission he was in receipt of another invoice from Leo’s Uniforms.  These are bill that date back to 2012/2013 and entered into by the sheriff’s department.  They were “misplaced” for a period of time and only came to light with Sheriff Brock assumed the office of Sheriff.  Due to the delay in paying these bills late charges have accumulated on them.  Several months back this issue was addressed and Mr. Bishop was tasked with trying to negotiate with Leo’s Uniforms for a lower price.  Mr. Bishop informed the county he had written a letter with their offer enclosed.  Basically he received no response until a few days back when he received an invoice with an additional late charge attached.  The current amount wanted by Leo’s Uniforms to clear this debt is $3,200.00.
     Mr. Bishop stated he had an item for the impending executive session.
 
Commissioners Comments:
     Chairman Millender called for a motion to allow the attorney to prepare a contract with the Board of Education dealing with the county furnishing the B. O. E. with a $4,000.00 monthly payment for 5 years.  Upon completion of these 5 years, the B. O. E. will make no claims against the county for the following 5 years.  Motion to approve this measure passed by unanimous vote.
 
     It was noted that a contract with Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore, auditors, was scheduled to go into effect in December at a pay rate of $2,000.00 per month.  This is to be a 1 year contract and can be cancelled by the county if they so desire.  Motion to approve the contract passed by unanimous vote.
 
     A motion to move forward on the safe room was requested and made.  Motion passed unanimously.
 
     Chairman Millender asked that a quarterly budget review meeting be scheduled prior to the next meeting.  He told Ms. Covan to schedule the meeting and inform the media of the date and time.
 
     Chairman Millender announced his term as chairman is up on 25 January 2016.
 
Executive Session:
     A motion to move into executive session to discuss pending litigation was made and approved by voice vote at 5:25 PM.
 
     A motion to return to regular session was made and approved at 5:40 PM
 
Adjourn:
     Motion to adjourn made and approved at 5:41 PM


Commission Work Session 28 December 2015
 
Meeting called to order at 4 PM by Commission Chairman Millender.
 
Agenda item 1:  Safe Room
 
     Grant writer Cara Stallman was on hand with the safe room architect to discuss with the commission body if they could move ahead on getting a staff in place and work toward letting bids for the construction of the safe room building to be located on the corner of Rural Street and Wild Avenue.
     The architect provided proposal drawings of the building to the commission body.  The building is to be almost 3,200 square feet, it will measure 43’ X 74’ and be able to contain approximately 200 people in the event of tornado weather.
     Discussion of the sunken ground area was broached.  This project is a 75% by 25% project with the counties 25% being able to be paid via either money or in-kind work.  The repair of the sunken place can be claimed as a portion of the in-kind work so anything the county does to repair/fix that will go toward the counties finical responsibility.
     It was requested by the architect that a survey of the area be furnished him if one is available.  He also stated that the building contained in the drawings he’d shown the commission body could be changed and/or altered some if necessary.
     It was noted that within the next couple of weeks the survey and geotech work should be completed.
     The commission body advised that they would broach the subject during the regular scheduled meeting whereby they could entertain and vote on a motion to move forward.
 
E-911 Director:
 
     Ms. Shawnee Booker came before the work session to advise them she was in receipt of a letter signed by Lt. Wayne Stewart asking the city employees currently assigned to the E-911 center if they desired to come back to the city when the city takes over their police dispatch portion of E-911. 
     Ms. Booker indicated one employee was planning on accepting the cities job offer, the others will remain at their current post.
     For those not in the know, E-911 police dispatch for the city will be assumed by the city effective midnight Thursday, 31 December 2015.
     County Attorney Bishop stated he had received no response to a letter he had sent to the city. 
     Guess we’ll do a wait and see thing as to what is going to happen.
 
Meeting ended at 4:45 with a reminder that the regular scheduled meeting would take place at 5 PM.


Christmas Behind Us
 
     Another Christmas has come and gone.  They seem to be moving so fast we’ll probably be celebrating another one tomorrow, at least that’s the thought process of my generation but…. I can remember years ago that if Christmas happened everyday it would be OK.
     Those were simpler days and harder times.  Why I can remember when fruit was an acceptable present and one was glad to get it.  Homemade items were always popular and cherished.  I had a great uncle that was King of the Carvers.  His pocket knife took on a life of its own when he applied it to wood.
     Can you imagine the reaction one would get in today’s world when they received a hand carved toy or an apple for Christmas?  I believe the only thing you’d see on a young one’s face would be disdain.
     Putting all that to one side let me tell you of our Christmas this year and how tired but fulfilled we are.
    Thanks to the Scottish Rite Masonic Bodies of the Montgomery Valley and some local folks, my elf and I managed to put toys in 42 children’s hands this year.  A lower number than usual but still enough to let us know we made a difference.
     It might well be a good thing that the number of deliveries have dropped, I know I’m completely worn out and it appears my elf has wilted just a touch. 
     On two delivers this year we had the pleasure of having someone accompany us and I believe it had an impact on them too. 
     During one delivery to some young boys Santa was pulling out toys for them  These were respectful children who hadn’t really touched anything.  One of them asked could they play with them now, Santa told them it was up to their mom, she was in charge.  Mom told them since Santa had brought them it would be OK.  I watched the youngsters faces light up and one of them asked in a timid manner, “are all of these for us?”  When they got a positive response it was an unbelievable reaction.
     As we left that resident the person with us remarked “I can see now why you do this.”  Yes folks, it has its rewards and good feelings.  If the good Lord’s willing and things are possible, next year I’d like to invite some of you to travel with us and just observe, I’m sure your rewards will be as great as ours.
     A second blessing came this Christmas also.  A family of four had become displaced with no place to live nor any real means of income.  Again I appealed to my Masonic Brothers at two different meetings where a collection was taken up to help them monetarily.  Luckily I also managed to find a place for them to live in the city of Evergreen.  The new electric deposit is a stiff hill to climb but I contacted my Scottish Rite fellows in Montgomery again and they came up with the deposit for this family.
     What had started out looking like a disaster for a family at Christmas time turned into them having a roof over their head, food in the pantry and some gifts for the two children.
     Despite all the workings of the devils out there God still reigns supreme with the miracles of what’s happened this year being living proof.
     Hoping all had a Merry and Blessed Christmas, we did.


W. F. Green and Eagles Landing Veterans Report
 
     Well, the day has finally come and gone for the Christmas trip south.
 
     For the third year in a row Kevin McKinley (really his wife Sondra) has put together and coordinated another memorable Christmas for a large group of veterans, including myself.
 
     Yesterday, the 20th of December, it all became true.
 
     We meet up with Kevin (poor Sondra was too ill to make the trip) at his law office in Atmore around noon to start our journey.  Our first stop was in Bay Minette at the William F. Green Veterans Home.  We were familiar with the way considering it’s become an annual pilgrimage for us. 
 
     With Sondra not feeling up to the trip it cut our numbers down quite a bit, just Kevin, Tess and Santa but still a trip filled with fun combined with a touch of sadness.
 
     Upon arrival we were greeted in the parking lot by a couple of youngsters rushing out to see Santa.  They were there visiting their grandpa who was watching them from the porch along with mom and grandmother.  They asked if they could get some pictures of the children with Santa and that camera hungry rascal told them sure.  We made it to the porch of the facility where rocking chairs had been conveniently located for those beautiful days of spring and summer.  No sense passing up such a nice perch.
 
     Santa made himself comfortable as the two younger ones anxiously crawled into his lap to share their wishes for Christmas day and mom and grandma clicked away.  The third and older child finally came to have a picture made and then, with Tess holding the camera, the entire family gathered around for a pic with the old Codger. 
 
     Then it was grandpa’s turn, an Army veteran residing at the home.  We cuddled up to him and got a couple of shots for their Christmas hoping it would be a brighter day for all.
 
     Making our way inside the folks there recognized us from past years.  Kevin had two (2) residents he’d brought down special gifts for, one from his church in Atmore and another hometown friend so he was off to the races as Tess and I meandered through the building stopping in the dining room, one of the common areas.  Considering it was one (1) in the afternoon, only a couple of stragglers were on hand but even they had smiles and greetings for Santa.  Naturally we had gifts for all.  Those stuffed animals I accumulate all year long go over so well.
 
     Moving across to another common area, we managed to locate a pascal of folks having snacks and just gathered together.  Some were obviously special needs folks and the local staff was taking good care of them by helping them with their snacks. 
 
     We visited with everyone in the room and made sure they all received a toy from Santa.  That visit and small gift put a smile on faces that looked as if they could last until next week.  What a great feeling for Tess and I.  Remember, these are the people that have already stood in front of you to protect you and any small enjoyment they get is well earned.
 
     As per always that instrument we all seem subservient to, Father Time, came creeping up on us and we had to make our way back to the front so we could charge off to our next stop in Mobile.  On the way out we took time to visit with another family on the outside of the building. 
 
     We all felt blessed as we loaded up to leave the Veterans home, touched by pride and happiness at having brought a little bit of cheer, we were also feeling a touch guilty and sorry that we couldn’t do more.
 
     On to Mobile and a completely new adventure.
 
     Gliding down the Interstate we come to good ol’ exit 5B, Moffett Road where we sail off and proceed to west.  About 5 miles out Moffett Road we come to Eagles Landing, a housing area on our left.
 
     Sitting next to the road (street if you desire) is a large brick building with a big sign on the side proclaiming Eagles Landing, hard to miss.
 
     When you turn into the complex and look ahead you know you’ve entered something special.  Neatly built brick building (apartments) built in a square shape surround you and in the middle are a few more of these “temporary” homes.  Finally on the backside of the center portion is a building you immediately recognize as the “gathering place.”
 
     I’m basically taken by surprise having never heard of this place or the services offered before.  The building(s) set back off the main road approximately 300-400 feet and upon pulling in we’re spotted by a group of sharp eyed MEN who are residents of this little alcove of Heaven.
 
     We pull around back; park and immediately we’ve got a group of veterans around us, greeting us and standing by to help unload our “treasures.”  Kevin’s wife, smart person that she is, has packed gifts consisting of a variety of things (common body care products, some shoes, some clothes, some cookies, cakes, nuts and other goodies) in boxes and bags all tidily placed inside his Toyota Highlander.  Almost before you know it everything has been transferred to the common meeting area inside the community house.  Again, smart thing that she is, Sondra has put a card or marker inside each package marked with the sizes of the contents to make it easier for these folks to get their hands on the right “stuff.”  Even though Sondra took these measures we all know the results of that, somethings not going to fit regardless of what size it’s marked.  Not a hill to climb for these people, they’re already geared to the fact that if something doesn’t fit; trade it to your neighbor who will get use from it.
 
     We move inside with the group.  It’s not a large building but is full of items to make life easier and more pleasurable.  Moving through the entrance way and hall we come to a well-furnished room with a table displaying several varieties of toppings and chips.  Along with this is a large screen TV with the obligatory football game playing.  We’re invited to partake of the goodies and have a seat.
 
     Naturally we (I) have a million questions popping into my mind and knowing Kevin needs to get back to his ill wife I let him take care of his business first.  Kevin announces that a group of caring people from Escambia, Conecuh, Monroe and some other areas undertook a project to “Adopt A Vet” and gathered up all the goodies in the bags and boxes.  He also praised WPPG, The Power Pig radio station in Evergreen, for getting it out over the airwaves.  He made some small mention of the local station manager and DJ being a veteran himself.  Actually that’s a touch of a lie, Kevin made sure he told the folks of Luther Upton’s service with the Marines and his service in Viet Nam also.  He also made sure they knew that Santa was a Vet too.
 
     Kevin and I are both invited on a tour of the local living quarters of one of the residents.  I opted to stay with the group at the community center and we engage in one heck of a conversation.
 
     One of the residents is going to school to become an English Major, you know, the dying language, others talk of jobs they’ve gotten and one even speaks of how, since coming to Eagles Landing, he’s gotten a job, bought a car and is moving toward being self-sufficient.  Residents can only stay there for a maximum of two (2) years but most only stay for six (6)-nine (9) months.
 
     They proudly talk about all the benefits available to them while living there.  They get counseling if needed ranging from AA to church to other things.  Medical and dental is nearby and convenient.  Transportation is not a problem for these folks.  It’s furnished for them to go to churches, doctors, shopping and other things.
 
     One of the things I found impressive is the garden.  There is an area set up for those who have a green thumb, or are trying to get one, to plant, nurture and raise vegetables, flowers, fruit trees or what-ever.  This garden area is built on raised beds and I noted several items growing there.  It’s also a common area and anything growing there is made available to the residents.  One man had his own garden growing in his yard.  He was quick to point out that anything growing there was also available to the entire group.  Sort of like Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men, harmony ran rampant. 
 
     If you notice throughout this entire report I’ve only mentioned men, reason being, it is a man’s facility.  Overnight visitors are not allowed.  No booze, no drugs just a good clean place to live and experience a recovery into life’s scheme of things.  There is a curfew in effect for the residents too.
 
     As all good things come to an end, it was time for Tess and me to make our way back to Evergreen.  What a good feeling we left with.  We felt as if we had made a difference in some of their lives but, as a fair exchange, they had made one heck of a difference in ours.  Looking forward to next year already.
 
     Anyone interested in getting further insight do a google search for Eagles Landing, Moffett Road, Mobile, Alabama.  There are links where, if interested, you can donate.  This facility is sponsored and paid for from the Veterans Administration coupled with Volunteers of America.  






























Conecuh County Commission 14 December 2015
 
Called to order by Chairman Millender at 9 AM.  Prayer offered by Reverend Willie Johnson followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll Call showed all members present.
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/personnel report:
     1 separation from the jail department.  25.5 hours of overtime reported.
 
Claims approval:
     Eight (8) claims from the general fund were over the $500.00 limit and required approval.
     Three claims from the gasoline fund were over the $3,000.00 limit and required approval.
     Invoices from C. R. Pate logging were submitted for loads of stone.  Cost per cubic yard $14.00.  22 loads hauled for an approximate amount of $6,600.00.  This was for a project in District 4. 
     This cost of stone went well over the programmed district budget for the month ($5,000.00).  When asked about the excess cost, Commissioner McCreary responded that he had funds left in his budget to cover the cost and he had no regrets for spending his funds to improve his district.
     The discussion became somewhat more heated about this spending, most especially without any prior board approval. 
     As things progressed discussion wise it was brought forth that this amount of spending factor would not have been condoned if the county were under a system of accountability such as linked to the unit system.  A system whereby county equipment falls under purview and control of the county engineer. 
     The feasibility of the unit system has been discussed in the recent past but met with resistance from some of the commission body.
     Commissioner McCreary stated that he had no problem with allowing the engineer the responsibility and made a motion the county adopt the unit system effective at the earliest possible date. 
     The motion lay as further discussion went forward and until Commissioner McCreary addressed that he had a motion on the floor.  At this time Commissioner Cook stated that the motion was improper and not in keeping with solving the current situation.  Chairman Millender declared the motion as dead due to lack of a second.
     After all this discussion the claims were approved with the exception of the C. R. Pate Logging invoices which will be brought forth at the next meeting.
 
     Maintenance Department representative Mr. Willie Johnson was next on the agenda with a report on findings for the repair of the DHR building.
     Mr. Johnson reported a meeting of all pertinent persons including himself had been held to discuss the problems with the DHR building with priority one being repair to the roof to stop the leaks.  (Side note, I’ve been to DHR and seen the actions being implemented to curtail further damage.  It looks like an attack of the bucket brigade trying to keep the intruding water at bay).
     The result of the meeting was Mid-State Construction (low bidder) make preparations to start the roof repair in mid-January.  Materials will be ordered and prepositioned this month so there will be no delay in getting the project going.
 
Sheriff’s Report:
     Sheriff Randy Brock advised the commission he has 4 new vehicles on board with the new markings in place. 
     A question was posed to the sheriff about surplus vehicles and what was being done with them.  It seems there are 2, possibly more, surplus vehicles in his inventory.  It was noted his department has no spare vehicles and it was suggested looking at making the best of the surplus vehicles spares to fill in should there be an accident or mechanical problem with the new vehicles.  Sheriff Brock will make a report on this at the next meeting.
 
Conecuh County Volunteer Fire Association:
     Mr. Aubrey Padgett came before the commission primarily to inform them of a name change to the Flatrock VFD.  They will be adding the word Rescue to their current designation and will become known as “Flatrock Fire and Rescue” department.  Mr. Padgett stated this was within their authority as per current bylaws. 
     This name change will allow them to acquire rescue equipment to use in their fire/rescue attempts.  Their target area will be primarily in the eastern part of the county and they will be joined in these efforts by other VFD within this area. 
     The only item needed from the commission body is a letter of annual funding.
     Mr. Keith Connelly, Rescue Squad Captain was also on hand to assist in answering any questions. 
     The commission thanked Mr. Padgett and Mr. Connelly for their efforts and gave them approval for the funding letter.
 
Conecuh County Humane Society:
     Duann Brown, President of the Conecuh County Humane Society, was on hand to present the Conecuh K-9 Department primary worker; a Shepard named Officer Obrien, with a protective vest. 
     Recently a K-9 animal was killed by kicks to its unprotected chest.  This vest will prevent that plus provide the dog with bullet proof protection outerwear.  The cost of the vest was $1,013.00.
     Ms. Brown stated the Humane Society has contributed $20,000.00 for animal rescue in the county.
 
EMA Director:
     Mr. Johnny Brock reported the Hazard Mitigation Plan was in place.  This plan allows the county to receive funds in the event of weather or other disasters.  It also allows him to apply for grants to further our counties protection.
     Mr. Brock also recommended he be allowed to place surplus equipment from the state EMA on the inventory list.
 
County Engineer:
     Mr. Winston Foshee advised the commission body the engineering department will have their Christmas party on Thursday, 17 December at 12 PM.  They are invited.
     Mr. Foshee also announced the engineering department will be closed next week.
     Dirt pit discussion showed 3 active pits in the county now with a cost of $1.60 per cubic foot.  A motion was made and approved that the engineer handle all dirt pit contracts.
 
County Administrator:
     Ms. Judy Covan recommended the current contract for the on-hand printer be extended for six months to allow time to get the new software system in place and then determine what printer and company would best support the job.  This was approved by unanimous vote.
     A meeting for the “safe room” project is scheduled for 28 December at 4 PM.
     She reported the county’s current credit rating is at an A-.  She has paperwork on hand that requires the chairman’s signature for this issue.
     Ms. Covan reminded the commission that any issue dealing with bonds cost the county $15,000.00.  This holds true whether it be a new borrowing or refinancing of existing bonds.
     Ms. Covan asked if the commission wished to take out a Christmas ad in the Evergreen Courant.  An ad has already been approved for the Monthly View newspaper, a Jim Allen production.
 
County Attorney:
     Mr. Anthony Bishop informed the commission an agreement with the Board of Education paperwork was complete and needed their review.
 
Commissioners Remarks:
     Commissioner Cook reminded everyone that, due to computer software problems with the state’s computers, we have not received an oil revenue check for 2 months.
 
No comments from the News Media.
 
Motion for Executive Session conducted.  Executive Session started at 10:37 AM.
Return to regular session at 11:13 AM.  No action to be taken.
 
Motion to adjourn approved at 11:14 AM. 




City Council Meeting 1 December 2015

 

Opening invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.

 

Call to order at 6:02 PM by Mayor Wolff.

 

Roll Call showed all members present with the exception of Council person Upton.

 

The agenda was approved as printed.

 

Mayor’s Comments:

     It appears Zaxby’s opening date will be delayed by approximately one week.  Should be open by 21 December.  Shoney’s is moving along nicely.

 

Approval of previous minutes:

     Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Approval of accounts payable.

     Approved by unanimous vote.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

     Mr. Shannon Bryant of Bryant towing and body shop was scheduled to be on hand for this meeting to discuss towing pricing but unfortunately he broke his hand today and will need to be rescheduled.

 

     Bid results for Fire Department Turnout Gear. 

     Two bids were returned,  Sunbelt Fire has submitted the low bid at $89,550.00.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Council person Upton arrived.

 

     Employee Bonuses:

     After discussion and a request of an opinion from the office of the Attorney General it appears that, due to the structure of income for the city, it is NOT illegal for the city to pay employees a one-time bonus for Christmas.  The Attorney General ruled that because of the income the city receives for running its own utilities program which is placed in the general fund, bonuses can be paid because it’s not all tax payer money.

 

New Business:

     Justice Assistance Grant Application.

     A possible ADECCA Grant in the amount of $9,999.00 for the purchase of police equipment exist.  It is necessary a resolution be passed allowing the head of the city, (Mayor Wolff) act as signatory on all issues involving the grant.  Resolution introduced and passed.

 

Committee Reports:

     The city owns 62 separate parcels of property.  Council person Upton made a motion this property be appraised and some of it to be sold.  Motion seconded and passed by unanimous vote.

 

     The new laundry mat had their official ribbon cutting opening ceremony today.

 

     The Magnolia Apartments legacy is on a short rope and coming to a close.  The owners have agreed to sell this property to the city for a price of $51,500.00 less taxes owed.  A total cost to purchase of approximately $48,000.00.  Motion to make this purchase passed by unanimous vote.  Stand by to hear the sound of jackhammers and bulldozers as soon as the clear deed is in the city’s hands.

 

Motion to Adjourn approved at 6;17 PM



Commission Meeting 23 November 2015

 

     Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Millender who also opened with prayer.  The pledge of Allegiance followed. 

 

     Roll Call showed District 4 Commissioner McCreary absent.  All others were on hand.

 

     The agenda was approved as printed.  Previous meeting minutes were approved as read.

 

Payroll/personnel:

     There were 2 new hires as C. O’s for the jail department.  4 hours of overtime, 2 for the jail and 2 for the engineering department required approval also.  Passed unanimously.

 

Claims Approval:

    There were no claims over the imposed limits of $500.00 and $3,000.00.

   

Castleberry Wood Products:

     Dr. John Johnson, Coastal Gateway, was on hand with Mr. Brian Roth to discuss tax abatement and an increase in plant size and spectrum.  Castleberry Wood Products in owned by a web based entity known as Industree Products.  They are increasing the number of employees by 2 and are working plains to enhance cost and work efficiency at the current plant.

     There was also talk of possibly getting a spur track at the current plant and starting a more dedicated routing of their timber products.  If this happens the work force size should more than double.

     A tax abatement was approved by unanimous vote.

 

Both Brocks, Johnny and Randy, were unavailable for the meeting.

     Ms. Judy Covan, County Administrator advised that Sheriff Brock was at full capacity on Correction Officers with 26 persons assigned.   The department is one deputy short with only 11 on hand.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Winston Foshee reported he had a memo of understanding from ALADOT dealing with debris removal after a storm.  Currently ALADOT will make the first pass on state roads.  After that it becomes the responsibility of the county to cover all other debris removal from both county and state right of ways. 

     The commission body determined that more study was needed prior to taking action on this memo.

 

County Administrator:

     Ms. Covan advised the commission that should they desire, the time for Christmas ads has arrived as pointed out by Monthly View Owner/Publisher, Mr. Jim Allen.  The commission body elected to take a ¼ page Christmas ad.  Commissioner Andrews noted that now would be an ideal time to get a phot of Castleberry Wood Products and the Commission body for the ad.  Mr. Allen informed the commission body that a ¼ page ad would not accommodate everything they discussed putting into it.

     Mr. Roth stated Castleberry Wood Products would be very interested in placing an ad with Mr. Allen.

 

     Discussion about the Board of Education (B.O.E.) move and building upkeep came front and center again.  The B. O. E. has requested the commission budget $4,000.00 per month for a 5 year period of time for building maintenance and upkeep.  This is to ensure a loan to the B. O. E. that will be used to overhaul and upgrade the facilities at South Side School to accommodate the staff of the B. O. E.  In return, after the 5 year period, the B. O. E. will not request any upkeep monies from the commission for a period of time.

     Final determination was to have the county attorney draw up paperwork dealing with this agreement and, if approved and signed by the B. O. E., the commission would sign the same.  If everything falls into place the county will begin their $4,000.00 commitment in January 2016.

 

     Johnsonville/Franklin Town residents requested that a “NO LOTTERY” sign be posted in their area.  They have their reasons for this request and it was not an option for discussion.  After talking about this, the commission body determined this should be a duty of the sheriff and he will be contacted on the same.

 

     Revenue Commissioner Jimmy Bell has requested blinds be purchased for his interior office space windows.  It seems people going by are distracting his workers from their task.  After discussion it was determined to talk with Mr. Bell about this and see if some other way was available to handle this problem.

 

     Ms. Covan advised a county worker was in need of sick hours.  There is an emergency in their family and a call for voluntary turnover of sick hours has been asked for.  Ms. Gardner in the Probate Office and Ms. Covan of the Commission Office has donated 80 hours each.  Carrying people are still out there.

 

     The purchasing of new software for the Commission Admin spaces came before the body again.  A motion to go forward with the purchase was made and approved by unanimous vote.  Total cost approximately $58,000.00.  Should be getting it around next April.

 

     The maintenance agreement for the current AS400 server used by all departments has expired.  A company with the contract is no longer in business.  A contract with a new company (Mainline Info) has been offered at a cost of $3,416.00 per year was offered and approved.

 

Commissioners Comments:

     A motion to move forward with the safe room land purchase was approved by unanimous vote.

 

News Media Comments:  None

 

The next agenda item was for an executive session.  A motion to go into executive session was made and approved by unanimous voice vote.

Time: 5:50

Reconvene: 6:35

 

     Discussion of job descriptions for the Administrative staff was next.  It was determined new job description must be done, most especially with regard to Ms. Covan’s impending retirement.

     After some discussion it was determined to allow the staff to work on it and give a report at the next scheduled meeting.

 

Motion to Adjourn:

     Approved 6:46 PM



Commission Work Session 23 Nov 2015

 

Call to order at 4 PM by Commission Chairman Millender.

 

     Grant writer Cara Stallman was on hand to talk about the storm shelter/safe house.  With her was Mr. Jim Walker with the Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood firm.

 

     Ms. Stallman asks the commission when they planned to get the project underway.  She advised that should an extension be deemed necessary, it must be asked for 3 months in advance and it would be much easier to get an extension with a forward move toward getting the project off the ground.

 

     When asked about the amount of money needed to move forward Ms. Stallman reminded the commission this was a re-imbursement grant and the money would have to be paid by the county first then an invoice would be issued to FEMA for pay back.

 

     Ms. Stallman stated that approximately $30-35,000.00 should be ample to get started.  That money would go to primarily pay the grant administrator and the architect.  She also stated the normal turnaround time for getting money back from the government was about 6 weeks.

 

     The building is to be a 3,200 square foot structure and will take approximately 8-10 months to construct.

 

     When asked about the interior furnishings requirements Ms. Stallman told the commission the interior furnishings would be something of their choice.  She stated FEMA primarily looks at an open space environment.  There will be a kitchen of sorts; it will be what is referred to as a “warming” kitchen.  Heavy duty cooking will not be available.  Most entities elect to have some folding tables and chairs and cots.

 

     Mr. Walker spoke to the commission and presented them with a drawing plan for the interior of the building.  The commission was also reminded that the only time an absolute requirement that the doors be opened is during a tornado warning.  That is when a weather system coming through has actually spawned tornados.

 

     The commission was advised that work needs to start soon with a site survey and geo techs coming in to do their initial prep for the construction portion.  It was suggested Mr. Walker look at the proposed site to see if there were any obvious problems. 

 

     Mr. Walker and Ms. Stallman departed the chamber to go to Wild Avenue and take a look.

 

     Ms. Shawnee Booker, E-911 Director came before the commission to provide them with information they had requested dealing with income and expenses.

 

     She provided them with a spread sheet coving the months of September/October 2015 dealing with the amount of money coming in from the telephone system usage and with the amount of money spent in operating cost.  Currently the figures indicate the system is primarily able to break even however that will change shortly.  The income factors she had for that period were some payments from the city that had been in arrears and that income would not be forthcoming with the city withdrawing their police dispatch from E-911.

 

     Ms. Booker had been tasked with examining how Conecuh’s E-911 dispatches compensation packages stacked up against other counties.  It seems Conecuh is a training ground for dispatches who primarily leave after completing training.  They move on to greener pastures if you get the meaning.

 

     Ms. Booker stated she was currently fully staffed with 11 dispatchers.  The pay scale for the dispatchers varies due to time and experience.  Currently the county pays their health insurance, life insurance, 8 hours of annual leave and 8 hours of sick leave per month.

 

     The compensation factor was discussed and tabled until the next meeting whereby more time to look into just what can be done to encourage dispatchers to stay with Conecuh can be further addressed.

 

Meeting adjourned at 4:50 PM



City Council Meeting 17 November 2015

 
Public hearing on incoming hotel prior to meeting being called to order.

 
Invocation by Mr. Mike Lanier

 
6:00 PM;  Call to order by Mayor Wollf

 
Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda was approved as amended for airport report.

 
Mayor’s Report:  Zaxby’s scheduled to open 14 December 2015.  Shoney’s slab and walls are up.  Pushing hard to open soon as possible.

        Airport discussion revealed that a resolution must be passed so grants may be requested.  Asking grant for 5 inches of asphalt on the runway extension.  Due to the darkness along the runway, it was suggested by the FAA that taxi lights also be requested in this grant.

     5 year airport capital improvement plans must be shared with FAA.  $50,000.00 for the asphalting and $110,000.00 for lighting.  The city’s share will be $27,100.00.  Should have response back by March or April.

     Resolution motion offered by Council person Skinner, 2 by Upton, passed unanimously.

 

Approval of previous minutes:  Unanimous

 

Accounts payable:  Unanimous

 

Old Business:

     Three final invoices for current CDBG grant.  Invoices were from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Suncoast and to the grant writer.

 

New Business:

     Magnolia Apartments appraisal back but no open for public discussion because of pending litigation.  The bill for the appraisal was approved in open session.  Total cost, $1,500.00.

     Compliance Officer Bobby McNeil addressed the council about the Lewis Pest Control building.  Mayor Wolff desires to fix/repair the building.  Attorney Hartley advised the mayor and council that could not be done on private property.

     The original letter sent to Lewis Pest Control must be resent and the council will wait for the owner to come before the council.

     Complaint on Cemetery Avenue.  Weeds from another property are intruding into another residents property destroying the ascetic beauty of her property.  She has insisted something be done to correct the situation.

Christmas bonuses: 

     Attorney Hartley advised the mayor and council that cash bonuses CANNOT be given in any form regardless of the name applied.  All input was tabled for a future meeting.

Christmas Party:

     To be held 11 December 2015 at the depot during lunch.

AMROA CONFERENCE:

     Alabama Municipal Revenue Officers Association conference to be held 3-4 December 2015 at the Auburn-Opelika Hotel and conference center.  Mike Hinson, interim clerk, will be attending at a cost of $550.00.

Dinner for Hillcrest football team:

     Attorney Hartley informed the mayor and council that they could not pay for a dinner of this nature from public funds.

     Council person Upton made a motion to give a $1,200.00 donation to the booster club for their run to beat T. R. Miller.  2 by Council person Miller unanimous approval.

Executive Session:

     Call for executive session approved unanimously at 6:23 PM for the purpose of economic development and pending litigation on the Magnolia Apartments. 

     Regular Session:  6:45 PM.

 

Information report;

     New business in town, Bryant Body Shop in the old Interstate Towing Building, appears to be price gouging.  A motion was made to take this company off the tow rotation movement and suspend them for 90 days.  Approved unanimously.

 

Adjourned:

     6:50 PM



Conecuh County Commission Meeting 9 November 2015

 

     Call to order by Chairman Millender, prayer offered by Commissioner Hildreth followed by the pledge of allegiance.

 

     All members were on hand for roll call.

 

     The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Payroll/personnel:

     1 new hire in the jail department.  44.5 hours of overtime.  25 to the sheriff’s department, 11.5 to the jail and 8 to district 5.  (I know, I don’t know where the other hour is either).  Motion to approve by Andrews, 2 by Hildreth, unanimous vote.

 

     Chairman Millender asked for a report on the software investigation assigned to the staff at the previous meeting.  Ms. Brown reported they had checked with Morgan, Monroe and Lowndes Counties with positive feedback from all involved.

     By all appearances, should the county seek to upgrade their current software to the smart fusion program, it should result in an improvement in completing all tasking.

     It was reported there were some issues at first but that was primarily due to a “break-in” period.

     A question was asked if the upgraded software could be integrated with the current software.  Answer: No it’s standalone and will not work with the current programs employed by the county.

     It was also asked that, should we elect to go with this software when could the installation, training begin.  Ms. Brown stated that it appears the company could get started by April.

     Chairman Millender asked if anyone knew how other users had paid for their product and, if we upgrade, where will our funding come out?

     Chairman Millender also noted that the staff has looked into the current software and found additional programs we have that may work just as well as the new package.  He tasked the staff with investigating and seeing if we actually need the upgrade or if we only need extra training on our current system. 

     To be reported on at next meeting.

 

Claims Approval:

     There were 7 claims over the $500.00 board limit requiring approval and no claims over the $3,000.00 board limit requiring approval.  Motion to approve met with unanimous vote.

 

Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance:

     Dr. John Johnson came before the commission to address the importance of upkeep on empty properties that may be used for industrial growth.  This property is referred to as Brownfields.

     Dr. Johnson addressed a program whereby the alliance will work to get grant writers to assist in preparing request for assistance in getting businesses into these facilities.  Mr. Johnson strongly suggested a local official familiar with grant writing procedures work with the proposed alliance grant writers.  EMA Director Johnny Brock has volunteered to assist in any manner possible.  A motion was made and approved by unanimous vote for Mr. Brock to assist.

     Mr. Johnson announced a foundry that had looked into possibly moving into our region has elected to go elsewhere.

     He also noted that an aerospace company had declined to come here too.

 

Evergreen Economic Director:

     Mr. Bobby Skipper, Evergreen’s Economic Director had requested to be on the agenda to discuss incentives for a hotel scheduled to come to Evergreen.  Mr. Skipper had called and cancelled until a possible later date.

 

EMA Director:

     Mr. Johnny Brock spoke of on an impending lease with Hiper Reach.  This contract has been in effect for 1 year and never used.  Mr. Brock recommends sending a non-renewal letter and allows him, if needed to look into another company for the product.  Motion passed by commission body to permit this.

 

Sheriff’s Report:

     Sheriff Randy Brock noted all the new vehicles are complete and in use now.   He also noted the inmate help program is working well.  He is able to send 2 trustees to the animal shelter almost daily and also supplies help to Ricky as needed.

     The sheriff explained the overtime for his department was caused by mitigating circumstances.  One was a murder in Monroeville that spread to Conecuh and an accident resulting in an entrapment.  He also noted there had been a large amount of prisoner transports.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Foshee noted he needed approval for a new gravel pit agreement in the Lennox Community.  The pit is owned by Mr. Ron Shumack and cost will be $1.60 per cubic yard.  Agreement approved.

     Mr. Foshee spoke of a new program referred to as “D.R.I.V.E.”  This program is designed to provide a new source of revenue for road and bridge repair.  Mr. Foshee noted the gas tax has not been increased since 1992.  The county is going to have to explore some way to get additional funds into the coffers to cover this cost.

     Mr. Foshee noted there will be a press release addressing this forthcoming.  He noted that under the ATRIP program the county basically got 30 years of road revenue repairs within a 3 year period.

     Mr. Foshee stated the state gas tax is $.18 per gallon.  That’s the amount collected then the counties is cutout and sent back.  The county CANNOT pass a gas or sales tax without it being voted on by the public.

 

County Administrator:

     Ms. Judy Covan advised she had an invoice dealing with the promised tax rebate for the economic development board.  This bill is in the amount of $13,050.23.  Motion to pay approved.

     When questioned about the budget, Ms. Covan noted the 2015/2016 budget has officially been closed out.

 

County Attorney:

     Nothing to report as per Mr. Bishop.

 

Commissioners Comments:

     Commissioner Andrews expressed extreme displeasure that Commissioner Hildreth had allowed Commissioner Millender to attend the regional commission representation and granted him a proxy vote.  Mr. Andrews was adamant that he should be on that body and the current manner of doing things were not in accordance with the way it was initially set up.  Mr. Andrews further stated that Commissioners Cook and McCreary were also concerned and unhappy with this manner of doing things.

     Commissioner Millender asked the administrator if it had been noted in the minutes the system voted on and approved at the first commission meeting of this term was one that the commissioner assigned to this ALACOM body was to be the county commissioner that was to be next in line for the chairman position.  Ms. Covan stated it was so noted in the official minutes. 

     Commissioner Millender then asked what the problem was.  Mr. Andrews went into a red faced diatribe about how he had severed on that committee and “they” really wanted him to be the representative and it was improper to allow a proxy vote.

     Chairman Millender asked Commissioner Cook for his input.  Mr. Cook really had nothing to contribute.  Commissioner McCreary stated his thoughts were the commissioner in line should be the one covering the meeting.

     Commissioner Millender noted that Mr. Hildreth was the board member and, when he had been unable to attend a meeting he asked Mr. Millender to cover and vote in his place.  Mr. Millender noted that certain members of this commission body were attempting to tell another body how they could run their business.  Not improper or illegal had been done, the discussion was over and it was time to move on.

     None of these statements were satisfactory to Mr. Andrews who accused “everyone” of being in a conspiracy and how all three of the commissioners who’d voted in favor of the landfill were present and this, and that and (the world just ain’f fair ‘cause you won’t put me back on the board).

 

     Commissioner Cook reminded everyone that Veterans Day is this Wednesday and everyone should honor those who’ve served.

 

News Media:

     No Comments

 

Adjourn:

     9:55 AM



Council meeting 3 November 2015

 
Invocation by Mr. Mike Lanier

 
Call to order at 6 PM by Mayor Wolff

 
Roll call:  All members present

 
Agenda:  Approved after one amendment.  Removal of old business items.

 
Previous minutes approved by unanimous vote.

 
Mayor’s Comments:  A deal is working for the Liberty Hill project, more information later.

 
New Business:

     Mike Hinson, Interim city clerk/treasurer, requested permission to attend the Alabama municipal clerks annual conference in Perdido Beach Resort at Orange Beach Alabama 18-20 November.  Cost $700.00.  Approved unanimously.

 
Executive Session:

     Approved unanimously.  Executive session commenced 6:02 PM

                                             Regular session reconvened 6:13 PM

 

     Attorney Hartley announced that Mr. Bobby McNeil has located an appraiser in Brewton that should be able to give an appraisal on the Magnolia Heights Apartments.  This is needed prior to demolition of the buildings.

 

Motion to Adjourn 6:21 PM approved unanimously.


Commission Meeting 26 October 2015

 

Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Millender.  Prayer offered by Commissioner Cook followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call:

     All present except for District One (1) Commissioner Hildreth.

 

Chairman Millender requested all presentations be limited to five minutes if possible.

 

The agenda and previous minutes were approved as presented.

 

Payroll/personnel report:

     The only item under this report was to approve eight (8) hours of overtime from District Three (3).  Approved by unanimous vote.  

 

Approve claims:

     Only one claim above the $500.00 limit paid to Attorney Firm Webb & Elly.  Approved as presented.

 

Conecuh Region Cooperative District, Series 2015B Bonds:

     Mr. Barry Staples of Maynard, Cooper and Gale, P.C. spoke briefly to the commission body on the amount of savings dealing with this series of bonds.  Mr. Ken Funderbunk advised the commission body there was an overall net savings of $185,000.00, or 5.6% of outstanding debt.  The savings has been applied to the debt creating a savings of $36-38,000.00 per year.

 

Superintendent of Education:

     Doctor Byrd came before the commission asking for approval of a letter of commitment to ensure the relocation move of the Board of Education from its current building to the new location at Southside School.  There are several issues and items that must be completed prior to this move taking place. 

     Dr. Byrd spoke of several problems with the current office spaces that really make it an embarrassment for outside visitors during business meetings.  These include but are not limited to extreme water problems, especially with bathrooms.

     Dr. Byrd estimated that, should things stay on the current program of movement; the Board should be able to move into the new spaces in June 2016.

     Dr. Byrd thanked the commission body for the efforts and funds programmed for this move but also asked the commission body to continue programming the same amount in the budget over the next five (5) years for continuing improvement to the new board building.

     A motion was offered for the chairman and one other commissioner along with the County Administrator to meet with Dr. Byrd to discuss all aspects of this move.  Motion made by Andrews, seconded by Cook and passed by unanimous vote.

 

Bid Opening:

     Bids for janitorial service for county buildings were opened at 5:30 PM.  Two (2) bids had been received.  One (1) from B, D & S out of Monroeville and one (1) from the current service provider, Central Maintenance Service.

     Bid amounts were divided into cost per space for the government center, District Attorney’s office, David Burt Building, Engineering Department, EMA, E-911 and the Board of Education. 

     Low bid of $4,206.00 per month submitted by B, D & S approved by unanimous vote.

 

EMA:

     Director Johnny Brock reported the safety committee had met all requirements necessary for the continuation of funds.  Only matter of business needing completion is a letter requiring a signature from the chairman.  Motion to allow chairman to sign approved by unanimous vote.

     Mr. Brock has been approached by the Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department about gaining access to the government center after hours.  It has been noted on more than one occasion that a response by the fire department has resulted in them waiting outside for up to 45 minutes after receiving an alert.  The VFD Chief has requested relief in some manner so the VFD can complete their job.  Had there been an actual fire, it could have been completely out of control while they waited for a key.

     Chairman Millender noted Sheriff Brock was in the audience and, considering he is responsible for security, how did he desire to handle this situation.

     The sheriff stated he saw no real problem with allowing up to three (3) of the VFD members having a key access for these circumstances.  Action to be completed.

 

Sheriff’s Report:

     Sheriff Brock reported he had been staying on top of Highway 73 no truck situation by sending a deputy out daily.  Commissioner Andrews noted there were still some problems with trucks using the wrong road to come and go.  Sheriff Brock will check on this.

     He noted that approximately two (2) weeks ago his department had picked up the three (3) new vehicles ordered and had one (1) already on the road with the others coming along weekly.

     Sheriff Brock talked of a program in effect in all but four (4) Alabama Counties, (guess who’s a member of those counties without this program?) dealing with a “Lifesaver Program.”  This is a program whereby a tracking device can be issued and attached to certain persons.  The purpose of this device is for one of safety which, for example, could help track and locate a special needs child or Alzheimer’s patients.

     Based on Sheriff Brock’s statements, Conecuh is one (1) of only four (4) counties in the entire state who does not have this program available.  He estimated the cost of the program to be approximately $4,000.00, a cheap price to pay for a little extra security. 

     Commissioner Millender noted the budget has already been approved and closed.  He suggested that, should there be a grant for this type equipment, we should try for that. 

     Folks, there’s a lot of oil money coming into this county perhaps some responsible citizen could see their way clear to possibly assist in this worthwhile program.  I’m sure if you have a desire to help a quick, short talk with Sheriff Brock and/or Chairman Millender will put you in position whereby this could become a reality.

 

County Administrator Report:

     Ms. Covan reported she had a contract from the current property appraiser for approval.  Mr. Kervin has been functioning as the county’s appraiser for several years now waiting for a replacement to complete school.  For this contractual period Mr. Kervin has reduced his contract cost.  He has been working three (3) days per week but the new contract only calls for two (2) days per week with the cost factor showing a reduction for the cut back.

     It was noted the student going through the appraisal school has been doing super on grades and is on schedule to take a final test next March.  Current indications are they should pass this test with no problems.  When that happens they will be qualified to step in and take over the full job. 

     It was suggested and approved to give Mr. Kervin a contract until 1 April 2016 with a re-negotiate clause in the event there are some problems.  Approved by unanimous vote.

     Ms. Covan noted a certain small business within the city had accrued tax penalties from not having paid state and federal taxes.  Further discussion revealed it was not the fault of the business but a mess up in paperwork from another entity.  The business has requested a waiver of penalties.  Waiver granted by the commission body.

     The NAACP sent a letter to the commission body asking their continued support of the thirty-ninth annual “Freedom Fund” dinner.  The cost of attendance was discussed and an approval to purchase full page advertising was approved.

     Items discussed during the work session were re-introduced for possible action.  At this time Chairman Millender recommended the Government Services software upgrade and the Center for Government Services programs be placed in a hold status until the staff has the opportunity to review and check these programs out by visiting adjacent counties with these programs in effect.  To be addressed at the next meeting.

 

County Attorney:

     Attorney Anthony Bishop reported he was in receipt of the memorandum of understanding between the city and county dealing with the “safe house” grant that the city has turned over to the county.  This was the topic brought before the commission body by grant writer Cara Stallman during the work session.  She encouraged the commission to set a date for starting the project.

     Mr. Bishop informed the commission the solid waste management plan was completed by county specs and was ready for submission.  Unsure of where the city stacks up with this but if the city is not satisfied with the plan they have the right to submit their own.  Approved by unanimous vote to submit the counties part.

 

Commissioners Comments:

     Commissioner Cook reported that Lyeffion Water Authority has submitted two (2) names to remain as members on the Lyeffion water board.  Mr. Covan and Mr. Woods.  Both received unanimous approval from the commission.

 

News Media Comments:

     Monthly View owner and publisher Jim Allen remarked about the “Life Saver” program introduced by Sheriff Brock.  Has his strongest recommendation.

 

Adjourn:

     With no further business meeting adjourned at 6:06 PM.

 

Post meeting, meeting.

     After adjournment both Jim Allen and I were approached by one of the commissioners asking about the last city council meeting and the vote as reported on the vehicle purchase.  That was one where three (3) council members abstained, one (1) council member voted no and two (2) members, to include the mayor, voted to purchase additional police department and electrical department vehicles.

     Primarily we were both asked our opinion if a legal vote had taken place and if the motion had carried.  Answer, yes.

     The person asking the questions said something was just stinky about that whole deal and stated that had the commission body done something of that nature we’d be in their backsides. 

     Opinions are great, I have mine and obviously others have theirs.  The city’s move was funky but not illegal.

 

By the way, lots of folks getting their name on the ballot to run for commissioner of a district.  Guess they’ll wait and get on the job training ‘cause ain’t none of them attending these meetings.



Commission Work Session 26 October 2015

 
    A published agenda for this afternoons work session was available.

     Chairman Millender called the work session to order at 3 PM with four (4) commissioners on hand.  District One Commissioner Hildreth was unable to attend.

 

     The audience consisted of me, Jim Allen, Sheriff Brock and EMA Director Johnny Brock.

 

     First item for discussion was Mr. Jeff Ivey, Harris Local Government regional sales rep.  He was on hand to discuss Smart Fusion Software and give an overview of what he has observed.

 

     This software was discussed at a previous commission meeting and it was agreed to have a presentation made before this commission body.  It was pointed out the software currently in use was 30 years old.

 

     Mr. Ivey described how his company’s software would upgrade our operating systems and there would be a guaranteed backup to all of our stuff. 

 

     A question arose about servers and Mr. Ivey said most customers went through his company’s server but, should Conecuh want to have a local server they could do so.  The cost of using Harris’s server would be $75.00 per month per user.  Naturally if we purchased our own server there would be no charge other than the cost of the server, approximately $8-10,000.00.  Also, maintenance and upkeep would be a county responsibility.

 

     After several questions and answers it was determined to table all input from this session until members of the commission staff could visit some other local counties using this system and evaluate everything.  This will be an issue at the next commission meeting.

 

     Grant writer Cara Stallman was on hand to talk about the safe room project.  She described how the payments for this safe room were to be handled considering it had been awarded as a city project who then passed it over to the county.  Ms. Stallman encouraged the commission to make some move toward starting the project but advised them when it started there was a matching funds portion that must be made available immediately.

 

     This item will be addressed at the next meeting.

 

     Ms. Stallman also advised the commission that all aspects of the last CDBG grant has been met making us available for more grant submissions this year.  She encouraged the commission to figure out what they wanted, let her know and we’d get started on grant request.

 

     Mr. Walter Lewis, Managing Director for Piper Jaffray & Co. was on hand to describe the refinancing of series 2006 bonds.  He noted that should the commission agree to refinance now there would be an interesting savings of $474,000.00 immediately and, if left in place, would equal $613,000.00 over the life of the loan.  This equates to a 7.18% overall savings.

 

     Mr. Lewis said all this could be accomplished by mid-November.

 

     Ms. Maria Tamblyn with Human Resources Consulting Programs spoke next.  Her company comes out of the center for Governmental Services at Auburn.  She advised of improvements her company could make with the management and fairness aspects of our county employees.

 

     It was agreed Conecuh was well behind the power curve on all the aspects she brought forth.  Ms. Tamblyn advised that should the county elect to hire her company, it would be well after first of the year before they could come here.  They have such a standing would load already.  A cost factor was discussed but Ms. Tamblyn said it would be difficult to set a hard and fast price until they evaluated what they had to work with and on.

 

Work session adjourned at 4:50 PM.



City Council 20 October 2015

 

A public hearing was held prior to the council meeting.  Public hearing started at 5:50 PM and dealt with authorizing the city to provide incentives to Ascent Hospitality Inc.
Public hearing closed at 5:52 PM.

 
     The Evergreen City Council met at 6:02 PM with an invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier followed by a call to order by Mayor Wolff.

 
Roll Call revealed all members present.  The agenda was approved as written.

 
Mayor’s Report and Comments:  Wendy’s is doing a booming business since opening.  Both Zaxby’s and Shoney’s are progressing well and appear to be on schedule.  Reid State Technical College will be holding a job fair Thursday, 29 October. 

 
Hazard Mitigation Plan submitted by County EMA Director Johnny Brock was approved by unanimous vote.  It was noted every city and county must pass a resolution to be entitled to receive FEMA reimbursement in the event of severe weather damage or other circumstances.

 
Previous minutes:  Approved as read.  The Approval of Accounts Payable was done by unanimous vote.

 Old Business:

     A resolution for the 2016 Severe Weather Tax Holiday was approved by unanimous vote.

 New Business: 

     A request from “Relay For Life” to be held on 7 November 2015 was approved by unanimous vote.

     The authorization to purchase 4 police vehicles (Tahoe’s) and 2 other vehicles for the electric department at a total cost of $140,000.00 (financed) received a vote of 3 abstentions, (Council persons Miller, Skinner and Fountain), 1 nay (Harris) and 2 ayes (Upton and Mayor Wolff).  Motion carried.  The payout amount for the city will be $3,400.00 per month.

     A resolution authorizing the city to provide incentives to Ascent Hospitality, Inc. for the purpose of locating a hotel facility in the Liberty Hills Development area resulted in a call for executive session to discuss impending economic development.

 Executive Session:  6:16 PM

Regular Session:  Resumed at 6:34 PM

     After returning to regular session a vote to accept a land deed deal only with Ascent was approved unanimously.  Any other incentives will come via the Cooperative District.

 

Adjourn:  6:35 PM




County Commission Meeting 12 October 2015

 

     Meeting called to order at 9 AM by Chairman Millender.  Prayer offered by Commissioner Hildreth followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call:  All members present.

 

     The Agenda and previous minutes approved by unanimous vote.  The last set of minutes equated to 11 written pages and a discussion of how minutes should be taken and what should be in them ensued.  Overall consensus was, only key information should be put in the minutes.

 

Approve payroll/personnel report:  3 separations from the Courthouse security reported and 1 new hire.  All courthouse security personnel were picked up and absorbed into the sheriff’s department in one manner or another.  There was 1 separation from the jail department.  There were 58 hours of overtime with the sheriff’s department having 21.5, jail 20.5 and district one having 15 hours.  Payroll/personnel report approved by unanimous vote.

 

Claims approval:  In the general fund 3 claims over the $500.00 limit needed approval.  In the gasoline fund, over $3,000.00, 4 claims needed approval.  Motion to accept made and seconded, passed by unanimous vote.

 

Center for governmental services:  A highly recommended class of instruction dealing with job and people management.  Chairman Millender, Ms. Covan and Ms. Brown all spoke strongly of this class.  This was a class recommended by EMA Director Johnny Brock. 

     Chairman Millender suggested the commission body invite the group down to make a presentation.  No price for this service was available until they could come down and evaluate what needs to be done.  One area this presentation could help in is bringing the county’s Employee Handbook to completion.  Ms. Covan will take care of arrangements.

 

County Software Review:  It was noted that for all primary purposes it has been 15 years since the county has had any real software upgrade.

     A review of how our county operates shows Conecuh could trim numerous costs by incorporating improved software. 

     Some of the staff attended a class presented dealing with items available.  It was determined to be advantageous for the county to move toward getting a presentation from the manufacturer, evaluate cost and work to incorporate any acceptable changes into our system by March.  It was pointed out one area that could be expounded on immediately would save the county approximately $3,000.00 per month in current cost.

     One does not have to go far at this rate to make anything done pay for itself.

 

EMA Director:  Mr. Johnny Brock had no new business to come before the commission.  He stated the Storm Shelter project was moving forward.

Sheriff’s Report:  Sheriff Randy Brock didn’t have anything to bring before the commission other than thanks for the 3 new vehicles.  They are currently being fitted with necessary lights, whistles and gear to bring them up to speed.  Estimated time of 4 weeks until road ready.

     Mr. Brock advised the commission of a Sheriff’s conference in Tuscaloosa dealing with elections.  He stated his intentions were to attend if at all possible.

     Mr. Brock also advised that courthouse security was still a work in progress dealing with the recent transaction of the sheriff’s department picking up security.

     Jail overtime is being looked at closely in an attempt to curtail the cost factor.

     The sheriff is going to work toward ensuring 18 wheelers keep to marked routes.

 

County Engineer:  Mr. Winston Foshee brought forth the results of his research and recommendations into the bids opened at the previous meeting.  In all cases, his recommendation was to the lowest bidder.  On 2 separate items he noted there were tie bids and his recommendation was to award both bidders.  Motion to accept the engineer’s recommendation approved by unanimous vote.

 

County Administrator:  Ms. Judy Covan also had bid recommendations from the previous meeting.  She too recommended work go to the lowest bidders.  Approved by the commission body.

     Ms. Covan noted the budget appropriations for fire and rescue departments were in the budget and she was interested as to how they should be paid out.  Last year there were some advance payments made at the request of certain entities.  The commission body determined they would make these payouts in January.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

County Attorney:  Mr. Anthony Bishop advised he understood the city had approved the E-911 memorandum of understanding sent to them however; he had nothing of an official nature to ensure that.

 

Commissioners Comments:  Nothing forthcoming from the commission body.

 

Executive session:  called for pending litigation and approved by voice vote.  Began at 9:58 AM, ended at 10:34 AM.

     Unanimous vote to reconvene in regular session.

 

     No news media comments.

 

Motion to Adjourn:  10:35 AM



City Council, 6 October 2015

 

Invocation:  Offered by Mr. Mike Lanier

 

Call to order:  By Mayor Wolff at 6 PM

 

Roll Call:  Council person Harris was absent as was City Attorney Hartley.

 

     Former City Clerk Peggy Howell sat in for Ms. Terri Nobles who was out.  Good to see Ms. Howell again.

 

Agenda Approval:  Unanimous vote.

 

Mayor’s Report and Comments:

     Mayor Wolff recognized Fire Chief Ricky Nobles who was on hand to discuss needed replacement firefighting suits.  Chief Nobles advised that 30 suits need replacing at an estimated cost of $2,500.00-$3,000.00 each.  He went on to note that suits should be removed from service after 10 years of being in use.  These suits have been in use since 2004.

     A motion was made and seconded to purchase these suits.  In discussion Mayor Wolff advised the city would find the money to make this purchase and for Chief Nobles to go forward with ordering.  Mayor Wolff noted they would pursue possible grants to help offset the cost.  Motion carried by unanimous vote.

 

     Council person Fountain reported she had complaints about driveway drop off at the junction of the driveway and the street.  She referred to pictures presented at previous meeting showing the amount of gap between the drive and the street.

     Superintendent Sullivan advised he was aware of the situation but the cost of repair will be exorbitant.  After discussion Mayor Wolff said repairs would be undertaken on a case by case basis.

 

Approval of previous minutes:   Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Old Business:

     Trick or Treat Halloween Date set for 29 October from 5-8 PM.  This will be a door to door Halloween.

 

     The engine servicing bids have been returned with 3 responses.  Interstate Towing was the low bidder at $29.95 each.  Motion to approve by unanimous vote.

 

     The long standing eyesore of Magnolia Apartments on Magnolia Avenue has been resolved.  Mr. Jessie Lett with Jig Saw Homes was low bidder at $38,000.00.  Mr. Lett will be advised by the council on a start date for the removal of these units.

 

     E-911 negotiations were next on the agenda.  The city is in receipt of a letter from the county offering 90 day free E-911 dispatch which allows time for the city to bring their equipment up to par.  The city agreed to accept this proposal but stated at the end of the 90 days they will only take over the dispatch of police.  Ambulance, fire and rescue will still be the responsibility of E-911.  (Side note:  If you’re only dispatching the police how can you say you’ve taken over E-911 dispatch?  Will the city pay any funds to the county for the remaining dispatching of emergency vehicles)?

     Chief Simpson noted he is currently having to pay overtime to employees acting as dispatchers.  During this 90 day period he will be checking with the 4 city employees currently at E-911 and see if they wish to come back to the city, if not, he will need to hire additional people.

     Team One, a company currently upgrading broadcast capabilities, has quoted a price of $25,000.00 to bring the city up to par for their abbreviated E-911 endeavors.  Council person Upton made a motion to allow Chief Simpson handle this transition.  Passed by unanimous vote.

 

New Business:

     Council person Upton made a motion the city foot the bill for Mr. Larry Ryland to attend the E-911 conference previously discussed at another meeting.  When no second was forthcoming Mayor Wolff seconded the motion.  A vote was called and Mayor Wolff declared a favorable vote to cover these expenses.  City Clerk Pro tem, Peggy Howell advised she had missed the vote for Mr. Ryland to attend this conference resulting in the mayor polling the council.  Discussion ensued with Council person Fountain pointing out that Mr. Ryland was not a city employee and the attorney had stated in the past that liability could be attached to this motion.  Mayor Wolff stated that although Mr. Ryland was not currently an employee, he would be a city employee soon.  The polling of the council resulted in a failed motion by a vote of 3 nays-2 ayes.

 

     A nomination for the County Board of Equalization (a board designed to assist tax payers with property tax bills) was next.  Council person Upton recommended Mr. Conrad Booker, Keith McIntyre and James Thomas to be members of this board.  Recommendations approved by unanimous vote.

 

     A 2016 agreement for the Area Agency on Aging passed by unanimous vote.

 

     The council approved the severe weather tax holiday scheduled for 26-28 February 2016.

 

    The storm shelter grant that has been transferred to the county was broached.  The county applied for and received permission to relocate the shelter at the corners of Rural and Wild Avenue and, because the city had initially gotten the grant, they were required to approve this change.

 

Executive Session recommended by Economic Development Director Bobby Skipper to discuss Economic Development.

Executive Session start 6:37

                              Stop 6:47 resumed regular session.

       Upon reconvening the council discussed the non-payment of bills by the IDB.  (i.e., no payback on the $350.000.00 borrowed from both the city and county, plus the last 2 businesses they approved to go in the Old Gerber Building has been an economic disaster with money invested by the city and no rent, utility or any other payments being met by the users). 

     Mr. Al Etheridge, previous president of the IDB, has resigned effective 1 October 2015.  General consensus by several council members that other resignations should be asked for. 

     It appears a new tenant is on the horizon.  It was strongly recommended that, prior to any negotiations, it is ensured this tenant is capable of meeting bills.

 

Committee Reports:

     Superintendent Sullivan gave an update on progress at the park.  Electrical materials are ordered and enroute.  Upon arrival they will be staged as close to the park as security will provide.  There are 80 foot poles ordered for lighting at the park.  When the poles come in they will need to rent a bucket truck for installation. 

 

     Working with ALDOT to ease congestion at the new Economic Development Area.  Hopefully some relief can be found for this situation.  This will be a time consuming endeavor.

 

With no further business, meeting adjourned at 6:52.



Emergency Call E-911 Meeting 1 October 2015

 

     An emergency meeting of the E-911 board was called to order at 3 PM 1 October by Chairman Leonard Millender.  Prayer and pledge followed.

 

     The agenda was approved with one amendment, to add the State E-911 Director.

 

     Roll Call showed Chief James Simpson of the advisory board was missing; also missing was Commissioner Ras McCreary, District 4.  All other commissioners were on hand along with Ms. Shawnee Booker, E-911 Director and also in attendance was Mr. Jason Jackson, Executive Director of Alabama E-911 Board.  On hand were EMA and former E-911 Director, Johnny Brock and the Lyeffion Fire Chief, Thad House.  All local news media was represented.

 

     Ms. Booker was called upon to share information provided her shortly after midnight, 1 October.  She advised at midnight an announcement was given over the broadcast system the City of Evergreen would be handling their own dispatch starting immediately and the city was transferring the licenses for NCIC checks back to city hall.  This move took E-911 by surprise and left E-911 in a quandary as to what and how they were to function.

 

     She pointed out that calls still come to the E-911 switchboard but due to no direct hookup to the city there is no way calls can be transferred to the city thereby creating a delay in getting them to the city dispatcher.  The only option open is for E-911 dispatch to call the city via phone and pass the information.  Ms. Booker expressed concerns that this delay could result in untimely responses possibly causing serious harm to citizens in need and could set up potential litigation, hence, she had contacted Mr. Jackson and asked for this meeting.

 

     Mr. Jackson was invited to speak and he echoed Ms. Booker’s concerns of delays.  He told the commission body that he could only offer opinions and options, that any decision made would be a decision made by them, he was in no position to act as anything other than an advisor. 

 

     He noted that, from his experience, when an emergency system operated in the manner E-911 is being called upon to operate there was normally a 4-7 minute lag in response time, time that could be critical in the case of injuries and need for medical attention.  He agreed that there is most probably a labiality factor for the E-911 board and dispatch.  He also pointed out that as information is taken in and then redirected, each time you inject a point of humane error in the fact that it is very easy for any message repeated to become confusing or miss-stated.

 

     Mr. Jackson went on to express that this situation was not unique to Evergreen, it has taken place in other areas of the state, normally when arguing political entities seemed to think there was money to be had within the system.  (The E-911 system receives taxes from phone calls originating within the area, and, depending upon the area, can be a sizeable amount of money). 

 

     Mr. Jackson discussed what was needed to form an effective dispatch system including cost factors.  By his best computations he has determined cost for an operating system capable of handling emergency calls in our local area would be between $250,000.00/$500.000.00.  He also stated that normally such actions as those undertaken here typically result in lawsuits being filed in attempts to get these funds.  Mr. Jackson said the situation encountered here was not unique to Evergreen, it has happened at other locales too.   At this time, Mr. Jackson said no monies were being programmed for or turned over to any newly formed or set up districts.  He went on to amplify that debate does exist on this disbursement of funds but at this stage, the Alabama Attorney General has elected not to become involved and has issued no ruling.  Currently Mr. Jackson’s office has opted to continue sending funding only to those 88 offices that have been in operation.

 

     Mr. Jackson stated that his observations of the varieties of E-911 operations showed the most effective and best were those operations that operated around a centralized location, not a helter, skelter  E-911 dispatch in separate areas.  Mr. Jackson again stated the primary reason most entities want to start their own E-911 dispatch programs is “money.”  He said politicians get the mistaken impression that there are $$$$ to be had in operating a 911 center.  He implied nothing could really be further from the truth and if time is taken to think everything through and compare cost output vice income they will discover the money is not really there and the basic result is a loss of service to the citizens and degradation to the E-911 system.  

 

     Mr. Jackson used an example of an E-911 system that was using a transfer system and, after a call came in a mere 72 second delay in transfer time resulted in the death of a citizen.  A physician actually proved that delay was the major contributing factor of death and the family won a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

 

     Chairman Millender thanked Mr. Jackson for his input and asked if there was anything else he would like to comment on.  Mr. Jackson said he would be happy to stay on hand and answer any questions from the board.

 

     Discussion ensued from the board dealing with sending the city a letter stating if acceptable to the city the county will continue to operate the E-911 call and dispatch center at no cost to the city provided the city will work with the county in coming to a workable ending of procedures.  In other words, don’t just drop everything right now and place both city and county citizens at risk but get together and if unable to make the current system work, at least work to make a smooth transition to something that will accommodate our people.  This would give the city time to see exactly what equipment and procedures are needed to be addressed.

 

     Continued discussion as to how to work the dispatch factor resulted in Commissioner Andrews stating the county should continue business as usual.  Ms. Booker pointed out that it is not business as usual with the insertion of additional dispatches into the system by the city.  She noted the city has actually pulled officers from patrol to man the radios and do the dispatching.

     Mr. Andrews continued and stated he recommends we continue doing business in the same manner we have to prevent any liability factors from entering the picture and hold this procedure until issues can be worked out with the city and the city has made proper preparations.

 

     Mr. Jackson said that he can foresee problems coming down the pipeline whereby the city will want a portion of the income from the 911 income and he fully expects this to develop into a lawsuit which the attorneys representing the State of Alabama E-911 system will duke it out with the city attorneys.  Mr. Jackson further stated that, as of this time, his position has not lost a lawsuit.

 

     Chairman Millender, after listening to this discussion, asked for a motion to give the county attorney a sense of direction as to what he needed to do to move things forward with the city.  Commissioner Cook offered a motion that the county afford the city 120 days to acquire and bring on line the equipment and personnel needed to assume the duties of E-911 protection and, until that time, all prospects of E-911 remains the same.  This motion failed when there was no second and further discussion continued.

 

     Mr. Millender invited Ms. Booker, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Johnny Brock and Mr. House to offer their insight into the situation.  Several issues were discussed including egos and “I’m in charge” attitudes that must be set to one side for the betterment of our county’s residents.

 

     Mr. Millender offered a suggestion that the county offer the city an opportunity to investigate all steps necessary and get them on line to assume E-911 operations as approved by the State E-911 office.  A motion was offered to allow 90 days to the city, with the county paying all operating cost for E-911, and at the end of that time perhaps cooler heads will prevail and something can be worked out to either bring the city up to speed to handle the total dispatch or feelings can be mended in some manner to keep the current style going.

 

     At this time Mr. House, Lyeffion Fire Chief, was recognized.  Mr. House interjected that he had heard of problems between dispatch and the officers and supposedly complaints had been registered.  It is Mr. House’s belief these problems are driving the current issue.  Mr. Cook advised he had heard similar statements made and had been in contact with Chief Simpson who told Mr. Cook that, should any such complaints exist, he was unaware of them.  Mr. Cook alluded to a meeting between county officials and city officials and some of the problems addressed by the city was the feeling they had no representation on the E-911 board, or at least they had no say on any actions taken.  The representation is limited to members of an advisory board status; all final decisions made are in the hands of the commission.  Mr. Cook advised that, during the course of the meeting the county had offered the city any number of positions to any number of people to join the E-911 board on an advisory status only. 

 

     Chairman Millender refocused the discussion back to the point of trying to resolve the problem by attempting to pass the 90 day suggestion and see if the city will accept it.  At the end of that 90 days the city will either be working toward getting everything they need on hand or be working toward making our E-911 more efficient.  Motion made and properly seconded passed by unanimous vote to accept this possible solution.  Mr. Bishop, for clarity purposes, read back the listing of items he will address the city about mostly dealing with the dispatch of emergency vehicles (police, fire, ambulance and any others).  Mr. Millender advised Mr. Bishop to get with the local E-911 director and the state director and figure out how and what duties needed to be turned over. 

 

     Mr. Bishop stated what he took away from the county/city meeting was the city expected to dispatch the police department only, other dispatching, fire, ambulance, etc. would continue to be the responsibility of E-911 department.  (Don’t worry folks, confusion reigns supreme on my part too).

 

     A motion was made that Mr. Millender be an integral part of the negotiations with the city.  Mr. Millender quickly added that he has no problems with that but, should he sit down to talk to anyone about the issue, the issue must be E-911.  All the little personal vendettas and side lines thereto are no part of the discussion, the discussion must be and center on E-911 and fixing the problems there.  A second to the motion was made and a call for the question resulted in a unanimous vote.

 

     When the news media was asked for comments I had some questions and comments.  Firstly I asked who owned the equipment 911 is currently operating with.  I had heard some statements made that either it was city equipment or the city had a vested interest in some of it.  Ms. Booker and Mr. House both confirmed the city did have a partial investment dealing with some matching funds from the last grant.  My next question went to Mr. Jackson.  I asked him if other E-911 boards consisted of all elected officials or if there were non-elected officials boards.  He responded there were boards both ways.

 

     I told the commission body that as an observer I had watched everything leading up to this point and it’s almost like a child’s game, if you don’t play my way, I’ll take my toys and go home.  I told them it was time for someone to step up and be the adult in the group, it wasn’t all about who could put the highest watermark on the wall.  Perhaps it would be in everyone’s best interest to take the overseeing of E-911 from under the “political” aspect and put it in the hands of an appointed board.

 

     I was informed that had been tried in the past and things deteriorated to the point meetings couldn’t be held due to a total lack of decorum and respect.  Mr. Millender stated that, with the board in this condition members started to resign and in order to maintain some aspect of management, the commission had to take it over.

 

     Mr. Cook advised again that during the meeting with the city an offer was made to put other persons on the board to ensure the city was represented.

 

     Mr. Millender adjourned the meeting at 3:55 PM



E-911 Emergency Call Meeting, September 28, 2015

 

An emergency called meeting was deemed necessary after a meeting last week between the City of Evergreen and county representatives failed to establish any real plan of action to deal with the city’s withdrawal from E-911.

 

Call to order at 4 P. M. by Commission Chairman Millender.

 

Opening invocation by Commissioner Hildreth followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call:  All members present with the exception of Evergreen Chief of Police, James Simpson.

 

The agenda was approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Chairman Millender asked the county attorney to present a report of the meeting held with the city regarding E-911.

 

     Under Chairman Millender’s direction a letter was provided the city, via County Administrator Covan, outlining different options available.

 

     Mr. Bishop stated he had contacted Mayor Wolff and arranged for a meeting on 21 September whereby concerns could be discussed and remedy’s be sought.  The major topic of conversation, based on Mr. Bishop’s statements, was the financial aspects paid out by the city.  ($9,500.00 per month). 

     The city’s position is E-911 receives an ample amount of money from phone taxes to cover the cost of E-911’s operating cost.  The city did make a counter offer stating they would pay $5,000.00 per month as their share.

     E-911 Director Shawnee Booker was asked if E-911 could make it on the phone tax income alone.  She responded that if there were no other expenses other than salaries the tax money would be enough but there are other monetary outlay’s E-911 are responsible for such as, utilities for the E-911 building, vehicles for E-911, building and equipment upkeep, benefits for the employees, just to name a few.  With these additional requirements there’s no way the tax funds can cover the necessary items.

 

Motion to go into executive session called for:  Motion received unanimous voice vote approval.

4:15 Executive Session

4:45 Regular session reconvened.

 

     Mr. Bishop was asked to give an executive session statement; his response was to take no action at this time.

 

     Ms. Booker pointed out some call-in problems that are starting to result in delays in dispatching.  She gave an example of a call fielded by the Sheriff’s Department, transferred to the city and then to E-911 where it belonged.  She cautioned that these misdirected calls result in delayed response to emergencies which could lead to possible legal actions in the future.  This confusion on dispatch creates both a timing and liability situation. 

     When questioned on the status of billing to the City of Evergreen and Repton Ms. Booker reported the city was 3 months behind on their bills and Repton was up to date.

 

     When opened to news media questions I asked the commission about the contract with the city and the 60 day notification that has been talked about on more than one occasion.  The contract copy I held showed no 60 day provision and I wondered if this was a current contract or an old one.  Chairman Millender advised I should contact Ms. Covan and compare.

 

With no further business, meeting adjourned at 4:50 P. M.


Alabama Rescue Relay South

 

     I dropped by the ARRS meeting this past Thursday just to get a look at who was who and what was what.

     Several people were in attendance at this meeting which leads me to believe they are sincere in their efforts and endeavors in getting this new organization (for here) kicked off and doing whatever possible to help find new homes for stray and abandon critters.

     I was very pleased to see who was with the group and even more pleased to see who was not with the group.

     It’s obvious they have a game plan to work toward accomplishing their goals, but just like most other things, a lack of money seems to stand in the way.  I feel quite certain that, should anyone wish to donate, they could contact Veronica Lambert (call husband Sid at the Animal Shelter) and she will be happy to give guidance from there.

     There was discussion of how to go about getting their bylaws completed and….high priority….get their own tax exempt status.  Currently they are operating under the umbrella of the ARR formation out of Birmingham which will provide any donors with an exemption number for tax purposes.

     I have offered them free publicity to publish whatever they would like on this website to include up to at least 6 pictures of animals they are seeking to place in a home.

     I knew most of the people at the meeting and can personally vouch for their honesty and dedication.

     Here’s to their newly formed group, their goals and their dedication.  It’s their choice as to whether or not you’ll see or hear more of them on this website.

     Either way, best of luck


City Council 15 September 2015

 

Invocation:

     Mr. Mike Lanier

 

Call to order by Mayor Wolff at 6 PM.

 

Roll Call:

     Council person Harris was missing from roll call.

 

Agenda:

     Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Mayor’s report & comments:

     Wendy’s opening date is scheduled for the 28.  Zaxby’s is in the building stage now and is coming along well.  Action on Shoney’s should be starting soon.  This is a very congested area with all the construction but as soon as Wendy’s is finished Shoney’s should be able to start.

 

Minutes:

     Previous minutes were approved as corrected.

 

Accounts Payable:

     Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Old Business:

     There was no old business for discussion.

 

New Business:

     Jason Blackwell, President of Ignite Ministries requested the use of Middleton Field for a community wide event on the 24 of October 2015.  It is scheduled to be a day of inflatables, Christian concert and guest speaker. 

     It was noted the requested date is during the fly in and the airport will not be available for any other activities.  It was suggested that Mr. Blackwell use the park area for his function.  An email will be sent to Mr. Blackwell and his response is awaited.

 

Committee Reports:

     Bobby Skipper spoke of the Armstrong request dealing with the laundry mat.  He suggested the city use an unencumbered line of credit with one of the banks and assign it to Mr. Armstrong and his project.  This line of credit will be up to $19,000.00.  There will be a requirement for the signing of legal documents.

     Mr. Joe Blackburn, the building owner, will be involved in these discussions to ensure all meets with his approval.

 

     Radio meters are being installed on the towers and should be completed soon.

 

     Ms. Carrie Smith was introduced as the new bookkeeper.

 

    Terry Nobles is the assistant clerk.

 

     On 28 September bids will be let for the demolition of the Magnolia Heights Apartments.  The city made a $30,000.00 buy back offer to the current owner. 

     A hearing was held on Monday and the city is awaiting the judge’s decision as to the disposition of this eyesore.

 

     Council person Upton announced Mr. Tim Dance desires to donate a portion of land to the city.  Motion to accept followed by unanimous vote.

 

     Council person Upton spoke of the flame going out at the Veterans Monument and there was a $125.00 cost incurred when someone called South Alabama Gas to relight it.  Mr. Upton stated he thought the city had assumed responsibility for all actions at the monument except for the continuation of putting names on the stones which remains the responsibility of the D. A. V.  He noted that the D. A. V. is paying the gas bill and these additional cost plus the purchase and upkeep of flags.  These cost are depleting the D. A. V.’s account.

     Council person Skinner said he would speak to South Alabama Gas and see if he could not get some relief on the gas situation.

 

Sausage Festival:

     The Sausage festival is scheduled for 17 October. 

 

     Bobby McNeil addressed the issue of excessive and unnecessary signs being removed.  He has been working with people who have these signs in place even though the business is no longer functioning.  Mr. McNeil stated he was receiving resistance from some of them.

 

E-911 Discussion:

     Mr. Lee Peacock, Evergreen Courant, was in attendance and was asked what developed at the Commission Meeting on Monday morning dealing with the City’s withdrawal from E-911.

     It was reported the county did not receive the city’s letter announcing their withdrawal until 5 August.  The withdrawal date as published was for 1 October.  There is a requirement that at least a 60 day notice be given prior to any withdrawal and the county had voted unanimously to not allow the city to withdraw due to insufficient notice time.

     Mayor Wolff brought up taking legal action should the county attempt to stall or stop the city from withdrawing. 

     A motion to allow Attorney Hartley to take action was made and voted on.  The vote was 3 in favor of legal action and 2 opposed.  Aye votes, Mayor Wolff, Council persons Fountain and Upton, Nay votes, Council persons Miller and Skinner.

 

With no further business, motion to adjourn approved at 6:18 PM.


E-911 Meeting 14 Sept 2015

 

Call to order at 11:05 AM by Chairman Millender.

 

The prayer and pledge were covered in the commission meeting.

 

Roll Call:

     All members present with the exception of Chief James Simpson.

 

The Agenda was approved as printed.

 

Previous minutes were approved as published.

 

E-911 Director:

     Ms. Booker reported the hiring movement was completed with 3 new positions starting today.

 

     She had received 3 quotes for the furnishings and installation.  Low bid was accepted.

 

     Ms. Booker is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday and she is unsure of amount of recovery time needed.  There is a conference scheduled for 11-14 September, if she is unable to attend her assistant will cover it.

 

     The mapper was on hand to explain what has happened for the Skinnerton/Lyeffion fired and accident coverage area.  Previously the Evergreen Rescue Squad had been the responder for accidents in outlying areas up into the Skinnerton district.  Assignments have been altered to bring the Lyeffion response unit into play to cover those upper areas.  This will preclude the Evergreen Rescue group from having to drive all the way through Lyeffion to get to sites in the Skinnerton section.  This should result in a faster response for calls to those areas.

     It was assured all fire departments involved will receive new updated maps showing who covers what.

     The board voted unanimously to accept these recommendations and changes.

 

City’s withdrawal from E-911.

     Ms. Judy Covan, County Administrator re-read a letter from Evergreen Mayor and City Council announcing the withdrawal of the city’s support and personnel from E-911.  This letter was generated from a 24 July meeting stating that effective 1 October all city support would terminate.  She stated the letter was received by the commission office on 4 August.

 

     Discussion of how E-911 will work after Evergreen withdraws from the program ensued.

 

     Sheriff Brock has agreed to allow E-911 to access NTIC via his authority but he will not dispatch for them.

 

     Commissioner Andrews remarked that the letter did not arrive in the commission spaces with a 60 day notice window as required.  He stated he was in favor of rejecting the city’s letter and keeping the city responsible for their contractual requirements to 911.  He put this in the form of a motion.

     Commissioner Cook noted he had talked to the mayor 2 weeks ago and was unable to engage any conversation on the E-911 situation.  Ms. Booker noted she had received no input from the city either.

     Chairman Millender stated that prior to action being taken both the city and county needed to have a meeting to see if anything could be worked.

     By unanimous vote a motion was passed to have the county attorney contact the city and attempt to establish a meeting in an attempt to resolve the problems surrounding this move.

     The motion to not allow the city out of their contract as made by Andrews earlier was now seconded by Commissioner McCreary.  A unanimous vote in favor of the motion was made.

 

News Media:

     The Monthly View editor Jim Allen raised a question as to how much pay per month the city was furnishing to E-911.  It works out the city’s contribution is roughly $9,500.00 per month to cover the cost of 4 persons salary.  The county is paying for everything else to include health care and other benefits.

     Mr. Allen also asked about the city of Castleberry and who handles their dispatching.  Their dispatch comes through the Sheriff’s office.

 

Motion to adjourn approved at 11:35 AM


Commission Meeting 28 September 2015

 

Call to order at 5 PM by Chairman Millender.

 

Prayer and Pledge was held at previous E-911 Emergency meeting.

 

All commissioners present for roll call.

 

The agenda meet with unanimous approval and the previous minutes were approved.

 

Payroll/Personnel Report:

     Ms. Straughn reported there had been 1 new hire for the jail, there was 1 separation from the jail and 3 separations from the courthouse security force.  There was 40 hours of overtime requiring approval; 1 hour for tag office, 18.5 hours for the sheriff’s department; 5.5 hours for the jail; 4 hours for the animal shelter; 3 hours for district 1 and 8 hours for the engineering department.

     A “discussion” ensued about the 3 courthouse security personnel.  Commissioner Andrew’s and Cook both expressed the fact they did not realize WHEN THEY VOTEDIN FAVOR of turning security over to the sheriff’s department that the workers would lose their jobs even though this had been explained by County Attorney Bishop that it must be handled as a reduction in force move. 

     This has left the employees with 2 options, seek other county employment or enroll for unemployment insurance.  A 3 option is to seek other employment.

     All security department workers have been hired into the sheriff’s department but at reduced compensation and a loss of any accrued benefits they had with the county.

     Mr. Andrews continued to rant about how unfair it was to the employees and how he had been unaware of how the situation was being handled when it had been discussed in previous meetings even though it is covered in the employee’s handbook and has been in place for quite some time.

     Mr. Cook expressed his misunderstanding of the policy also but ultimately he agreed everything had been covered during the meetings, especially when Commissioner Hildreth spoke up saying he remembered it being discussed and pointed out.

     Mr. Andrews questioned Sheriff Brock asking if he could do anything for them.  Sheriff Brock advised Mr. Andrews that the Sheriff’s department is a separate entity and establishes their pay scale differently from the county.  Also, the county is a merit system employer and the sheriff’s department is not.  Basically the sheriff will run his department and the commissioners can do their thing.

     Finally Chairman Millender called for a motion to approve the Payroll/Personnel report.  Motion was properly made and seconded and when a vote was called for Commissioner Andrews cast a Nay vote.  Chairman Millender apologized that Mr. Andrews was unaware of what he was voting on dealing with the release of the employees but the motion he voted nay on was simply an approval of the payroll/personnel report.   Remember, this vote is simply to approve or disapprove, any other business should be set aside, personal issues have no business being interjected into county business.

 

Claims Approval:

     No claims were over the limit in either the gasoline or general fund.

 

     Annual bid openings were scheduled for 5:30 PM and conducted by County Engineer Foshee:  All bids were opened and announced by Mr. Foshee.  It was determined to be in the counties best interest to allow Mr. Foshee to review and ensue all paperwork was in accordance with county requirements.  Mr. Foshee will report with his recommendations at the next meeting.

 

     Ms. Covan introduced bids dealing with county advertising.  The Evergreen Courant was the only bidder for advertising at a cost of $0.25 per word.  

     Two bids were submitted for pest control, Salter’s Exterminating and Lewis Pest Control.  These bids were opened and will be addressed at the next meeting.

 

EMA

     EMA Director Johnny Brock advised the Hazard Mitigation Plan has been approved by FEMA and the state.  The only requirement left is for the chairman to sign the paperwork.

     The location change for the FEMA safe house has been approved.  It will be located on property cornering Wild Avenue and Rural Street.  The county will be exercising their option to purchase this property and the safe house will move forward.

     It was requested that grant writer Cara Stallman be at the next meeting.  Ms. Covan to arrange.

     Mr. Brock advised that CSX had invited him and several other EMA directors to a meeting in Atlanta next week.  CSX is bearing all expenses, Mr. Brock is simply asking permission to attend.  Approved by the commission.

 

Sheriff’s Report:

     Sheriff Brock advised he had nothing to report, was simply on hand to answer any questions.

Sheriff Brock was informed financing was approved for 2 more new vehicles.

 

County Engineer:

     Mr. Foshee informed the commission a gravel pit had opened for business in District 3.  He requested the commission exercise their option under Alabama Law to designate certain road(s) and areas as No Truck Traffic helping the county preserve road integrity on County Road 73.  The gravel pit is just off C. R. 73 and Mr. Foshee wants to restrict the direction trucks leaving the pit can turn on 73.  Approved by commission body.

     Mr. Foshee also advised the commission of a road that needed approval to become a public road so the county could maintain it.  There is a dirt road in District 3 off of County Road 6 that goes to a cemetery.  The landowner has been approached and signed off on allowing it to become a public road.  The commission approved accepting this as a public road.

 

County Administrator:

     Ms. Judy Covan advised the commission she had made a mistake at the previous meeting dealing with bids on repair of the courthouse stairwell.  After review from the previous meeting she determined Parker Metal was not the low bidder but in fact Covin Roofing had been low.  The commission voted to rescind the offer to Parker Metal and approved the repairs to be done by Covin Roofing.

     She told the commission Harbor Financial had offered to rework a bond issue for them.  Chairman Millender questioned whether or not the county could accept any bond issue reworking after having entering into and approving all bond issues be handled by Mr. Walter Lewis.  Tabled until the county attorney can review and check the county’s status.

     February 26-28 is being recognized as the severe weather tax exempt holiday statewide.  The commission has the option to accept or reject.  Approved to accept by the commission body.

     Ms. Covan reported on a meeting with the auditors.  It has been agreed to pay the auditors $2,350.00 per month thru November for training staff personnel dealing with new software.  Payment to the auditors will drop to $2,000.00 per month after that.

     An employee desires to donate 40 hours of sick leave to another employee.  Approved by the commission body.

     The maintenance department has an excessive amount of A/C compressors and other items they desire to place on the surplus list and dispose of at a local vendor.  Approved by the commission.

     Financing has been finalized for the 2 new Tahoe’s for the sheriff’s department.

     Several items dealing with the budget came before the commission.  It appears the 2015-2016 budget will be approximately $10,500,000.00 when all the smoke clears.

 

County Attorney:

     Nothing further from Mr. Anthony Bishop.

 

Commissioners Comments:

     District 3 Commissioner Andrews advised that Mr. Clayton Davis, Attorney, will be at the Lennox Nutrition on 1 October at 10 AM.  He will be giving a presentation to the elderly population advising them of various things to include the importance of wills, etc.  At 11:30 he will be at the Evergreen Nutrition Center for the same purpose.

 

News Media:  

     Mr. Jim Allen, owner and publisher of The Monthly View advised the commission he was doing his annual Halloween issue and would love to have the commission body purchase a safety ad from him, cost $25.00.  The commissioner voted to make a personal purchase of an ad.

 

Adjourn:  6:55 PM




Conecuh County Commission Meeting 14 September 2015

 

Meeting called to order at 9 AM by Chairman Leonard Millender.  Prayer offered by Commissioner Hildreth followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call showed all members present.

 

The agenda was amended to place Mr. Chris Murphy of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood on it.  Agenda was then approved as amended.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed.

 

Payroll/Personnel report:

     1 new hire in the sheriff’s department; 1 new hire in the jail department; 1 new hire in the probate office and 1 new hire in the engineering department.  There was 1 promotion to the position of Certified Deputy.

     A total of 61.5 hours of overtime was approved by the commission body.

 

Claims Approval:

     There were 12 claims over the $500.00 limit in the general fund requiring approval.  The only one that received any questions was a $2,025.00 claim to Cope Funeral Home.  This was for body transportation to and from Mobile for an autopsy.  Claims approved by unanimous vote.

     Under the gasoline fund limit of $3,000.00 3 claims were presented for approval.  They were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Mr. Chris Murphy:

     Mr. Murphy was on hand to answer questions and make recommendation dealing with the roof at the DHR building.  Mr. Murphy announced the low bidder for the roof project had informed him that a problem had arisen and it would be 3 months before they could begin work.  One month of that has already passed so as of now we are down to 2 months.  This bidder came in $42,000.00 lower than the next person. 

     Mr. Murphy advised that the commission had options available.  They could reject the low bid and accept the next lowest, they could reject all bids and rebid the project or they could accept the 3 month delay and move forward with this same company. 

     General consensus and vote was to wait for the additional time but Mr. Murphy was tasked with ensuring the project would start at the end of that 3 month request.

 

Probate Judge Report:

     Probate Judge Rogene Booker came before the commission to talk about precinct lines within the county. 

     At a previous meeting the commission body discussed what was perceived as problems within the voting precincts dealing with where the district lines ran and where electors were required to travel to in order to vote.

     Judge Booker advised the commission that he felt the precinct lines and voting areas did not need to be changed in anyway.  He did state that should an elector feel they were being required to vote at a balloting place that was improper or wrong it was their responsibility to contact the registrar’s office and discuss concerns with them.

     Judge Booker cautioned the commission body about trying to make any changes at this time considering a major election is coming up forthwith.

 

ABC Licenses Application:

     An ABC licenses relocation request for Circle K. Stores, Inc. was next on the agenda.  This request is to simply relocate an already existing licenses to a new place in District 3.  Request met with unanimous approval.

 

Alabama Department of Youth Services Contract:

     This is an annual contract for the housing of juvenile lawbreakers who are being placed in custody.  This contract is with a Baldwin County facility that guarantees a bed will be available for youthful offenders that are to be jailed for a period of time.  A motion to approve this contract was approved by unanimous vote.

 

EMA Directors Report:

     Mr. Johnny Brock reported he had received a check in the amount of $22,347.00 from EMPD. 

     The HAZMAT mitigation plan has received a letter from FEMA saying the plan is compliant.  This plan is a product of our EMA Department and the ATRC.  ATRC not only assisted in preparing the plan but has agreed to pay for it.  All that is required now is for the County Commission, all the municipalities within the county and the Board of Education (B.O.E.) to agree to it. 

     Mr. Brock left all paperwork with Ms. Covan for the commissioners to look it over and then pass it on to the cities and the B.O.E.  Without complete approval, FEMA will not do any reimbursements to the county, cities and B.O.E. in the event of any major weather episodes.

     Mr. Brock addressed the situation of security cameras again.  He advised that only the courthouse exterior has cameras in place.  He asked the commission body as they work to the new budget to please see if they can fit any money for the purchase of cameras into it.

     Chairman Millender advised Mr. Brock that the sheriff is looking at security cameras also and suggested both EMA and sheriff’s department work together on this endeavor.

 

Sheriff Brock was unavailable for his report but everyone is aware of his need for vehicles.

 

County Engineers Report:

     Mr. Winston Foshee spoke on the success on both the county and ATRIP with the road program that has been in effect.  He presented a handout to the commissioners showing what has been accomplished under this program.

     Mr. Foshee spoke on the budgeting factor for our road systems, both paved and dirt.  He stated that to maintain and provide upkeep for a paved road, the cost factor was $3,400.00 per mile and for dirt roads, $2,700.00 per mile.  Of the road budget roughly 55% of the money goes to paved roads and 45% to dirt roads.  With the decrease in oil revenues keeping our infrastructure will not be an easy task.  As of now it appears there will be no money for further paving projects in the coming year.

 

     Mr. Foshee advised the commission body that we must be efficient with our road money.

     He went on to advise the commission that the county has much more equipment than is needed on a comparison scale to surrounding counties.  He said the mileage on our 6 dump trucks is extremely low.  He took into consideration the road crews only work 4 days per week and the trucks are not used every day.  As to backhoes they are averaging 20 hours per month.  As a comparison of usage he used an example of 70 hours put on the side cutter for the same time frame.

     Chairman Millender talked to the commission body, advising them with the pending cuts from loss of oil revenues the commission may have to look at the possibility of consolidating equipment and work together to do the same with less.  The excess could be sold off and put funds back into the county.

     When questioned further by the commission body Mr. Foshee agreed that consolidation would be a way to conserve funds without setting everyone back.  In other words, it may be time for our county to graduate to a unit system.  This would primarily mean the equipment would come under the supervision of the engineering department and would be dispatched through them.

     Commissioner Cook asked how we could function with less equipment.

     It was pointed out again; the low hours and miles on backhoes and dump trucks coupled with cost factors was justification enough to certainly consider this move. 

     Should it happen, it would necessitate the commissioners working together for a common goal.

     Chairman Millender advised the commission body that this topic would be coming back for further discussion and each one should be looking for ways to help make it work.

 

County Administrator Report:

     Ms. Judy Covan advised the commission body they were in receipt of an invoice from the Alabama Department of Corrections in the amount of $2,962.61 for the purchase of food for feeding prisoners.  This bill dates back to January.  County Attorney Bishop was called on for his opinion and input.  Mr. Bishop recommended the county pay the bill and allow him the opportunity to look at possibly recovering these expenditures through legal means.  Motion to pay the bill passed by unanimous vote.

 

     Ms. Covan re-introduced the use of communication devices while driving.  This measure has met with some questioning from county employees because it carries over to their off duty time and use of personal vehicles.  Basically it states that should an employee be caught texting or using a phone even when not in a work status repercussions can be forthcoming.

     Again the county attorney was called on for an opinion.  Mr. Bishop stated it was a difficult situation because the county is starting to intrude into private lives when the make a rule that impacts employees in their off duty time.

     He was asked what to do in the event an employee balked or refused to sign acknowledgement of having been advised of this situation.  His recommendation was that a supervisor could post an entry that said employee had been advised of the use of communication devices while operating a motor vehicle and go from there.

 

     Ms. Covan stated she had been in contact with a variety of lending agents in an attempt to determine where the county could get the best interest rates for the purchase of 2 new vehicles for the sheriff’s department.  She reported the best loan interest rate had been offered by BankCorp South bank at a rate of 2.14%.  A motion to purchase 2 new vehicles out of the new budget coming into effect 1 October and finance them through BankCorp South was made and passed by unanimous vote.

 

     An invoice from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood in the amount of $3,786.30 for services dealing with the DHR roof was presented for approval.  This passed by unanimous vote.

 

     Ms. Covan pointed out once more the problems of leakage in the Courthouse eastside when heavy rains come.  She noted there had been more leakage this past week.  It was noted that some fixes had been attempted but nothing as of yet has solved the problems.

     There have been 2 bids submitted by different contractors promising a permanent fix.  The low bidder is actually from the firm that originally bid and built the courthouse.  It was noted with a touch of humor that this problem is the result of design flaws and the designer is actually willing, for a fee, to come back and fix their original mess up.  (Remind you of the under warranty leaking roof on the DHR building)?  Further discussion on this problem will be forthcoming.

    

     The county consulting firm of Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore was discussed next.  This is the same company that has been in reports as of late.  A move in January 2013 by a majority of the commission body resulted in hiring this group to produce reports the commission staff was capable of doing.  In the interim this company has escalated their prices while diminishing their work output. 

     It was noted they have not had a representative or worker come in for the past few months yet the county continues to pay for their services.  A new contract is to go into effect as of 1 October but by appearances Chairman Millender, who was opposed to hiring this group from the onset, may have more to say.  Ms. Covan was tasked with getting hold of them and finding out why they are no longer coming to the commission office to do the work they contracted for and have already been paid for.  I feel something interesting may come from this yet.

 

     The ATRC rotating board member issue was next on the discussion list.  When this commission body met directly after their election they established how to set up and rotate the chairmanship of the commission body.  It was determined that District One Commissioner would be the first chairman, District Two next, and so forth.  It was also determined that membership on the ATR board would go to the person next in line for the chairmanship.  In other words, if District One served as Commission Chairman, District Two Commissioner would serve on the ATRC.  Primarily the votes to do things this way passed based on ethnic lines with a 3-2 vote.

     Well, a few hitches.  Firstly, Commissioner Hildreth of District One desired to pass on his turn as commission chairman and in accordance with the recommendation of the commission body, the next person in line assumed the position of commission chairman.  That meant District Two Commissioner David Cook became the chairman of the commission and District Three Commissioner Andrews went to the ATRC board.  During this time frame Mr. Andrews managed to get an additional 2 years appointment to the ATRC board, that 2 years ends at the end of this month.  Now comes the monkey wrench.

     Mr. Hildreth asked Mr. Millender to take his place on the ATRC.  Stand back, it’s hitting the fan.  Mr. Millender announced this at the meeting and immediately it seems tempers tried to fly.  Mr. Cook put in that if Mr. Hildreth passed on his turn at ATRC it was only right that he take the place.  Mr. Andrews immediately put in that he had been serving on that board and indications from the board seemed to favor him as being put in the position of Vice-Chairman if he continued to serve.  I believe his remark was something to the effect of “unless someone’s been doing some politicking.”  Naturally he offered to continue to serve on this board.

     Ultimately Mr. Hildreth stated he would withdraw his request to be replaced on that board and would serve his proper term rather than see dissention created.  Wonder what’s going to happen when the next commission chairmanship rolls around.  Mr. Hildreth will have the opportunity to assume the position he has already passed on once, will he step up and assume a leadership position or will he retreat again?

 

     Ms. Judy Covan, County Administrator, announced her intention to retire effective 31 March 2016.

 

County Attorney:

     Mr. Anthony Bishop, county attorney had nothing of value to report.

 

County Commissioners Report:

     Commissioner Andrews stated that County Animal Shelter Impounding Officer Sid Lambert had been on hand earlier but when he saw he was not on the agenda he returned to work.  He did ask Mr. Andrews to present a report from the Animal Shelter.  This report announced 42 dogs have been rescued since his last report and there have been no euthanasians for the past month.  He also advised and asked permission to attend and take 2 dogs and 2 cats to a Monroeville Tractor Supply sponsored weekend program of “show and tell.”   This request was approved.

   

     Commissioner McCreary noted he had been approached by the USDA with a request to move the flag pole currently in place to another location.  The current location allows the flag to rub and scrub against nearby items and they feel it would be better seen and less problems if they could move it closer to the entrance door.

     This request was approved by unanimous vote.

 

     There were no news media comments so a motion to adjourn was approved at 11 AM. 



City Council 1 September 2015

 

Invocation by Mr. Mike Lanier.

 

Call to order at 6:02 PM by Mayor Wolff

 

All members present for roll call.  The agenda was approved as published.

 

Mayors Comments:

     All Council generated projects will be directed to Superintendent Jeff Sullivan for the preparation of work agreements which will include the scope of work and the responsibilities of contractors.

 

     Mr. Bill Cope has tendered his resignation from the IDB board.  Mr. Todd Watson will replace him.

 

     The cooperative district is moving well.  Shoney”s construction will start in approximately one week.

 

Approval of previous minutes:  By unanimous vote.

 

Approval of accounts payable:  By unanimous vote.

 

Old Business:

     Bids for City Park ball field electrical work.  Mayer Electric was low bidder at $165,444.26.  Motion to accept low bid by Council person Upton, seconded by Council person Skinner.

     Council person Fountain had some questions about the bid process and the opening of bids.  She supplied a handout to go with her questions.

 

New Business:

     The 2014 auditors report was presented.  It shows the city is in good shape with a final grade of unmodified, the best available ranking.

 

     A street department request to fill 2 open positions created by health issues was addressed. 

     Park personnel are seasonal workers and are eligible for transfer.  It was determined that a park person filling a temporary position be let go for the winter period unless he agrees to transfer.  Check with Mr. Thomas prior to making this decision.

      Magistrate Ms. Helen Wiggins asked for an advance of $300.00 to attend an Alabama Municipal Court Clerk and Magistrate Association seminar in Orange Beach 16 September-19 September.  Motion carried with 2 dissenting votes, Council persons Miller and Skinner. 

     Both council members stated later their votes were cast based on Attorney Hartley’s report and recommendation that Evergreen do away with the magistrate and municipal court actions and refer it all to district court, which they support.  Based on information given, the municipal court system does not create enough revenue to cover the cost of pay needed to keep it going.

      Mr. Larry Ryland, City Purchasing Agent, asked for permission and funding and an advance of $1,200.00 to attend the annual AL NENA E-911 Conference in Orange Beach.

     Council person Fountain asked if Mr. Ryland was the city's E-911 representative.

    Questions then arose about Mr. Ryland, his position and his pay.  It was stated that Mr. Ryland was not drawing anything pay wise at this time.

     It was determined to table this request for now.

      It was noted the city had received notification from the Alabama Department of Revenue that ordinance 2015-0804-01 need modification to correct technical issues within the ordinance.  The recommendation was to put a tax issue in effect for persons living within the police jurisdiction.  If the modification is not included, people living outside the city limits but within the police jurisdiction will not be assessed any city taxes.  The city would only get 50%of their tax without this inclusion.  Motion to adopt by unanimous vote.

 

Grant Writer Cara Stallman offered the following:

     A resolution to amend the sewer grant due to cost overruns.  The amendment would remove the cost affiliated with installing a lift station bringing the cost down to an acceptable amount.  Resolution adopted.

 

     It was announced the city could prepare for a USDA grant/loan application for a new fire station.  The current fire station is unable to provide coverage to certain areas and to attain the desired ISO, a new station will be needed.

     Discussion of staffing, equipment and coverage ensued, most especially about the homes near the airport and FEDEX.  Motion to approve made and passed unanimously.

 

Committee Reports:

     The status of the Gerber Building, the electrical and water issues and the current tenant was next.

     It was confirmed all services to the building has been terminated.  The current tenant has paid nothing since moving into the building.  Mayor Wolff stated if money was not forthcoming by morning (Wednesday, 2 September), they would be evicted.

 

     The current status of Magnolia Apartments was discussed.  September 18 appears to be the drop dead date for the owners to take some form of legal action, if there are no filings that would cause a delay, listen for the sound of jackhammers and heavy equipment getting this eyesore, health hazard out of the way.

 

     The issue of installing speed breakers on Brunner Avenue came up again.  AGAIN it was noted that Brunner is a major travel way for emergency vehicles and putting speed bumps on it would hamper response time and pose a hazard to emergency vehicles traveling it.

     Radar in use signs have been installed.  It was suggested again to provide more patrolling on Brunner.

 

     The dilapidated building on Riley Street has been removed at a cost of $950.00.  Motion to pay approved by unanimous vote.

Council person Upton addressed a police appreciation day.

 

Motion to Adjourn approved at 7:20 PM.

RESCUE SQUAD

     Just to show how well this site works, I'd barely gotten the information up about the Animal Rescue Relay-South group when I received a quickie notice from Mr. Robbie Moorer, Chief of the Rescue Squad.

     Folks, just to show you that good people and good groups are in Conecuh County our own rescue squad has made a comeback from ducking bills, having no money and accomplishing little.  They are now on a footing whereby they are meeting their monetary obligations but they have little cushion left. 

     Mr. Moore came before the Commission body on Monday afternoon asking for help in getting a new set of "Jaws of Life," an approximate $17,000.00 expenditure.

     Much as the newly formed ARRS group, the Rescue Squad is presenting an opportunity for some lucky person to win a Browning Bolt Action 270 rifle.

     I'm still a little sketchy about everything dealing with this but should anyone have any questions as to the cost of ticket or the date of the drawing, I'm certain Mr. Moore will be able to take care of it.

     Folks, just like the good deal for the animals, this is a good deal for the humans.  Think about it, how would you like to have one of your loved ones involved in an accident, be badly injured and the rescue squad unable to extract them from the vehicle because they did not have a decently operating piece of equipment.

     I know the County Commission is undergoing budget planning for the upcoming year and Mr. Moore was told they would do what they could to help.  In the meantime, pitch in, purchase a ticket for that fine rifle and help out a worthy cause.  Contributions are accepted too.

     By the way, as mentioned in the ARRS story the shotgun will be great for birds, squirrels and rabbits.  I strongly suggest you formulate different plans for the rifle, or, if you use it to hunt and kill birds, squirrels and rabbits, send pictures.

     All kidding aside people, get behind our rescue squad so they can continue doing the great job they've already done so many times.



New Animal Rescue Group:

 

     I was pleased to see the story in the Evergreen Courant naming the new group of animal lovers that are stepping up to the plate to take over and straighten out the mess left after the sudden withdrawal of the Conecuh County Humane Society’s support of animal rescue.

      I was also pleased to see the support of this group from Andy Jackson and his nice contribution to help kick them off.  By the way, that contribution is in the form of an 1187 semi-automatic Remington shotgun and chances are being sold now for a drawing in late November.  Some lucky person is going to wind up with a pretty nice bird gun which will also fill in for squirrel and rabbit hunters for only a $5.00 contribution.  Anyone desiring to purchase a ticket should contact the ARRS members; Veronica Lambert, Billy Johnston, Leigh Margaret Darby and Emily Johnston.  Finally we have someone without a personal agenda coming together for the good of the animals.  I know all of them and know they have credibility and are good honest people, unlike some of the previous situations involving the animal shelter and county funds.

      The foster home, animal rescue program is an expensive and costly program.  I encourage everyone possible pitch in and support this group.  I certainly feel that should anyone in the future ask to see their income/expense registers they will not meet with resistance shown by a previous group.

 

     Good luck to the new ARRS group and a big thanks to Andy Jackson.


Conecuh County Commission Work Session:

 

     Call to order at 3 PM by Chairman Leonard Millender.  Only 3 commissioners on hand at the start of the meeting.  Commissioners Hildreth and McCreary were missing.

 

     The proposed agenda was amended immediately to accommodate an emergency involving EMA Director Johnny Brock.

 

     Mr. Brock advised the commission the EMA Department has met all requirements needed to continue getting the Emergency Management Grant again.  This year’s grant amount for Conecuh is $27,883.00.

     Mr. Brock also reported the evacuation drill for the courthouse had gone extremely well, saying the building had actually been emptied in about 1 minute.  He talked of the possibility of holding an unannounced, surprise drill to see how things would go then.  Chairman Millender agreed with Mr. Brock and advised him to get with Ms. Covan to make such arrangements.

     Mr. Brock reminded the commission that, as talked about before, classes were to be held in Prattville on the morning of September 16.  Mr. Millender advised that both he and Ms. Ruby Straughn were scheduled to go.

 

     Mr. Mike Brown, American Red Cross representative informed the commission body that the Red Cross program for Conecuh has recruited volunteers in all needed areas.  Ms. Darlene Scottwell is the manager of the 9 volunteers.

     The Red Cross has negotiated 3 shelter agreements for the city and 1 for the county at this time.

     A planed smoke detector education program is getting underway.  Volunteers will be going into the neighborhoods checking to see if residents have smoke detectors.  If not, they will furnish smoke detectors, install them and train the residents in evacuation plans.

     The Red Cross has been furnished an office in the DHR building.

 

     Chief Impounding Officer Sid Lambert came before the commission to discuss some issues with the Animal Shelter.

     Firstly Mr. Lambert advised that 4 businesses were interested in bidding for the animal food contract at the shelter.  He did state that he wished to hold those names from the public at this time.

     He went on to discuss some problems with the different vendors such as the sizes of the bags of food they could furnish.  Mr. Lambert stated he preferred 50 pound bags of food due to the lack of storage area for the food.  Smaller bags would take up more space.

     It was noted that different produces have different percentages of nutrition and needs exist for the animals to have a good diet.

     Chairman Millender noted he had seen an invoice in the amount of $130.00+ for 4 bags of puppy food.  He noted he has dogs also and he shops for the best bang for the buck and he’s sure this amount is high. 

     Mr. Lambert stated that the food he gets from Tractor Supply in Monroeville is a great help, it just comes on an unscheduled format.  This is one item preventing him from being able to negotiate with vendors over the food issues.

     Mr. Millender advised Mr. Lambert to get back with the vendors and if possible, try to get one that will deliver to the shelter.

     Next item for discussion is Parvo Testing on the animals.  Currently it cost $32.39 per animal to have the local veterinarian do the testing.  Mr. Lambert advised he had been in contact with various officials and this test is one that he can do at the shelter at a cost of $94.00 for 10 test kits, dropping the price under $10.00 per test.  Mr. Lambert was advised to order 10 kits and see how things worked out from there.

     Next issue dealt with the Animal Shelter Operating Manual and some of the wording and monies listed therein.

     Currently the Conecuh shelter takes out of county animals for a fee of $25.00 per animal.  Mr. Lambert quoted one example of a person from Clark County that drove all the way to the Conecuh shelter to drop off a dog, paid the required $25.00 and left.  In just a day or two the animal she brought over blessed the shelter with a litter of puppies.  Mr. Lambert stated he was afraid that if the policy of accepting animals from other counties continued it would cause overcrowding at the shelter.

     Mr. Lambert expressed a concern over taking in pit bull dogs.  Chairman Millender basically told him the shelter was under no obligation to take any dog and it was at his discretion.

     The current cost of adoption is $100.00.  Mr. Lambert noted that $75.00 of that went to the vet for spay/neutering and another $10.00 went to the vet for rabies shots leaving the shelter getting no return for their time, food and effort.

     Mr. Lambert announced he had traded brands for disinfectant being used.  It had been costing the county $42.00 for a case of disinfectant and he had found another brand that would give twice as much protection for only $3.00 more and had started using it.

     A question about court order community service being conducted at the shelter was addressed.  Chairman Millender suggested it might be in everyone’s best interest to not accept community service individuals at the shelter.

     Mr. Lambert complained of the lack of cool air conditioning at the shelter and expressed concerns about how cold it may be on the animals in the winter.  It was noted the A/C had been checked by 2 separate repair companies and no problems were noted.  It’s just been hot.

 

    Chairman Millender talked of an earlier meeting with Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore (H,B,K) company dealing with charges from their accounting/auditing services.  He announced that they had attained an agreement whereby H. B. K. would be doing less work and the county would save $1,100.00 per month from this cutback.

     For those that do not remember, Hartman , Blackmon and Kilgore was an auditing company hired on a motion made by Commissioner Andrews in January 2013.  They were to generate reports that would help the commission stay within budgetary limits at a cost of $23,000.00 per year.  That equates to a cost just a touch over $1,900.00 per month.  The cost has grown since then to $3,100.00 per month.

     Please keep in mind the same reports being generated by the auditing company were reports the staff at the commission office could also produce.  (I fail to see how putting additional cost on the county in the form of hiring these auditors to produce something already available is a good deal.  If the staff can produce it why do we need to pay someone else to do it?  Seems to me that’s the way to get outside of the budget with extra expenses).

     Amazingly through astute management we’ve managed to get them back down to the price they were originally hired in at.  As I’ve stated before, some of our commissioners seem to have yet to meet a dollar they didn’t like to spend.

 

     Ms. Covan advised the commission body that she had dealt with some budget items as outlined in the copies furnished them.  She advised she had put no money in the upcoming budget for the HIPPY program, the commissioners could make that determination.  Mr. Andrews expressed great displeasure in the fact HIPPY was not receiving any consideration.  (Remember Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb came before the commission to request $50,000.00 in funding last year, they received $5,000.00.  Also remember Ms. Cobb and Mr. Andrews are related, perhaps he’s trying to keep peace in the family).

     Ms. Covan also announced she had programmed no money for Coastal Gateway in the budget.  Again, Mr. Andrews expressed dismay talking of how we’re going backwards.  At this point Commissioner McCreary posed the question just what are we getting for the $25,000.00 we pay Coastal Gateway each year.  Commissioner Cook expressed that their people/agency have contact people looking out for us trying to bring business interest to us.  Mr. Andrews piped up stating that BIOTAP is close to coming here, they simply need certification and insurance.

     Again, Mr. McCreary asked exactly what were we getting in return for our investment?  Mr. Andrews was so over anxious he was not able to constrain himself from interrupting again to which Mr. McCreary basically told him to be quiet until he’d finished his statement.

     When Mr. Andrews was recognized, his first remark was the Mr. McCreary was likened to an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand.  The county needs to go after industry.  (Review previous reports to see how BIOTAP’s program changed over a short period of time).  Based on a later statement by Doctor John Johnson of Coastal Gateway, BIOTAP  is now to be referred to as Medical Reference Laboratory.

     Commission Chairman Millender also stated that he had not seen anything beneficial from Coastal Gateway.

 

     Next item to be presented was maintenance man Ben Harper with an update as to items needing repair.  He pointed out that some of the courthouse walls need both painting and caulking.  Also, there are still problems with the exterior walls.

     Mr. Harper pointed out the building currently inhabited by the Board of Education floods due to a bad drainage system.  The basement gets water in it and at this time, items are being placed on pallets to prevent them from becoming damaged by water.

     It was pointed out the B. O. E. will be moving to the Southside School Buildings soon and Chairman Millender advised that the building will be put on a fix it when we can schedule.

     Mr. Harper advised that 7 A/C units at the jail are in need of replacement at a maintenance cost of $35,000.00.

     Mr. Millender advised Mr. Harper that he and Mr. Johnson were the maintenance people, fix what they are capable of doing and come before the board when something goes outside their area of expertise.

 

     The policy dealing with the use of wireless devices while on the job goes to the attorney for evaluation and recommendation.

 

     Work Session ended at 4:58 PM.


Politically Correct????


 Source: WLBT BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

       The Brandon High School Band did not perform at halftime during the season-opening game Friday night.  A statement from the Rankin County School District says a July federal court order is the reason the band was banned from Friday night's halftime show.
     The band had been slated to perform the hymn "How Great Thou Art."  The district made the decision to ban the halftime show after learning the hymn was included in the performance.  "It bothers me because you look at the schools and all of the school shootings and all the bad things that are happening, and wonder why. It's because we're allowing evil to step in," parent Kimberly Moore said.
     Moore and dozens of parents and students sang the hymn during halftime Friday night in response to those who banned its performance.  U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a court order on July 10, which said "defendants are permanently enjoined from including prayer, religious sermons or activities in any school sponsored event including but not limited to assemblies, graduations, award ceremonies, athletic events and any other school event.  That means administrators, teachers and staff of the Rankin County School District may not participate in any religious activity, or solicit or encourage religious activities at school or while performing duties as a RCSD employee.”  Judge Reeves said the district continued to promote Christianity during school hours after it agreed to stop. He fined the district $7,500 and again ordered it to stop sponsoring prayers at graduations, assemblies, athletic competitions and other school events.  The Rankin County School District and the Rankin County School Board felt the halftime performance of a church hymn would violate Judge Reeves' order, and they could be fined another $10,000 per violation.  "I don't fault our school district because I know they are trying to do what's right as a community and for the school.  But in one sense I don't fault 'em and in another I'm like we gotta take a stand on behalf of Christ," Moore said.



City Council 18 August 2015

 

Invocation:  By Mr. Mike Lanier.

 

Call to Order:  By Mayor Wolff at 6:03 PM.

 

Roll Call:  showed all members present.

 

Agenda:  Motion to amend to allow South Alabama Gas representative Mr. Mark Burgess to speak to the council.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Mayor’s comments:  Mayor Wolff announced a company was looking at moving into the activity center on Magnolia Avenue.

     Both Wendy’s and Zaxby’s are under construction.  Hopefully Shoney’s will get underway by the 21.

 

Previous minutes:  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

Accounts payable:  approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Mr. Mark Burgess with South Alabama Gas (SAG) came before the council advising them that SAG will be entering into a joint venture with the City of Brewton forming a partnership and LLC to be known as Gulf States Gas District.

     Mr. Burgess stated that because of SAG offices in Monroeville and Evergreen it was necessary that both municipalities city council approve this merger.  It has already been approved by Monroeville.   Mr. Burgess went on to say this endeavor should result in and provide lower gas rates for all involved and SAG will remain as SAG in both those locations.

     Motion to approve by the council resulted in unanimous favorable vote.

 

Old Business:

     The council received bid information for asphalt repairs on Knoxville, Avenue A, Roland Dees Road and City Park Loop.  Two bids were returned with Pro Asphalt being the lower bidder by a wide margin.  Motion to accept the low bid of $5,850.00 received unanimous approval.

 

     Electrical Superintendent Virgil Adams and Streets Superintendent Jeff Sullivan received approval to attend a 3 day (7, 8, 9 October) Alabama Urban Forestry Association Annual Conference.  Cost for each attendee is $99.00 plus Mr. Adams will require lodging.  Mr. Sullivan has made other arrangements for his lodging. 

     Request received unanimous approval.

 

     Attorney Hartley reported the owners of the Magnolia Apartments had 42 days to ask for an appeal of the last court ruling.  He stated they were now represented by a different attorney. 

     Superintendent Sullivan suggested and requested the city advertise bids for the demolition of those apartments, have the bids pre-approved and on day 43, if no further court orders are issued, begin the removal.

 

     It was announced the current city CPA, Mr. Michael Hinson, be appointed to the position of Interim City Clerk.

 

     It was announced that back in 1990 a “Ratchet Bank Account” was established to pay electric bills for the city.  Money was placed in the account and, over time, this account was forgotten about.  This oversite was discovered and an amount of $262,000.00 was discovered to be in the account.  It was suggested and a motion followed that this account be closed, the money transferred to the general fund and used to pay the city’s Alabama Power Bills.  Motion received unanimous approval.

 

     A discussion about the electrical bill for the old “Gerber” building came up.  It seems a movie production company has been using the building for a period of time and bills are not being paid.  (I had heard of the existence of this company but this was the first official information I’d received that such a company existed, let’s play I’ve got a secret).  Currently there is an unpaid electrical bill, along with other unpaid bills, it seems the company using the building has paid nothing, 0, zilch, nada, what a good deal for them.  IDB Attorney Richard Nix has contacted City Attorney Richard Hartley asking via him the city not turn off the power to the building.  The IDB is afraid that without power the building will experience a mold outbreak.

     Council person Upton addressed the issue of all other residents and businesses in the city must pay their electric bill or face having power taken away.  He was insistent that power be cut at the Gerber Building and, if the current user is not paying any fees, have them evicted.

     Mayor Wolff stated the IDB is responsible for the electric bill (remember they were also responsible for repaying the city and county loan in another instance and that still hasn’t happened) and he will handle the situation with the power and the tenet on Thursday, 19 August.  Obviously more to come.

 

     Council person Harris broached the subject of Mr. Armstrong and his proposed laundromat.

     Mr. Armstrong has asked the city to be a cosignatory on a loan to help him get the building up to par and purchase the equipment needed to open this new business in Evergreen.  Mr. Armstrong was on hand for the meeting and Council person Upton asked him directly exactly what he would be bringing to the table to assure a repayment on the proposed loan.  Mr. Armstrong replied that he would put his house up as a security asset.  Mr. Upton told Mr. Armstrong that he had researched his financial aspect of his house and currently Mr. Armstrong owed more on the house than the house was worth.

     Council person Harris brought forth that this discussion should be an executive session item.  A motion was made and passed to go into executive session.

     Mr. Clint Hyde, owner of the building where this facility is to go had been requested to be on hand but when he asked if he needed to be present for the executive session, he was advised his presence was not necessary, therefore, he left.

 

Executive Session:  6:30 PM

Regular Session:  6:49 PM

 

     Motion made to grant Mr. Armstrong the backing of the city on his loan was made.  When it came to a vote, 3 council members vote yes and 2 voted no.  Vote breakdown is as follows:  Council members Skinner, Harris and Fountain voted in favor; Council members Miller and Upton voted nay.

 

Motion to Adjourn:  6:51 PM


Commission Meeting 10 August 2015
 
Called to order by Chairman Millender at 9 AM, prayer offered by Mr. Wendell Byrd, followed by the pledge of Allegiance.
 
Roll Call: showed all members present.
 
The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
 
Payroll/Personnel Report: 
     There were no personnel changes to report.  48 hours of overtime during this reporting period with 13.5 going to the Sheriff’s Office, 2.5 to the jail and 32 hours in District One..
     Ms. Covan, Administrator, advised she had new insurance rates for county employees.  There will be a 7.8% increase starting in January.  The standard policy cost will go from $414.00 per month to $446.00 per month.
     The payroll/personnel report was approved by unanimous vote.
 
Claims Approval:
     Under the General Fund, $500.00 board limit, there were 6 claims for approval, under the Gasoline Fund $3,000.00 board limit no claims approval was needed.
     Claims approved by unanimous vote.
 
 
Dr. Coretta Boykin-resolution to appoint Superintendent of Education:
     Ms. Boykin came before the commission to ask their support for a resolution to change the way the Superintendent Of Education (S.O.E.) is placed in office.
     Ms. Boykin advised the commission that only 3 of the 50 states still fall back on the election process for the S.O.E. while 47 use the Board of Education (B.O.E.) to choose the superintendent.  This recommendation comes to the commission with an unanimous vote approval from the B. O. E. 
     This must be approved by the state legislature to take effect and Ms. Boykin stated they had high hopes of getting it in front of the next legislative meeting.  A positive vote from the commission would go a long way toward helping influence the legislation.
     After much discussion, including former B. O. E. Chairman David Cook giving the move a thumbs up, a motion was made and approved by unanimous vote by the commission.  Based on information provided by Ms. Boykin, this move does not require a vote by the citizens to take effect.
 
NAACP Statement:
     Mr. Jerome Gray, speaking on behalf of the NAACP President Jerome Boykin, provided a letter to the commission explaining the NAACP’s position on the recently discussed Personnel Employee Handbook and the changes dealing with the Merit board therein.  See attachment at the end of this article.
 
Mr. Bobby Skipper, Evergreen Economic Development Director:
     Mr. Skipper approached the commission asking them for a possible county sales tax abatement for new businesses coming to the Liberty Hills Development Project.  He requested those funds be placed in the Cooperative District monies to help fund these projects.
     After several questions as to how the District is functioning with the current county sales tax abatement, how current bond issues are being dealt with and a few questions dealing with the amount of financing done so far (started at 9 million then an additional 3 million was borrowed) the commission then launched off talking with how the city’s impending withdrawal from the E-911 program was going to cost the county a handsome amount of money..
     Another question asked was, what do these businesses do for the people of the county.  Mr. Skipper replied with the obvious, they bring jobs in and improve the quality of life for county residents.
    It was further noted that oil revenues were down and at this time the county could not make a determination on the sales tax abatement.
     Matter to be taken under consideration.
 
Mr. Johnny Brock-EMA Director:
     Mr. Brock advised the commission body that a class for Public Officials will be held in Prattville on 16 September from 9:30-12:00.  This class is required to continue receiving annual funds.  Mr. Brock encouraged some of the commissioners attend and hopefully, Ms. Covan and Ms. Straughn will be able to go.
     Mr. Brock reminded the commission that the courthouse emergency evacuation drill will be this Wednesday at 11 AM.  Anyone with business in the courthouse during that time will be required to participate in the drill.
 
Sheriff Randy Brock:
     Sheriff Brock advised they have the new car in operation and it’s doing fine, unfortunately he has several vehicles in need of repairs to make them useable.  These are all older units and the commission can expect these problems until new, replacement units can be acquired.
     Sheriff Brock told the commission that his department had teamed with the B. O. E. to host a Back-To-School kickoff held at the airport last weekend and deemed it a total success.
 
Mr. Sid Lambert, Animal Control Officer:
     Mr. Lambert came before the commission asking permission for Mr. Jonathan Hicks, shelter employee, to go to other shelters in surrounding counties to study and see their methods of operation in an effort to improve our shelter operation.
 
Mr. Winston Foshee, County Engineer:
     Mr. Foshee advised a Public Hearing dealing with the Brooklyn Water Project was required at this time.  He asked if anyone was there to speak for or against the final closeout procedure of this project.  There being no input, he passed a public hearing form around asking for signatures thereon.
     Mr. Foshee advised the 2 round of bush hogging had been completed.
 
Ms. Judy Covan, County Administrator:
     Ms. Covan stated she had the annual advertising request from Sparta Academy dealing with their football program.  Chairman Millender stated he preferred approving both Sparta and Hillcrest programs at the same time.
     Ms. Covan said she had contacted Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood dealing with the solid waste management plan and had received an email back from them with proposed updates provided by Mr. Larry Ryland with the city.  Commissioner Andrews submitted that he desired to have the solid waste plan in the position it was prior to these Ryland submitted changes and if the city was not satisfied with the plan they were welcome to establish their own.
     It was announced that a group from the county had met with Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore auditors, to discuss the contract with the county.  The outcome of this was, H. B. K. is to submit another plan for consideration.  Commissioner Millender stated there was to be some reorganization in the office to see if the cost of the auditors could be trimmed.
     There will be a work session held on 24 August prior to the next commission meeting.  This meeting will start at 1 PM and will include discussion about Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore.
     Ms. Covan advised the commission that, for the minutes only, for the months of April, May and June the city had been paid a total of $13,239.00 by the county as their pledge to the cooperative district.
     Also, for the minutes only, it was noted previous outstanding bills for uniforms for the sheriff’s department had been negotiated.  Motion to pay was approved.
     Ms. Covan pointed out the previously discussed Weyerhaeuser agreement needed action.  This is the agreement that the company get a $25,000.00 bonus for having fulfilled all requested requirements.  In fact, Weyerhaeuser exceeded all expectations by hiring more employees and paying higher wages than anticipated.  Motion to pay the bonus passed unanimously.   
 
 
Mr. Anthony Bishop, Count Attorney:
     Mr. Bishop advised he had worked on reducing the cost of the sheriff’s office printer agreement.  He has negotiated a final price of $9,299.00 but it must be paid immediately.  Final outcome, the sheriff will get together with the administrator to work out something for a printer at the jail.
 
No comments from the commission:
 
Media comments:
     After the meeting with Ms. Jamie Kidd, Webb & Eley Attorney Firm, dealing with the employee handbook, I asked for and received a copy of invoices paid to Ms. Kidd for her efforts.  At the meeting it was specifically asked if any commissioners or other employees had been in contact with Ms. Kidd to discuss the employee handbook.  The invoices I received plainly showed Commissioner Andrews, the ONLY commissioner, had called her on 3 separate occasions to discuss handbook changes.
     As I attempted to broach the subject thought the chairman Mr. Andrews began to interrupt me and berate me etc.  I waited for him to get through with his rant and started again with my questions to the chairman.  Again Mr. Andrews goes into a tirade and I wait for him to finish.  I even asked him if he was finished when he stopped talking.   Have you ever heard that old statement about the hit dog is the one to holler?
     I then asked the chairman if I still had the floor and started again.  Once more Andrews turned loose with a tirade requiring the chairman to stop him and advise him I had the floor.
     I finished my questions basically by asking if there had been any committee or any one authorized to contact the attorneys which was answered by statement that Ms. Covan was authorized to speak on the counties behalf, no one else.
     I asked if the commission acted as a unilateral group for the good of the county or if they went off on their own to do as they please.
     After I finished Mr. Andrews, face flaming red, sputtered that he did not need any permission to call anywhere or anyone, he was acting as a commissioner of the county and had unlimited authority.  He went on to make the asinine statement that I should not have been furnished those invoices as they had attorney client privilege attached to them.
     For more input, see my comments at the end of this story.
 
     It was announced an executive session was necessary and, after roll call vote, executive session was convened at 10:30 AM.
 
     Call back to regular session and motion to adjourn approved at 10:45 AM.
 
 
To expound on the phone calls dealing with the handbook changes.
 
     Why am I making a big deal out of this, easy, with no oversite and with no input from the other 4 elected commissioners, Mr. Andrews usurped all power from the commission body by his clandestine actions.  Who knows what he had to say as to input in the employee manual?  Had he been the chairman this might well have been an acceptable act but as one of the regular district commissioners, in my opinion he overstepped his bounds.  This people, is a loose cannon hell bent to have things his way.  There’s that breath of fresh air so bantered about after the last election.  His temperament, actions and overall demeanor makes him unfit to hold public office.

     Also, a question posed to the county attorney reinforced my right to invoices paid on the behalf of the county, there was no attorney/client privilege attached.


City Council 4 August 2015
 
     Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.
 
Call to Order:  at 6:02 PM by Mayor Wolff.
 
Roll Call:  2 members were missing at roll call, Council person Harris & Council person Fountain.
 
Agenda:  Approved by unanimous vote.
 
Mayors comments and reports:  School tax exemption weekend is coming up this weekend.  The Sheriff’s back to school kick off program will be held at the airport this week end.
 
Minutes:  Previous minutes approved by unanimous vote.
 
Accounts payable:  Approved.
 
Old Business:
     The business venture proposed by Mr. Robert Armstrong involving the Majors Cleaners building was the first item of discussion. 
     Mr. Bobby Skipper, Economic Director advised the total cost to re-furbish and prepare the facility was estimated at $40,000.00.  There is a $7,000.00 grant approved for this effort reducing the cost to $33,000.00.  It has been asked that the city provide a minority load guarantee to the Bank of Evergreen for the remaining money.
     At the last meeting it was requested that Mr. Skipper contact Mr. Clint Hyde, property owner, and ask Mr. Hyde to provide a 1 year rent free contract to Mr. Armstrong.  In addition it was requested Mr. Hyde also sign and assume a portion of the loan responsibility required to bring the building up to speed for the business.  Mr. Skipper and Mr. Hyde have spoken and Mr. Hyde agreed to the 1 year free rent portion but has not agreed to assume any of the co-signer responsibility on any loan.
     Mr. Hyde did inform Mr. Skipper if the council wished to speak on the subject he would attend during an executive session portion, listen to what they have to say and state his position.
     It was determined to set such a meeting.
     Mr. Skipper re-emphasized his belief in Mr. Armstrong and strongly encourages the council to approve the loan guarantee.
 
     Council person Upton requested an executive session be called at this time to discuss the cities position on this issue.  Motion made and passed by voice vote.
Executive session 6:10 PM
Return to regular session 6:15 PM
 
     Ms. Mary Jackson, City Clerk, reported on behalf of Mr. Bobby McNeil dealing with the clean-up issues at 331 S. Shipp Street.  It is reported that area will be bulldozed and cleaned by the end of August.
     She also reported the clean-up of the old Baggett Tire Shop fire and tragedy on Hwy. 31 South had been completed.
 
New Business:
     Mayor Wolff introduced Mr. Steven Morris with RDS, the cities tax collection firm and administers of the sales tax collection group.
     Mr. Morris started out with 3 things to talk about, a use tax, renewal of contracts and the cities revenue in general.
     Firstly he discussed the incorporation/inclusion of a USE TAX.  His definition of a use tax is as follows;  It will cover any sale of any tangible property outside the state of Alabama that is brought into the state of Alabama and paid for by a private individual or a business ordering/purchasing the product.  He used an example of an internet purchase from the Amazon online website company. 
     Mr. Morris went on to say that it is the responsibility of the person or company to pay the use TAX on this product.  The use TAX is typically the same as the local sales tax.  Anything brought from another state is subject to a use TAX.
     City Attorney Hartley asked Mr. Morris how anyone would know of these purchases from the internet and/or cars.
     Mr. Morris responded cars are easy ‘cause when you go to register it you’re gonna get your fair share of taxes to pay.  As to other items such as those ordered over the internet, he stated that RDS has ways to track, contact and find out about the lack of use TAXES being paid. 
     When asked about a statue of limitations on these issues Mr. Morris responded that normally it’s a 3 year issue but unpaid taxes can have virtually no statue of limitations on them.
     Mr. Morris said of 113 cities compatible with Evergreen, 110 of them have a use TAX.
     Attorney Hartley said most of those cities had adopted a uniform ordinance to charge this use TAX and encouraged the city to do the same.
     A motion to suspend the rules, amend the agenda and place that issue on the agenda was made and passed.
     A motion to adopt the use TAX ordinance was made and seconded and vote called for.  The ordinance passed by a 3-1 vote with Mayor Wolff the only no vote.
 
     Mr. Morris then advised that the Evergreen tax revenue had gone up each of the past 5 years.  He stated he could not give the names of those paying the taxes but it should be relatively easy to identify the top 5 businesses.
 
     A resolution was recommended and passed unanimously to allow RDS to continue.
 
Council person Harris arrives at 6:25 PM.
 
     Typically the city has contributed $1,000.00 to the Tiny Mites football team.  Council person Skinner noted that insurance cost have escalated and offered a suggestion the city increase their contribution to $1,500.00.
     Council person Upton, who had offered a motion to continue the $1,000.00 contribution amended his motion to contribute $1,500.00 in lieu of Mr. Skinners report.  Motion amended and passed by unanimous vote.
 
    Cara Stallman, grant writer, advised of a need for a public hearing on 2 items.  One is a close out of a CDBG project dealing with lining pipes in the sewer system.  This project is completed and simply needs close out action to allow the city the opportunity to apply for other grants.
     The second project has been discussed at previous meetings.  It was to be the project for a sewer upgrade to increase the pipes from 8” to 10” and install 2 lift stations.  When the bids were let for this job they all came back in well over budget and out of range because of the lift station replacement.  It had been discussed that the still functioning lift stations be removed from the bid list and the pipe change out be rebid.  The lift stations can be a request for future grants.
     There were no comments from the public and this concluded the public hearing process.
 
Committee Reports:
     The issue of putting speed bumps on Brunner Avenue was broached again and again it was emphasized that speed bumps hinder, hurt, hamper and slow down emergency response vehicles and Brunner is highly traveled by these vehicles.  No further action.
 
     Council person Upton called upon everyone to take a look at the brick work at the airport.  He reported the sign should be up by next week and that both water and electric are in place.
 
     Mr. Upton also spoke about empty signs along our city roads and streets.  Most of them were advertising businesses no longer there.  When asked, Attorney Hartley stated that any signs on right of way could be removed and others off right of way would require contacting the sign owner and getting permission.
     It was noted most cities have an ordinance dealing with this issue and it was requested Attorney Hartley review Evergreen’s ordinance.
 
     Superintendent Sullivan reported on the Evergreen Park.  Everything is looking well and coming along well.  Mr. Sullivan reported there had been a visit from ADEM at the park and the city was in receipt of a letter advising of some issues that need addressing.  The most pressing and already scheduled for fix next week was the issue of erosion.  Even though grass has been planted in areas dug out to accommodate park upgrade, it will not grow in no rain and high heat conditions.  The construction company will be in next week to put out barrier grass.
 
     Mr. Sullivan also addressed the issue of who is going to service the city’s gasoline engine vehicles.  After discussion of the lack of decent work space at the city garage, Council person Skinner suggested the gasoline engine service be bid out.
 
     It was noted that a large number of old, dilapidated, worn out vehicles were spread out over that area.  It was suggested scrapping these obsolete vehicles.
 

Motion to Adjourn at 6:45 PM:   Approved.


Commission Work Session To Discuss The “Employee Handbook.”

 

     A special work session was held Thursday, 30 July 2015 to discuss the new Employee Handbook.

 

     This meeting was called for by the commission body who requested Ms. Jamie Kidd, Webb and Ely Law Firm, the primary lead on redesigning and ensuring the handbook was legal and within operation specs as to the code of Alabama be on hand.  Also requested to be on hand were the following:

County Attorney Anthony Bishop,

Merit Board Members.

All commissioners,

Any department heads wishing to attend,

And the general public to include the news media.

 

     The only commissioner missing was Commissioner Hildreth from District 1.  Mr. Boykin, Ms. Griffin, Mr. Killebrew and Mr. Carter from the merit board were present.  The following departments were represented:  Engineering, EMA, Revenue, Probate Judge and the entire administration staff including County Administrator Judy Covan.

 

     Chairman Millender opened the meeting at 9 AM with an introduction of everyone then turned it over to Ms. Kidd for a brief explanation of what she had done.  Mr. Millender then opened the floor for questions to Ms. Kidd about the changes and differences between the new book and the old book that has been around since the 1980’s.

 

     Ms. Kidd stated she had looked at the old book and then worked toward bringing the new book up to speed, most especially those items that no longer conformed to Federal law.  These changes were brought on because of issues with the old book and in hopes of preventing the possibility of liability problems.  There are employment law problems and hopefully these changes will head off potential court actions.

 

     Ms. Kidd pointed out that the old handbook actually had the potential to violate some of the county workers 1 amendment rights by restricting them from being involved in county politics in any manner.  She pointed out that while a worker was on the job they were limited in what they can do and say about political candidates but once off from work it is illegal for the county to curtail their activities in the political arena unless these activities interfere directly with their job.

 

     The new handbook seems to take a great amount of power from the Merit Board and puts it back into the hands of the commissioners.  One item that drew the most comments was the portion dealing with applications and the merit boards handling thereof. 

 

     Under the current policy the merit board meets and reviews all applications for a properly advertised position.  After reviewing these applications the merit board then follows an established ranking procedure and assigns points to each qualified applicant in different categories.  As I understand it the point values can range from 3 points up to 9 points.  After ranking the candidates the merit board selects what it deems to be the top 5 people and forwards these recommendations to the personnel clerk.  The department needing an employee receives these applications and schedules interviews where the applicant meets with the department needing help.

 

     Should the person conducting the interview deems no candidate properly qualified, they may request additional applications from the personnel department, schedule interviews and seek out a qualified person for the job.

 

     The proposed change to this procedure basically makes the merit board nothing more than a paper checker making sure the applicants meet the minimum qualifications and have filled out the paperwork correctly.  ALL applications are then forwarded to the department requesting help.

 

     The problem mentioned most about this procedure is the possibility of a department head or hiring authority to abuse the system and hold out for someone they wish to show favoritism too.

 

     Act 708 and Code of Alabama 45-18-120 sections were discussed at great length.

 

     Finally this issue was not resolved but put to one side to continue on. 

 

     Commissioner Millender had a question about a statement that gave the commission the right to deviate from policy at their discretion.  Again more discussion and unrest over the possible aspects of what could come with this being allowed.  Ms. Kidd attempted to explain it away but Mr. Millender addressed her about the make-up of the commission body and how things could be abused in a discriminatory manor.  As everyone knows, the current body consist of 3 Caucasian and 2 non-Caucasian commissioners.  If one watches you can often see the votes split along ethnic lines and Mr. Millender stated he’d rather see the policy set in such a manner whereby one particular group could not add or eliminate something that did not sit well with the other ethnic group.

 

     Several more issues were discussed but nothing that brought about the discussion factor as those mentioned above.

 

     Ms. Kidd pointed out that the new grievance policy separates issues that should go to the merit board.  She stated that interoffice disputes and squabbles are not a merit board issue.

 

     As the meeting wound down Mr. Carter from the merit board stated he thought the new policy book was a good thing and well put together and suggest we accept what Ms. Kidd has produced.

 

     Prior to the close of the meeting Commissioner Millender asked Ms. Kidd if any outside influence from anyone had swayed her in any manner as this book was being worked on.  When there seemed to be some misunderstanding of the question Mr. Millender did a point blank asking if any department head and/or commissioner had contacted her, either in person or by phone, and had any discussion about issues or policies to be published.

 

     Amazingly Commissioner Cook started stammering he had not called nor had he tried to influence the handbook in any manner and went into a complete denial mode of having done anything improper.

 

     Meeting closed.



Commission meeting 27 July 2015

 

     Meeting called to order by Chairman Millender, prayer offered by Commissioner Cook followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

     All members present for roll call.

 

     Prior to approval of the agenda Chairman Millender asked to amend the agenda to include Mr. Chris Murphy, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood.  The chair recommended he be put in place between item 6, retirement resolution of Mr. Bennie Watson and item 7, Mr. Bobby Skipper, City of Evergreen Economic Director.  Motion to do so offered and approved unanimously.

 

Minute’s approval: 

     The previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

Payroll/Personnel report:

     1 separation from the Probate Judge’s office, 1 promotion in the Engineers office, excavator operator, 68.5 hours of overtime. Primarily from the sheriff’s office, 31 hours, and the engineering department 32 hours.

 

Claims approval:

     There were no “over the limit claims” in either the general or gasoline fund needing approval.

 

Retirement Resolution:

     Ms. Covan, County Administrator, read a prepared resolution on the retirement occasion of Mr. Bennie (Vaughn) Watson, a longtime employee of District 4.  The resolution was signed by all 5 commissioners and the administrator.  Mr. Watson was a 10 year employee and has done a commendable job.  Good luck in any and all future endeavors.

 

DHR Roof Report:

     Mr. Chris Murphy of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood was in attendance by request to explain the bid process used for the roof repair on the DHR building.  The low bidder actually submitted a below cost bid and some questions existed as to what quality repairs we would be getting.  After being assured Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood would be on hand during the work process and will be checking to ensure quality work and products will be used, the commission body voted unanimously to allow Mid-South, the lowest bidder, proceed with the job.  Cost $127,000.00.  Next low bidder came in at $170,000.00. 

 

Bobby Skipper, Economic Director, City of Evergreen, and Sheriff Brock were next on the agenda but were not available.

 

EMA Directors Report:

     Mr. Johnny Brock announced the much struggled for Courthouse evacuation drill was scheduled for 12 August at 11 AM.  He will be putting the word out and asked all media outlets to do the same so the public will be informed and not taken by surprise.

     Mr. Brock advised the commission body that, due to some changes in FEMA operations, the Emergency Preparedness Plan must now receive a signed review by the commission.  This is necessary to keep the roughly $40,000.00’s in grant money received annually.  Vote taken to approve was unanimous.

 

Animal Shelter Chief Impound Officer Sid Lambert and County Engineer Winston Foshee were evidently with Mr. Skipper and Sheriff Brock because they were not on hand for their agenda presentation either.

 

County Administrator:

     Ms. Judy Covan reported a meeting with Ms. Jamie Kidd with Webb and Ely, County Attorney Bishop, the commission body, merit board and any others interested, was scheduled for 30 July at 10 AM.  This is to answer questions and finalize the “new” employee handbook.

     The county is in receipt of a letter from ALATOM dealing with the van pickup for designated personnel in need.  This is an annual thing and Chairman Millender pointed out it was a worthwhile investment.  A motion to approve was followed by a unanimous vote.

    A claim left over from the previous meeting was re-introduced.  It dealt with a cost increase from the auditing company the commission voted to hire back in 2012.  The company’s name escapes me now but it was something along the lines of Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore.  Anyway, seems their billing has gone up $500.00 per month since their start.  There was a balk from some of the commissioners in paying this when it was introduced at the last meeting.  Final word, the bill will be paid but a conversation will be had between the commission body, the administration and a member of manage from the company.  (This is the same group of people that were voted into place to provide a monthly oversite look at how things are going with the budget.  Something the administrator could do with a little programing and push of a button on the computer.  Anyone ever wonder how our budget gets in bad shape?  Sure was easier to go along with when the money was “flowing” well, now that gas prices have dropped some elected officials may have to learn to live within a budget and get off that kick of “I haven’t met a dollar yet that I wouldn’t like to spend.”)

     Ms. Covan advised the commission body the solid waste management plan with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood needed review and action soon.

 

County Attorney:

     Nothing to report from Mr. Bishop

 

Commissioner’s remarks and announcements:

     Nothing at this time.

 

News Media:

     There were no questions from the Evergreen Courant but I had some questions about incidences dealing with the Animal shelter.

     At the last meeting it was announced the organization that had been helping with the rescue program had withdrawn their support.  There is no update from that.

     I asked it any animal deaths had been reported from the pound and received an affirmative answer.  I then asked if that death had been related to an animal being left out in the extreme heat.  There was no ready answer to that question.  ( I had heard a dog had tipped over its water container and died as a result of being out in the heat and unable to hydrate.)

      I then asked about a donation box, labeled as being for the Animal Shelter, located in the office spaces of the local Veterinarian Clinic.  I asked who was aware and who had authorized this “donation” box.  It seems no one knew anything about this nor was it known if any funds had been put in the box.  (Remember, it hasn’t been that far back it was proven beyond a doubt that “donations” for the animal shelter were being diverted to the local “Humane Society.”  Was this another sweet deal for someone?)

 

     Monthly View Editor/Owner Jim Allen asked if, based on current reviews of the 2015/2016 budget hearing getting underway, how do things look for next year.  General prognosis, there will be substantially less money to operate with that in the past.

     Mr. Allen went on to ask if the county received any revenue from the Liberty Hills Project.  It was pointed out the county had been asked and had complied with a $.01 tax abatement in helping with the project.

 

(Keep an eye on these budget hearings folks; I’ve got the opinion that the chest puffing and statements of “biggest budget in Conecuh County history” will not be forthcoming this year.  There will be no extra road graders or dump trucks for the fiefdoms built.  Someone’s gonna have to learn to restrain themselves from the luxury of getting all this extra equipment and paying another company/corporation from coming in and duplicating work that can already be covered by the current staff.)

 

Adjourn: 5:42 PM 


City Council Mtg. 21 July 2015

 

     Invocation offered by Mr. Mike Lanier.

    

     Mayor Wolff called the meeting to order at 6 PM.  Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda, previous minutes and accounts payable were all approved by unanimous vote.

 

Mayor’s Comments:

     Mayor Wolff announced Wendy’s should be operational within the next 60-90 days.  Zaxby’s construction will begin next week.

     The results of the visit with the big box store is looking good as of now.

 

Old Business:

     Mayor Wolff announced he was seeking permission to send a 60 day notice to E 911 that the city was withdrawing from the program and want’s their 4 dispatchers back.  Motion to do so made by Council person Upton, seconded by Council person Harris.  Motion passed unanimously.

     Police Chief Simpson added that he would need those dispatchers ASAP and would need to hire one more.

 

     The action dealing with the Super-Suds Laundromat was tabled until further study could be made.

 

     Compliance officer Bobby McNeil sent a 45 day cleanup notice dealing with the burned property (the old Baggett Tire Building) to Mr. Steve Messer.  Mr. Messer contacted Mr. McNeil and asked for a 90 day extension due to Mr. Messer’s busy work scheduled.  Granted.

   

New Business:

     Mr. Bob Carter, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, brought up that he could apply for a $100,000.00 grant for a walking trail at the park.  There will be a 20% match which can be made up of “work in kind” keeping the city from having to pay any out-of-pocket money.  Mr. Carter was advised to apply for the grant.

 

     Conecuh County Sheriff’s Office requested to use the campgrounds at the airport for a before school program in coordination with School Superintendent Byrd.  This program is designed to bring familiarization between the sheriff’s department and the school children.  Program to start August 8.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Motion to change the name of the airport to Evergreen Regional Airport offered by Council person Upton.  Motion seconded and passed unanimously.

 

     Superintendent Jeff Sullivan reported $6,800.00 of damage to the city infrastructure caused by an auto accident will not be recoverable.  Driver has no insurance, no assets and nothing to be gained by going to court.

 

     Mr. Sullivan also reported the policy on curbside limb pickup has changed.  The first load will be at no cost to residents provided they are patience enough to wait on the truck to make its rounds.  If he is called to make pick up NOW, there will be a $68.00 charge to the resident.  Any additional loads will also have charges associated.

 

Pay Raises:

     The pay raises discussed at the special call meeting of 14 July have been tabled.

 

     It seems the city does not have the money to provide these raises without going up on services such as electric and water bills by at least $50.00-$75.00 per unit.  There was much discussion on this subject forthcoming.  In fact it became a vocal hoopla with many dissatisfied city workers.

     The pay raises were tabled until the city can seek funding to sustain these raises. 

 

Personal note:  I knew when all this was going down there was no way the city could meet some of the outrageous salary desires.  I simply cannot understand how an informed city council could go along with these demands.  You do not have to be a brain surgeon to know if the pot is empty don’t stick your hand in expecting it to get full.   

 

Motion to adjourn:  7:20 PM



A CRACKED FAIRY TALE 

 

Based on a semi-true story

 
Due credit to Jerry Siegle and Joe Shuster, creators of the character and to DC Comics who brought him forth so we all could enjoy him.

 
     By now if you haven’t figured it out “him” is Superman, a heroic, crime fighting, mob busting, stand up for what’s right kind of guy from yesteryear.

 
    Let’s take stock of what leads us to Superman and the life he’s lived til now.

 
     Born on a planet in a far-a-way galaxy called Krypton, Superman suffered his first set back in life as his home planet exploded around him.  Fortunately his father was a special scientist and had been working on producing a rocket ship.  Although untested he placed his newborn son in it and launched it.  The rest is “history.”

 
      As luck would have it, that space ship found its way to earth and its precious cargo safely made its way to a new world.

 
     Fast forward all the way through the Smallville life and let’s put him in his new home of Metropolis where he has an apartment and a job.  Yes, a job, no EBT card or Medicaid.  A unique way to grow up as compared to today.

 
      Along the way we all know the story; he discovered he had super powers and unusual talents.  He was impervious to bullets, could fly, had super human strength, and the ability to see thought obstacles.  He was "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound".

 
     Superman opted to use his powers for the good of all mankind and to help this great country where we enjoyed Truth, Justice and the American Way.

 
     Thus Superman grew to adulthood, establishing a few little perks along the way such as his Fortress of Solitude.  Continuing his ever vigilant watch, Superman observed changes coming about in his world.  He noted a break down in the justice system as he repeatedly caught the same people doing the same things more and more frequently, going to court and being released with little to no punishment.

 
      Still he continued his sworn fight to stop crime hoping that one day someone would come along and note how our system is broken and going in the wrong direction.

 
     Things came to a head one day when Superman, during his patrol, discovered what appeared to be a horrible murder.  He found a man holding a smoking gun, standing over a dead body and with a written confession note in his hand.  Immediately our Super Hero plucked up the person, took them to the local jail, had them arrested and placed in a cell awaiting trial.

     After waiting several long months the “suspect” was taken to an American Court Room, diviner of and administrator of “justice.”  Much to Superman’s surprise a sharp taking lawyer defending the “suspect” managed to convince the jury that the poor man on trial was merely a person caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  As to the dead body, this man had simply strolled into the area and found it, as to the smoking gun, although there were no other finger prints but his, the lawyer argued it had been laying there smoking and his client had picked it up out of curiosity even with powder residue on his hand and shirt.  The shyster convinced the jury the hand written confession note was a forgery placed there by someone to entrap his client.

 
     Needless to say the jury paid no attention to the prosecutor’s arguments and overwhelmingly voted a not guilty verdict into being.

 
      Upset over what had happened in this case and the justice system overall, Superman decided he’d take a few days off and lounge around his apartment and let the world go back.  Well, when Superman got to his apartment he discovered Lex Luther, a longtime rival, had moved in and now claimed squatter’s rights and demanded he be granted the rent control lease assigned to the apartment.  Superman checked with local law enforcement and codes and determined it would take at least 4 months of legal work at a high expense to be able to evict Lex and even then he couldn’t be assured the eviction would work.

 
      Disgusted Superman chose to fly to his Fortress of Solitude and attempt to clear his head and evaluate what could be done to turn around this up-side-down world that had developed.

      Just as he touched down at the Fortress of Solitude he noted some government signs posted near the entrance.  It seems there had been the possibility of a Radio Active spill in the neighbor and the entire area had been quarantined and placed off limits to everyone.

      Thoroughly disgusted Superman started back to Metropolis to see if he could find another place to live until this whole foolish thing got straightened out.  On his way he happened to notice 2 small children fighting their way through a snow storm.  Good Samaritan that he is, naturally he flew down, picked them up and took them to their mother.

     Upon arriving in Metropolis Superman was served with a civil lawsuit from the "not guilty" person for having violating his rights.

    Just one more good deed by Superman but there’s another story to tell on this issue.  We’ll save it for another day.


THE HANGMAN'S POEM
By Maurice Ogden;

Into our town the Hangman came, smelling of gold and blood and flame.
And he paced our bricks with a diffident air.
And built his frame on the courthouse square.
The scaffold stood by the courthouse side, only as wide as the door was wide;
a frame as tall, or little more, than the capping sill of the courthouse door.
And we wondered, whenever we had the time, who the criminal, what the crime, that Hangman judged with the yellow twist of knotted hemp in his busy fist.
And innocent though we were, with dread we passed those eyes of buckshot lead; till one cried: "Hangman, who is he for whom you raise the gallows-tree."
Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye, and he gave us a riddle instead of reply: "He who serves me best," said he, "Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree."
And he stepped down, and laid his hand on a man who came from another land and we breathed again, for another's grief at the Hangman's hand was our relief. And the gallows-frame on the courthouse lawn by tomorrow's sun would be struck and gone.
So we gave him way, and no one spoke, out of respect for his hangman's cloak.
The next day's sun looked mildly down on roof and street in our quiet town and, stark and black in the morning air, the gallows-tree on the courthouse square.
And the Hangman stood at his usual stand with the yellow hemp in his busy hand; with his buckshot eye and his jaw like a pike and his air so knowing and businesslike.
And we cried: "Hangman, have you not done, yesterday, with the alien one?"
Then we fell silent, and stood amazed: "Oh, not for him was the gallows raised."
He laughed a laugh as he looked at us: "Did you think I'd gone to all this fuss to hang one man? That's a thing I do to stretch the rope when the rope is new."
Then one cried, "Murderer!" One cried, "Shame!"
And into our midst the Hangman came to that man's place.
"Do you hold," said he, "With him that was meant for the gallows-tree?"
And he laid his hand on that one's arm, and we shrank back in quick alarm, and we gave him way, and no one spoke out of fear of his hangman's cloak.
That night we saw with dread surprise the Hangman's scaffold had grown in size. Fed by the blood beneath the chute the gallows-tree had taken root;
Now as wide, or a little more, than the steps that led to the courthouse door, as tall as the writing, or nearly as tall, halfway up on the courthouse wall.
The third he took — we had all heard tell — was a usurer and infidel,
And: "What," said the Hangman, "have you to do with the gallows-bound, and he a Jew?"
And we cried out: "Is this one he who has served you well and faithfully?"
The Hangman smiled: "It's a clever scheme to try the strength of the gallows-beam."
The fourth man's dark, accusing song had scratched out comfort hard and long; and "What concern," he gave us back, "Have you for the doomed - the doomed and black?"
The fifth.
The sixth.
And we cried again: "Hangman, Hangman, is this the man?" "It's a trick," he said, "that we hangmen know for easing the trap when the trap springs slow."
And so we ceased, and asked no more, as the Hangman tallied his bloody score; and sun by sun, and night by night, the gallows grew to monstrous height.
The wings of the scaffold opened wide till they covered the square from side to side; and the monster cross-beam, looking down, cast its shadow across the town.
Then through the town the Hangman came and called in the empty streets my name - and I looked at the gallows soaring tall and thought:
"There is no one left at all for hanging, and so he calls to me to help pull down the gallows-tree."
ope.
HAnd I went out with right good hope to the Hangman's tree and the Hangman's re smiled at me as I came down to the courthouse square through the silent town, and supple and stretched in his busy hand was the yellow twist of the hempen strand.
And he whistled his tune as he tried the trap and it sprang down with a ready snap— and then with a smile of awful command he laid his hand upon my hand. "You tricked me, Hangman!" I shouted then. "That your scaffold was built for other men. And I no henchman of yours," I cried, "You lied to me, Hangman, foully lied!" Then a twinkle grew in his buckshot eye:
"Lied to you? Tricked you?" he said, "Not I. For I answered straight and I told you true: The scaffold was raised for none but you.
"For who has served me more faithfully than you with your coward's hope?" said he,
"And where are the others that might have stood side by your side in the common good?"
"Dead," I whispered; and amiably "Murdered," the Hangman corrected me; "First the alien, then the Jew...
I did no more than you let me do."
Beneath the beam that blocked the sky, none had stood so alone as I - and the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there cried "Stay" for me in the empty square.

?
When will it be your turn???


                   DANGER CONECUH DANGER

     In keeping with the theme from the old TV series “Lost in Space,” someone needs to scream “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger” only say it to our poor citizens.  Perhaps someone would wake up before another huge gouge is taken from our tax dollars.

     If you read the posting about the special meeting held on 30 May this is an add on to it.

     It was noted that Commissioner McCreary made a motion that was properly 2nd and passed by unanimous vote to have county equipment on hand to make a few digs in conjunction with the environmental impact study to be conducted at the old Poole Truck Lines site on Monday.

    Whoa, not so fast there inquisitive mind, there may be something there that could possibly jinx the sale of that property that may be uncovered if a little dirt should be moved sooooo, the current owners say NO, you can’t do any digging.

     I’m sure almost everyone out here has at some time or another bought something be it a car, truck, boat, house or some such item.  I know every time I’ve made a major purchase I searched for a way to save myself a dollar or so and at the same time, tried to make sure I was getting the safest, best product I could.  Every salesman I’ve dealt with was interested at making a sale and would work with me to adjust this or tweak that or cut a buck or so off.  WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE???? 

     How long did that property sit idle before S & S Properties purchased it?  Quite some time if my memory serves me right.  Two (2) years ago they bought it for $300,000.00, they now want to sell it for $600,000.00 plus cut four (4) acres off what they originally purchased.  Not only has that, the buildings on the property have been pretty much gutted of any valuable contents.  No telling what it will cost to get those buildings up to snuff for whatever use is intended.

     Dr. John Johnson of Coastal Gateway is obviously chomping at the bit to make this sale happen.  What does he get from it?  Three (3) of our commissioners are chomping at the bit to make this sale happen.  What do they get from it?

     As I’ve stated before, I don’t believe these guys have yet to meet a dollar they wouldn’t like to spend.

     In the long run who will pay the price in the event this property is contaminated?  Why the citizens of Conecuh will.  If it's simply a matter of digging up a few scoops of dirt, what's wrong with that?

     I’m reminded of a much used story a short time back when the landfill fight was going on.  It involved Mr. Stone and his company making a purchase in New York State and, unbeknown to them, the property had been contaminated from leakage from transformers.  Oh the brow beating that was administrated because the Stone Company did not undertake millions of dollars of cleanup.  Is this scenario about to come true for us?

     Again, if the county is paying for the inspection and there is truly nothing to fear, why would S & S Properties deny the right to conduct checks?
     Danger Conecuh, Danger



BE CAREFUL CONECUH COUNTIANS

It is rumored that a rare and unusual paranoia bug is sweeping through the county.  Everyone, be careful and try to avoid catching it, it is known to cause irrational behavior, false accusations and other weird utterances.

Watch how you drive public roads or go to public places.

Based on correspondence from my attorney a certain individual in the county has accused me of stalking them, doing drive by's and other outlandish things.  (remember paranoia)

It's also rumored the D. A. is upset at some of the things I attributed to him about the current delay in my court process.  I guess I probably won't get a Christmas Card from the local judicial system but that's alright, they won't get any toys.

Wonder if the District Attorney ever took time out to think I may be upset about what has been attributed to me?


Interesting Phone Conversation:

 

     Just when I thought Evergreen Wood Products was a conversation of the past a surprise jumped up and I felt the presence of Yogi Berra saying “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

 

     Seems Mr. Robert Miller has been in conference with a law firm from Birmingham, Hare, Wynn, Newell and Newton, dealing with certain issues particular to him and his business venture in Evergreen, most especially those of an ethical nature.

 

     I was told that as of now at least 3 officials, 1 city and 2 county, plus the IDB, were named in an investigation into improper and wrong doing and more names are to be added.  

 

     Information from my source says that something should break before the end of this week possibly first of next week with probable legal action forthcoming.

     Keep your eyes on this site for further updates.



Conecuh County Commission Meeting 16 July 2015

 

     Call to order 9 AM by Chairman Millender, prayer by Mr. Wendell Byrd followed by the pledge of Allegiance.

 

     Roll call showed all members present.  The agenda and previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Pay roll/personnel report showed one new hire at the jail.  There were 28.5 hours of overtime, the sheriff’s department and jail accounted for 8 ½ hours of it, the animal shelter had 4 hours.

 

     Claims approval showed 5 claims over the limit in the general fund (over $500.00) and 2 claims over the limit in the gasoline fund (over $3,000.00).  Motion to approve by Commissioner Cook with recommendation the Hartman, Blackmon and Kilgore invoice be held back for a deeper look.  Motion accepted and approved.

 

     Mr. Bill Hart, citizen, came before the commission to tell them the Bull Slough and Brooklyn boat ramp parking areas are so full on weekends alternate parking is having to be sought.  He had a complaint about weeds at the boat landings but had discussed and worked things out with County Engineer Foshee before coming up on the agenda.

 

     Sheriff Brock advised the commission body the new car is in and the final preparations are being completed.  He hopes to have it on the road by next Tuesday.  The sheriff was asked about trustee help in various areas, most especially with state prisoners.  He advised that as of now everything is in a hold status until the final outcome of the early release reform is determined.  The sheriff stated by all appearances there will be a rather large glut of inmates, primarily serving drug related sentences, will be released over a period of time.

 

     EMA DirectorJohnny Brock advised the commission that the courthouse evacuation drill that he’s been attempting to coordinate was derailed due to the Emerald Valley fire.  It was decided that Mr. Brock and Ms. Covan work together with the department heads in the Court House and at the next meeting a date for the drill will be announced.

     Mr. Brock noted the current copy machine in his office is developing problems.  When questioned as to the age of the machine Mr. Brock admitted he was unsure but the unit was in place when he took over as EMA Director.  As per usual, he came with a recommended solution to the problem.  The current machine was a lease agreed item at a cost of $208.00 per month.  He has located a company that will lease a copier of equal or better performance for a lease to own cost of $180.00 and after 5 years it will become the property of the EMA.  The commission voted to allow Mr. Brock to follow up on this new copier and take necessary action.

     Mr. Brock also noted the “return to work” policy now in place fulfilled a requirement that should net the county a monetary return.

 

     Animal Shelter report was provided by Chief Impounding Officer Sid Lambert.  Mr. Lambert reported that a total of 251 adoptions and transfers have occur year to date.  There have been 30 euthanasians conducted.

      Mr. Lambert reported the organization that had provided funding for the rescues (those going out of area) had stopped.  He has just received notification of this and has 12 dogs scheduled out.  The cost for the health certificate and rabies at $50.00 per dog.  Mr. Lambert questioned the commission about asking for donations to help cover the cost of this program and was advised he needed to speak to the attorney on this matter.

 

     My little input here.  I don’t think it’s proper or legal to solicit for donations for the animal shelter because any funds taken in there should be considered county money and go into the general fund.  HOWEVER, there is nothing illegal for a citizen to go to the veterinary office and volunteer to pay for some or all of the expenses needed to make these rescues viable.  That’s just my input, do as you see fit.

 

     County Engineer Foshee started out announcing the Brooklyn Water Project has been completed.  Everything is being turned over to the Owassa Brownville Water Authority.  It was reported that 20 customers desire to be hooked into this water.

     Mr. Foshee noted there was an outstanding invoice involved with this project and another $33,089.55 drawdown was needed to pay various companies involved.  Motion to approve was passed unanimously.

     The McMillian Trust dirt pit contract needed approving.  $1.60 per cubic yard.  Approved unanimously.

     A summary of the dump truck sale was presented.  We had a confirmed price set prior to sale so there was no impact on the county however the truck sold at a much lower price than was anticipated.  The county made $60,000.00 net on this sale.

     Commissioner Hildreth talked of lighting problems with the trailer when hooked to and plugged into the dump trucks power source.  Mr. Foshee will take a look.

     The excavator that had been placed with Richey Brothers did not sale.  The county had a $50,000.00 minimum on it and the best offer was only $30,000.00.  After discussion it was determined to allow Mr. Foshee to attempt to auction the equipment off dealing through other outlets.  Minimum price acceptable was dropped from $50,000.00 to $47,500.00.

     The bush hogging is underway and the 1 pass is in progress.  There should be a second cutting in the second week of August and in mid-September a 3 and heavy cutting will occur.

 

      County Administrator, Judy Covan, asked the pleasure of the board dealing with the Employee Driver Policy.  Sheriff Brock stated he had looked at the policy and did not see any problems with it.  After discussion the policy was approved by unanimous vote.

      Ms. Covan reported bids were in for the new roof job at DHR.  Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood arranged for the bid submissions and, due to some wording in the bids, it was recommended that the bids be tabled until the next meeting where G. M. & C. could be on hand to answer any questions.

     The employee handbook was next item of discussion.  It was determined that Ms. Jamie Kidd, the attorney primarily putting the handbook together, the county attorney, administrator and any/all commissioners met on 30 July at 10 AM to go over the handbook and get answers to outstanding questions.

     A request for an ABC off premise licenses request from “Christine’s Grocery” was considered and approved.

     A memo request from Probate Judge Rogene Booker requesting an additional 6 months emergency hire position be continued was next up for discussion.  After all the I’s were dotted and the T’s crossed it was determined that a second sixth month emergency hire was not in keeping with current rules and regulations.  A call for action resulted in no motion being offered therefore this request died.

     An agreement to start holding budget hearings for the 2014-2015 budget year will start on 27 July at 9 AM.  This is open to the public.  Money will be much tighter this year than in the last few past years.

 

     County Attorney Anthony Bishop brought forth an issue of a copy machine agreement ex-Sheriff Booker entered into in 2013.  The lease payment is $300.00 per month for a sixty month period.  After having looked at the total expenditure it was determined the cost factor was such that the contract should have been bid vice being solely approved by the sheriff’s department.  The commissioners were never in the loop for this machine and the attorney advised them the contract is cancellable due to that fact.  Also, it appears a better machine at a cheaper price for a short time can be acquired.  Commissioners agreed unanimously to cancel the contract.

 

     It was announced that an executive session was necessary to discuss the general reputation and character and pending or threatened litigation.

 

     The media were asked if they had any comments.  My only question was how long they anticipated the executive session to last and if there would be any balloting on anything upon return.  Response was unsure on both the time and balloting.

 

     Went into executive session by voice vote at 10:10 AM

     Call back to regular session at 10:32 AM

 

     It was announced the sheriff’s department was responsible for court house security.  The attorney recommended the commission put in a motion recommending a reduction in force and let the current court house security group go.

     After motion made and passed it was determined that 27 September would be the final day for the current crew and the sheriff’s department would assume responsibility effective 28 September.

 

     Chairman Millender ensured there were no more outstanding questions or business and called for a motion to adjourn.

 

Adjourned 10:35 AM



City Council Special Call Work Session

 

     Anything reported or mentioned herein has not officially taken place as of yet.  There can be no official business conducted in a work session; any action to be taken must wait until the next regular council meeting.

 

 

     The Evergreen City Council met at 6 PM on 14 July 2015 in a work session to discuss salary increases.  Mayor Wolff called the meeting to order.

 

     Mayor Wolff pointed out the current benefits and information offered to full time employees, some of which are:  3% pay raise every 2 years, life insurance policy, 8 hours sick time earned per month, vacation earned and health insurance policies for both individual and families, to name a few.

 

     First department to be discussed was the Evergreen Police Department.  The officer promotions and pay changes that were previously discussed were recommended for approval at the next scheduled meeting.

 

     Chief Simpson was on hand to answer any questions.  Ms. Jackson, City Clerk, had prepared a pay comparison scale hand out that outlined the average salaries of other cities in Alabama.  It was quickly pointed out that the police department constantly and consistently placed itself in harm’s way yet the current starting pay for a certified officer is $14.31 per hour, after 6 months pay goes to $15.18 per hour.

 

     Council person Harris stated that our police department pay was inconsistent and below the average pay offered in other Alabama cities based on the prepared hand out. 

 

     Chief Simpson was asked what he was looking for and he basically stated he was flexible in that area but wanted some sense of fairness.  He went on to state the pay was insufficient to hold good, trained and qualified officers in place.  Council person Upton asked if a $2.00 per hour raise would help solve some of the chief’s problems, encourage new people to come to the EPD and help keep those trained officers from leaving. 

 

     This proposal met with approval by the EPD and the other council members so look for a motion to approve at the next council meeting.

 

     Chief Simson also introduced a new uniform style for the officers.  He pointed out the uniform Sgt. Robinson was wearing had a tendency to melt and stick to a person’s body as evidenced when Sgt. Robinson had gone into 2 different house fires.  The current uniform is actually a hazard to the officers in fire situations.

 

     The new uniform is a more study, won’t melt material.  The Chief went on to describe what he hopes will be approved in putting stripes, names, rank badges and patches on the new uniforms.  Total cost to the city should be less than $9,000.00 to supply all officers with 3 uniforms and will be discussed at the next meeting.

 

     Parks and recreation was the next department.  Supervisor David Thomas advised he had 3 life guards for the Carver pool and their pay was on $7.25 per hour.  These people have certain qualifications they must meet and maintain to keep certified and they must do so every 2 years.  These are part-time positions but it is difficult to find new life guards year after year and it would be nice to have a little pay incentive to help persuade them to come back.  It was proposed to up the life guard pay, and anyone else in the $7.25 per hour pay grade, too $8.21 per hour.

 

     Ms. Riley operates the Carver Recreation Center and maintains the gym 3 nights per week.  She has been an employee since 2008 and is currently receiving the same salary she originally hired in at, $8.45 per hour.  It was recommended to increase her pay to $11.00 per hour.

 

     Mr. David Thomas, parks and recreation superintendent, stated he had been with the city for over 28 years and his pay was currently on an hourly basis.  He said as a superintendent he felt it only fair he should be paid as well as the other department’s superintendents.  Discussion ensued about hourly vice salary.  Mr. Thomas and the council ultimately agreed he would go under a salary system of $66,400.00 per year.  The salary system would alleviate the overtime pay that he currently receives.  Again, this should be an item for motion and passage at the next meeting.

 

     Mr. Jeff Sullivan, Project Manager, came before the council next.  He plainly stated he did not desire any additional pay for himself but his people have been at the low end of the totem pole for a long period of time.  The inability to offer a decent salary has reflected in the quality of work produced, in other words, you get what you pay for.  Mr. Sullivan advised the council that 50% of his people are paid $8.21 per hour.  This includes people required to attain and maintain a variety of different licenses positions such as CDL and equipment operator’s licenses of varying degrees.  He went on to state that he has 14 positions in his area and only 13 are filled.  One person quit over a year ago and the pay is so low he cannot fill the position.  He has 7 laborers, 4 permanent and 3 temporary with one of them being a skilled carpenter.

 

     Mr. Sullivan had submitted a recommended pay advancement for his people that was only made available to the council members.  It was recommended by the council to accept Mr. Sullivan’s proposal.

 

     Ms. Helen Wiggins was next in line.  She is taking over the city magistrate’s position and has 22 years of city service.  It was recommended Ms. Wiggins advance to $21.00 per hour provided the position she is vacating, assistant city magistrate, will hire in at $13.00 per hour.

 

     The Maintenance Shop supervisor was on hand to ask for help in his area.  His major complaint is, they have no room to work.  The buildings are falling down, leaking and in a sad state of disrepair.  After some discussion I believe this will be a subject addressed soon.

 

 Meeting came to an end at 7:30 PM



WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

 
     Something near and dear to us all is our love with and of automobiles.  Most of these things are fed by gasoline and the prices of gasoline are a real conundrum.

 
      Just today, 7 July 2015, gas prices were:

Evergreen…………………………….$2.54

Monroeville…………………………...$2.41

Brewton……………………………….$2.41

River Falls…………………………….$2.46

Andulisia……………………………...$2.46

Greenville……………………………..$2.36

 
      Notice anything unusual about this.  Why is Evergreen at least $.08 per gallon more expensive than any of the other cities around us.

 
     I know, Monroeville, Brewton, River Falls (my God, River Falls), Andalusia and Greenville are all served by a major thoroughfare whereby goods and services can easily be transported there.  Oops, just looked at the map and that’s not it.  Could it be Evergreen has a whole different set of delivery vehicles coming here and they charge more to deliver to Evergreen than those delivery vehicles going to the other cities.  Oops again, sometimes it’s the same trucks delivering to these other stores too.

 
     I do believe the city has raised their gas tax to $.04 per gallon and the county gets $.01 per gallon.  Not sure what the state gets but still, why is Evergreen constantly and consistently higher in cost than the other cities?

 
     We struggle to get businesses (and people) to come here.  If you’re a business owner (or a regular person) and you monitored these prices like I have, why would you want to come to a place where your cost was higher than other places?  Every cent more you spend takes from your overall profit and profit is the name of the game.

 
      I just don’t understand why Evergreen constantly sets the bar for higher prices.  Anyone out there that can explain it in simple layman terms I would be grateful.



City Council 7 July 2015

 

Prayer by Mr. Mike Lanier

 

Mayor Wolff called the council to order at 6 PM.  All members were present.

 

Informal Session:

     A petition to widen Highway 84 from Fairview to the airport was addressed.  It was requested that people sign this petition in an attempt to convince ALADOT to take action.  A motion was made that the city adopt this petition, passed by unanimous vote.

 

The previous minutes were approved by unanimous vote as were the accounts payable.

 

Old Business:

     Bids for 2 CDBG’s work came in much higher than projected.  Grant writer Cara Stallman recommended rejecting the bids, go back to ADECA for approval and rebid without including the lift stations.

     Motion to reject by unanimous vote.  Public hearing scheduled for 1st Council meeting in August.

    

     Bids for a generator for City Hall were announced.  Auxiliary Power was low bidder at $85,347.00.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Superintendent Sullivan announced bid results for uniform contract.  Low bidder was GNK at $9,660.56.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Mr. Sullivan also announced the lower bidder for the ballfield inlets.  Asphalt Specialist had the low bid at $23,650.00.  Approved by unanimous vote.

 

     Council person Upton addressed the replacement of the sign at Middleton Field again.  Cost for this project are as follows:

Cost of bricks $0.00 donated by Mr. Jessie Lett.  Remaining cost for this project is $3,725.00.  Thanks to Mr. Lett for saving the city several thousand dollars in cost.  Approved unanimously.

 

 

New Business:

     A situation exist near Magnolia Cemetery where a land owner has a profuse amount of vegetation growth blocking motorist from being able to properly see.  The council declared it a sight distance problem and will contact the owner asking them to clear the area.

 

     The Historical Marker Monument for Doctor Crawford located on Front Street  is to be relocated to the front of what was the old City Drugstore.  Suggested by Ms. Nell Stuart.  4 votes in favor, one abstention.

 

     Poles and materials for the park were next on the agenda.  Unfortunately the project had not been properly bid out and all returned bids were rejected.  The project will be re-advertised and rebid.

 

     Compliance Officer Bobby McNeil reported he had made every attempt possible to contact the owner of a piece of property on Magnolia about doing a cleanup, all to no avail.  Attorney Hartley advised the city could proceed with clean up and bill the owner.

 

     The once condemned old Firestone building that was reversed and then sold to Lewis Pest Control is falling apart.  Mr. McNeil has made several attempts to contact Mr. Lewis but with no success.  Mr. McNeil suggested condemning the building and tearing it down.  Mayor Wolff will take for action on contacting Mr. Lewis.

 

    Chief of Police James Simpson advised the council he needed additional officers as previously discussed.  He informed the council that the starting pay must be raised for him to be able to get these badly needed officers.  Attorney Hartley advised the council to hold a work session for discussion of what needed to be done to get new officers.

 

     Chief Simpson brought in several of his officers and made the following request:  He desires to recognize and reward Sgt. Tristan Robinson for his collateral duty and success at grant writing.  Chief Simson has 4 additional officers he desires to promote.  2 to sergeant and 2 to corporal

 

     The Chief introduced Evergreen’s newest police officer, Byron Owens reporting from Citronell. 

 

     Uniform patches on the officers uniforms have a depiction of a Confederate Flag on them and will be replaced.

 

Committee Reports:

     Council Person Upton presented an invoice from Ms. Jones for her musical services at the Liberty Hill fiesta on June 27, 2015.  The cost was $125.00 to the city and $125.00 to the chamber.  Motion to pay followed by unanimous vote.