Eutaw City Council receives reports on finances, sales tax collection and Water Department

At its regular meeting on November 23, 2021, the Eutaw City Council received reports in its budget, bank accounts, sales tax collections and the Water Department.

Two Council members were absent – LaJeffrey Carpenter and Tracy Hunter – but a quorum was present which allowed the meeting to proceed.

Based on recommendations from their Financial Adviser, Ralph Liverman, the Council reviewed and approved several bank resolutions to close several certificates of deposit and place checking accounts into money market accounts, which will earn interest on surplus funds on deposit in these bank accounts.

Liverman also presented a detailed report on the opening balances in all city banking and operational accounts as of the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2021.

The most interesting report that Liverman furnished was a record of sales tax and motor fuel revenues received by the City of Eutaw over the past three fiscal years, which shows the impact of the Love’s Travel Center in significantly increasing the tax revenues paid to the City of Eutaw.

A chart summarizing this information is included in this news report. The chart shows revenues for the three fiscal years, FY2018-2019, which was the year before Love’s opened for business, FY 2019-2020, which includes the first eleven months of Love’s operation and FY 2020-2021, which includes a full year of the truck stop and travel center operations.

The chart shows an increase of sales taxes from $530,962 before Love’s, to $772,756 for last year, which was a full year of operation for the travel center. This is an increase of $ 241,794 or 31%

The fuel tax increase, which is based on 3 cents per gallon, increased from $54,798 to $472,377, which is an astounding increase of
$ 417,574 or 762%.

Overall sales tax and motor fuel revenues increased from $692,730 to $1,515,045, which was an increase of $822,315 or 119%. On a monthly basis this represents $126,253 in tax revenues added to the city budget.

Note that the total sales tax rate in Greene County is 10% of which 3% goes to the municipality, in this case the City of Eutaw; 3% to the County Commission, and 4% to the State of Alabama. So, the county government and State of Alabama are receiving similar increases in revenues, to those received by the City of Eutaw.

It should also be noted that much of the increase in tax revenues which is attributed to the Love’s Travel Center were from people traveling through Greene County on Interstate 20/59, not from residents of the city or the county.

The Eutaw Water Department reported continuing progress in collections and reducing water losses. The City collected over $75,000 in water revenues for November 2021, which was about double what had been collected in previous years. There are 1,461 customers, with 12 new customers of which 9 were customers found, who previously had not been billed. There are still 534 accounts with $63,469 past due and receivable, some of which are under payment agreements.

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• Did not approve, November 24, the day before Thanksgiving for a full day paid vacation for employees. They left this benefit at a half day.

• Approved changes in the right-of-way for utilities and access to Raintree Apartments LLC and a similar adjustment for Rollingwoods Apartments.

• Heard reports from the City Engineer and Chief of Police.

• Agreed to pay bills for November 2021.

Bingo gaming distributions for October total $528,519.72

On Friday, November 19, 2021 Greene County Sheriff Department issued a listing of the bingo distributions for October, 2021, totaling $582,519.72 from four of the five licensed bingo gaming facilities.  The October distribution reported by the sheriff does not include the additional $71,000 from Greenetrack, Inc. distributed to the same recipients, independent of the sheriff.
The bingo facilities distributing through the sheriff include Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace, Bama Bingo.  The recipients of the October distributions from bingo gaming include Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, and Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).           
  Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Housing Authority of Greene County (Branch Heights), Department of Human Resources, the Greene County Library, Eutaw Housing Authority. Newly added  sub charities include the Historical Society, REACH, Inc., Headstart  Community Service and This Belong To US.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $116,080 to the following: Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System,  $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,045, including REACH;  Community Service received and $475 and This Belong to Us received $95.
     Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $117,150 to the following: Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board  of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,027, including the Historical Society and REACH. Community Service received $467and This Belong to Us $95.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of  $118,288 to the following:  Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee  each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,027, including the Historical Society and REACH.  Community Service received $467 and This Belong to Us received $92.
  Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $177,001.72 to the following: Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $45,765; City of Eutaw, $12,543; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,254.50; Greene County Board of Education, $14,238 and the Greene County Health System, $14,238; Sub Charities received $1, 375, including the Historical Society and REACH 375. Community Service received $625 and This Belong to Us received $125.
  In the Sheriff’s October distribution report, supplemental funds, totaling $139,899.30, were provided by each of the four licensed facilities.  Bama Bingo contributed $30,570; Frontier contributed $30,750; River’s Edge contributed $14,275 and Palace contributed $64,304.30 in supplemental funds..  

 

Local candidate qualifying opens for 2022 election cycle

The Greene County Democratic Executive Committee announces the opening of the local Candidate Qualifying Period for the 2022 election cycle on Monday, December 6, 2021, from 9:00 am through Friday, January 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm, according to Chairman Lorenzo French.
Qualifying papers can be picked up at the Robert H. Young Community Center gymnasium area (former Carver school) between the hours of 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:00 am to 12 noon on Friday.
Chairman French stated that the candidate qualifying fees are calculated at 2% of the compensation for that particular office.
Greene County offices up for election in 2022 include the following: Sheriff – county wide; Coroner – county -wide; County Commission seats in all five Districts; Board of Education seats in District 1 and District 2; Democratic Executive Committee in all five Districts.
The District Attorney’s position for Circuit 17, serving Greene, Sumter and Marengo Counties is also up. Qualifying for that office must be done with the Alabama Secretary of State.
The Alabama Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, 2022, with the General Election, Tuesday November 8, 2022.
Individuals can register to vote until 10 days before the scheduled election.

Newswire :Billionaire Robert F. Smith and other corporate leaders mount campaign to close the Digital Divide

By Jose Marquez

TriceEdneyWire.com) – With protests having erupted in cities across the country over police violence targeting Black men and women, the civil rights and social justice movements have shot to the forefront of U.S. politics in a way not seen since the 1960s.

While much of the conversation rightly has centered on police brutality and the role law enforcement plays in American society, communities of color also are discriminated against in numerous other ways. Many Black Americans, Latinos and other people of color are given substandard educational opportunities, lack avenues to workforce training and advancement and, arguably most important in today’s tech-driven world, face a dearth of access to reliable, affordable broadband internet.

Congress made a good first step in ameliorating this dire situation when it passed President Biden’s infrastructure
bill, but the $65 billion allocation in broadband for all is hardly enough to close the digital divide.

The gap in digital access is particularly wide in communities of color, where one in three families with children lack a high-speed internet connection at home — a rate of disconnection more than 50 percent higher than that of white families. The problem is exacerbated in areas across the South from Atlanta to Houston where 35 percent of Black adults lack any access to broadband at home.

The private sector is already doing this with a little-known but ambitious effort like the Southern Communities Initiative. It is seeking to address the socio-economic challenges that African Americans face throughout the region. And among the goals of this partnership is to expand broadband access across six metro areas throughout the South: Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Houston, Memphis, and New Orleans. The effort has the backing of some of the most powerful individuals in corporate America, including PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Vista CEO Robert F. Smith and BCG CEO Rich Lesser.

We are not too late to bridge the digital divide, and the Southern Communities Initiative will almost certainly play an important role in helping accomplish that in communities like my hometown of Atlanta. But this important work cannot be left to private individuals and organizations alone. Lawmakers must do their part to ensure that high-speed internet is available and affordable to every American, no matter where in the country they live.

While policymakers in Washington have focused on getting broadband access to rural areas, we must also make sure that urban areas are not overlooked. Census data has shown that while there are approximately 5 million rural households without broadband access, this problem is three times as large in urban areas—with around 15 million urban or metro households without broadband.

Affordable and ubiquitous access to high-speed internet, however, is just the starting point. We also must expand access to the hardware and software people need to take full advantage of all the internet has to offer and maintain an ecosystem of digital educators, repair workers, designers and other tech specialists who can keep improvements going long into the future.

Guaranteeing that all Americans have broadband access would not only help close the digital divide but would also give the United States an edge in global competitiveness as it would bring millions of people more fully into the digital economy. One study from last year found that only about 30 percent of African Americans had access to broadband compared with about 60 percent of whites.

There is a broad consensus from civil rights leaders to corporate heads to policymakers inside the Washington Beltway that broadband access is a right of every American. Lawmakers must take note and ensure that all Americans have the ability to log on.

Jose Marquez is the national President and CEO of TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA).

Newswire: African countries rage at new travel bans by vaccine hoarding countries

South African President Cyril Ramaposa


Nov. 29, 2012 (GIN) – Southern African countries are facing new travel restrictions after the discovery of a handful of coronavirus variants, first found in Botswana. For some African leaders, it’s the classic case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
 
“Despite the repeated warnings of health leaders,” declared former British prime minister Gordon Brown,  “our failure to put vaccines into the arms of people in the developing world is now coming back to haunt us. We were forewarned – and yet here we are.”
 
“We are concerned that there seem to have been attempts to stigmatize the country where it was detected,” said Botswana Health Minister Edwin Dikoloti while criticizing derogatory reports of a so-called “Botswana variant”.
 
South Africa will remain on the lowest ‘Level One’ of its five-level lockdown strategy to fight the Covid-19 pandemic despite the global panic around the detection of the Omicron variant in the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced.
 
Ramaphosa also called on more than 20 countries that have imposed travel bans to and from South Africa and its neighbors to immediately end the ban to avoid further harm to the economies of these countries, which have already been battered by the pandemic.
 
“The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic,” he added. 
 
Matshidiso Moeti, regional director for Africa for the World Health Organization, also criticized travel curbs and called on countries to follow science and international health regulations in order to avoid such measures.
 
Shabir Madhi, a South African vaccinologist, told Al Jazeera it was “naive” for countries “to believe they can stop the spread of this variant with a blanket ban on countries in southern Africa”.
 
“The virus has already found its way into these societies from individuals that haven’t even travelled to or come into contact with anyone from southern Africa,” he said. “In South Africa, we have one of the globe’s best COVID sequencing capacities based on our experience with treating HIV and TB. We have been ahead of the game for a while now and we are thus a victim of our success.” 
 
In the absence of mass vaccination, Covid is not only spreading uninhibited among unprotected people but is mutating, with new variants now threatening to unleash themselves on even fully vaccinated people in the richest countries of the world.
 
As the new variant was spotted Saturday in Britain, Germany and Italy, one country after another shut their doors to southern Africa. 
 
Countries slapped with new travel restrictions by the UK include South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola. 
 

Newswire: Pioneering Black Golf Champ Lee Elder dies at 87

Lee Elder

 

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Lee Elder, a golfing pioneer, and the first Black player to compete in the Masters has died at 87.
“It’s remarkable to look back on Lee’s life and career and realize the hardships he endured and the sacrifices he made to reach golf’s highest level,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“To have the success he had while paving the way for others to dream big and achieve is a testament to the type of man he was and how much talent he possessed. The TOUR is profoundly grateful for the career of Lee Elder, and we extend our sincere sympathies to his family.”
Born in 1934 in Dallas, Texas, Elder took up golf to help his parents financially. He caddied at the all-White Tennison Park Golf Club in Dallas, but soon the golf pro began allowing Elder to play the course.
In 1959, Elder joined the United Golfers Association and dominated the all-Black group. According to BlackPast.org, Elder won four Negro National Open Championships and an eye-opening 18 of the 22 tournaments in which he participated.
Using the purses from those victories allowed Elder to participate in the 1967 qualifying school for the PGA TOUR. In 1971, Elder made history as the first Black player invited to participate in the South African PGA Tournament.
“His participation in that event made this the first integrated sports event in South Africa since the establishment of the official Apartheid policy in 1948,” researchers at the Black Past wrote.
However, they noted further that Elder and other Black golfers continued to face racial challenges at home. “Although the PGA Tour was officially open to African Americans, it was not friendly to them. Many tournaments would not allow Black golfers into the clubhouse and instead required that they change and eat in the parking lot,” the researchers wrote.
However, in 1975, Elder made history again in Augusta, Georgia, when he was invited to compete at the Masters Open, the most prestigious tournament in golf.
With his victory at the 1974 Monsanto Open, Elder automatically qualified for the Masters Open, but he also became the first Black player invited. Unfortunately, Elder missed the qualifying round in the tournament.
Still, his entrance was an African American milestone covered by almost every major magazine and news program in the country, noted the Black Press.
Elder played in five more Masters, won three PGA tournaments, and was named to the 1979 Ryder Cup Team. He had a combined 12 tournament victories on the PGA and Senior Tours, earning more than $1 million on each tour.
However, his invitation to the Masters in 1975 proved that African Americans could compete at the highest levels of golf, the researchers continued. “Lee Elder was a pioneer, and in so many ways,” legendary golf champ Jack Nicklaus told Bill Fields during a PGATOUR.com interview.
“Yes, he was the first Black player to compete in the Masters Tournament, but that simply underlined the hard work Lee put in to further the cause of everyone who has a dream to play on the PGA TOUR and perhaps thinks there were too many barriers before them. It was wonderful that the Masters Tournament and Augusta National paid a well-deserved tribute to Lee by inviting him to be an Honorary Starter on this last Masters. That morning, you could see the joy in Lee’s face, and Gary Player and I were honored to enjoy that moment with him. That memory will remain special for so many, including me, for many years to come.
“Lee was a good player, but most importantly, a good man who countless people very well respected,” added Nicklaus. “The game of golf lost a hero in Lee Elder. Barbara and I send our heartfelt condolences to Lee’s wife Sharon and their entire family.”

Newswire: Museum Of African American History digitizes exhibits

Museum of AAHC

Ever since it opened its doors in 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has emerged into an institution that poignantly captures the essence of the Black experience. The museum is ensuring the rich history encompassed within its walls can reach the masses through the creation of a new digital project, the  Washington Post reported.

The institution recently unveiled an initiative dubbed the Searchable Museum. Through the platform, individuals can virtually explore a collection of videos, photographs and interactive narratives. Among the exhibitions is “Slavery & Freedom,” which gives an in-depth lens into the harrowing experiences of enslaved people. This project explores the journeys of unsung African American trailblazers and stories that examine how current issues surrounding things like healthcare, land ownership, education and law are directly correlated to historic social injustices.
Kevin Young—who serves as the museum’s director—says the digitization of the institution’s content will be instrumental in making education about significant parts of history more accessible.
“I used to talk about the digital future, but it’s really the digital present,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “We’re bringing the museum beyond its four walls. It’s like a museum in your pocket. The goal was really to think about how we could bring history in your hands. I really think the experience of going to the museum is transformative. What we wanted out of the site is something transformative as well.”
There have been projects launched to preserve significant elements of Black history digitally. In June, Getty Images announced it would provide grants for the digitization of historic HBCU images. The initiative was designed to give a lens into the legacies of these educational pillars.

Newswire: After guilty verdicts, Civil Rights Leaders exhort Black America to ‘Never Stop Running for Ahmaud’

By Stacy Brown, NNPA Newswire

After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery would pay for their heinous crime, the 25-year-old’s family finally received justice.
A Glynn County, Georgia, convicted Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan of felony murder. “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump exclaimed.
“Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul,” Crump continued.
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson called the verdicts long overdue. “Ahmaud Arbery’s death was unnecessary and fueled by racist ideologies deeply engrained into the fabric of this nation,” Johnson insisted. “Generations of Black people have seen this time and time again, with the murder of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and many others,” he continued.
“The actions and events perpetrated by the McMichaels and William Bryan leading up to Ahmaud’s death reflect a growing and deepening rift in America that will be its undoing if not addressed on a systemic level. “We must fix what is genuinely harming our nation: white supremacy.”
The jury found Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery in February 2020, guilty of all nine charges, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder.
The panel found his father, Gregory, not guilty of malice murder but convicted him on felony murder, unlawful imprisonment, and other charges.
Bryan escaped a guilty verdict on malice murder, but the jury found him guilty of three felony murder counts, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal intent to commit a felony.
The men, who also face federal charges, could spend life in prison when sentenced. Judge Timothy Walmsley bound the men over and will soon set a sentencing date.
“Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. This tragedy should have never happened,” said Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, who is a Democrat. “I am keeping his family in my prayers. But we must move forward together to dispel the shadows of our past and to ensure the safety and civil rights of every American,” Demings asserted.
Crump insisted that Black America must keep fighting for civil rights and justice. “This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed,” Crump demanded.
“The violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness. Yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice,” Crump remarked.
“[The verdict] indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line. America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right. And never stop running for Ahmaud.”

COVID-19

As of November 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 845,761 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(4,278) more than last week with 16,119 deaths (76) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,302 confirmed cases, (5 more cases than last week), with 45 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,392 cases with 41 deaths

Hale Co. had 3,184 cases with 89 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 18 and up.