County Commission deals
with financial matters

Rev. James Carter
1961– 2022

Rev. James Carter, a former Greene County Commissioner
District 4 passed away on Sunday, April 10, 2022, after a
long illness.

Carter was honored earlier that same day with a benefit program
to raise funds to help his family with expenses. Members of the Eta Mu Sigma
Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Paramount Class of 1979, members of churches
he pastored and others supported the program.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 1:00 PM at
Carver School gymnasium.

The Greene County Commission held a special meeting on March 31 and its regular monthly meeting on April 11, 2022 to mostly deal with and approve financial matters.

The special meeting was called to approve a refunding of the county’s bond issue for construction of the William McKinley Branch Courthouse and the Jail. There are 15 years left on the 2007 warrants, with a balance of $3,855,000 remaining, with an interest rate of 4.61%, after the February 2022 annual payment.

The bonds were refinanced by PiperSandler Investment Corporation, at 2.99% for remaining 14 years of the warrants from February 2023 to February 2037. The county will realize a net savings of $339,263 on the transaction (around $25,000 per year), which includes payment of issuance and placement fees and restoration of the bond warrants fund. Walter Lewis, a former University of Alabama quarterback, represented the company and secured placement of the bonds at a more favorable interest rate.

At the April 11 regular meeting, CFO Mac Underwood reported that the bond refinancing had been completed as of April 5, 2022, at the rates promised.

At the start of the April 11 meeting, the Commission observed a moment of silence to honor the late Rev. James Carter, who had served as a commissioner for District 4 in the past.

CFO Mac Underwood provided a financial report as of March 22, 2022, which showed $6,627,903 in various accounts in Citizens Trust Bank, $4,981,946 in Merchants and Farmers Bank and several certificates in Robertson Bank for a total of $11,971,738, plus an additional amount for the county’s bond fund in the Bank of New York. He also presented a report showing $640,650 in claims and payroll for March and $138,000 in electronic payments for taxes and retirement funds.

All agencies including the General Fund and Sheriff’s Department are in line with the budget and have spent around half of their budget funds by this mid-point in the fiscal year which began October 1st. Underwood recommend an increase of $14,500 in the Coroner’s budget due to high cost for transportation for people who died from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission approved the financial reports, payment of claims and the budget amendment.

The Commission heard a report from County Engineer, Willie Branch, and approved his recommendations, including:

• Awarding a bid of $197,715 to ST Bunn Construction for Project No. RA-GCP 01-02-2022 for spot leveling and patch county roads.

• Awarding a bid of $549,735 to ST Bunn Construction for Project No. RA-GCP – 01 -01-2022 for patching multiple sections of CR 117,120 and 154.
• Approving a Memorandum of Agreement with ALDOT regarding federal exchange funds.

• Approving a proposal from JM Wood Auction for sale of equipment at the June action and declaring that equipment as surplus.

The Commission also acted on a request from Phillis Belcher, Executive Director of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority (GCIDA), agreeing to serve as a co-applicant for EDA, Infrastructure Appropriations and Broadband grants for 2022-2023, including a proposal to repair transportation network roads in the Crossroads of America Industrial Park and Port.

The Commission tabled a request from the GCIDA for improvements to its office building on the Courthouse Square, across from Eutaw City Hall. The GCIDA and the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce jointly lease this building, for a nominal amount, from the County Commission. Commission Chair Turner requested a meeting with the GCIDA and Chamber of Commerce to consider sharing the cost of these expenses for the building.

At the Special Meeting on March 31, 2022, the Commission adopted a resolution to ask its attorney Mike Parnell to request an opinion from the State Attorney General on the use of county facilities, like the Courthouse and Eutaw Activity Center for “political meetings”. In the public comments section of the meeting, John Zippert, Democrat Co-Publisher, asked why an AG’s opinion was needed for a practice of using public buildings for political meetings, that Greene County had been implementing for fifty years.

Attorney Parnell said that he wanted to be sure it was legal to use county-owner facilities for political meetings. Zippert asked if the decision would be available before the May 24th Primary Election. Parnell said he hoped to have the decision before the November general election.

All Commissioners were present either in person or on the phone for both meetings,
except that Commissioner Corey Cockrell was absent for both meetings.

 

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