County Commission approves budget for 2019-2020, with contingency; adopts resolution supporting Streetscape Project

The Greene County Commission met in a called session on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 to consider action on the county’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020, as well as action on the Streetscape Project, a collaborative with the City of Eutaw and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority.
The commission approved the proposed budget with a contingency. The basic General Fund portion of the budget totals expenses in the amount of $2,695,758.78 and revenue in the amount of $2,472,190.96. The General Fund budget will be balanced with resources from carry-overs from previous year/s. Approximately $223,567.82 will be taken from the fund balance, added to revenue to balance the budget.
Sheriff Jonathan Benison originally requested $2,062,875.20. The county’s expected resources in the general fund would only support $1,251,489.53 for the sheriff and jail, unless the sheriff provided the additional resources, which totaled $811,385.67.
The county’s CFO, Paula Bird, explained that the contingency budget approved does total an additional $811,385.67 in revenue and expenditure for the Sheriff’s Department and the jail, however, the contingency resources must be provided by the Sheriff’s bingo income and will be allocated toward his department’s budget expenditures.
The Commissioners approving the General Fund budget with the contingency budget included Tennyson Smith, Lester Brown and Allen Turner, Jr. Commissioners Corey Cockrell and Roshanda Summerville voted against the same.
CFO Bird stated that the contingency fund will be considered in the financial report as other sources and uses. She explained that the sheriff will be billed on a monthly basis for a portion of the contingency fund based on the percent of year completed.

The county’s General Fund Departmental Budget for expenditures, without the contingency component, is itemized as follows: Commission – $488,448.50; Court – $15,670; Youth Services – $1,800; Probate Judge – $254,845.36; Revenue Commissioner – $203,282.14; Election – $86,468.25; Board of Registrars – $65,964; Maintenance – $193,143.40; Sheriff – $686,324.83; Jail – $565,164.70; EMA/Homeland Security – $48,943.10; Coroner – $31,384.50; E911 – $30,000; Library – $20,320; Agency BOE – $4,000.
The county’s total expected revenue for the fiscal year is $7,583,539.39. The revenue sources include the General Fund – $2,472,190.96; Gasoline Fund – $2,699,817; Road & Bridge – $650,000; Highway & Traffic -$36,300; Capitol Improvement – $195,000; RRR Gas Tax – $882,830; Appraisal – $283,661.43; Solid Waste – $343,500; Sr. Citizen Fund – $15,960; Indigent Fund – $3,200; Motor Vehicle Training – $360; Motor Vehicle Tech – $720; The approved contingency fund is not included in this figure.
CFO Bird stated that the Commission allocates approximately 51% of the county’s general fund revenue to the Sheriff Department and the jail. “This is a practice, a tradition only, which occurs in most comparable counties in Alabama,” she noted. “In the past, the Commission has worked with me to come up with an operating budget that allows the county to have a surplus fund balance,” Bird said.

Streetscape Project

The County Commission approved a resolution supporting the Streetscape Project in conjunction with the City of Eutaw and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority, committing $70,000 to the project, which is in addition to the $10,000 previously paid by the county for engineering services on a related project. The Streetscape Project, provided with federal funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), administrated through the State of Alabama, will address the outer sidewalks around the Courthouse Square and street light in Eutaw. The estimated federal funds for the project are $640,000; estimated city funds, including the collaborative partners, are $160,000, with basic project cost at $800,000, which does not include engineering costs. The three collaborating agencies are paying the engineering costs as part of the local matching requirement. According to the contractual agreement with the state, this is also a cost reimbursement program and no federal funds will be provided to the city prior to accomplishment of the work for which it is requested.

Retiring Revenue Commissioner, Goree, presents final report to County Commission

The Greene County Commission met in regular session Monday, June 11, 2018 and approved the year-end report from outgoing Revenue Commissioner, Brenda Goree. Goree stated that the document pointed out some minor errors in her operations and appropriate adjustments would be made. She also noted that this would be her last year-end report to the commission, since she is leaving office by the end of June. Barbara McShan will assume the position on July 1, serving the remainder of Goree’s term, which expires in 2020. Goree requested her retirement in 2017 and it will go into effect on June 30.
In other business the commission acted on the following:
*Approved a contract with Alabama Department of Transportation for preliminary engineering for bridge replacement on County Road 69 over McConnico Creek, with ALDOT paying 80% and the county paying 20% of the cost.
* Approved ABC License for Green Track Side Plaza (Chevron Service Station).
* Approved the placement of two high school interns for the summer. Commissioner Cory Cockrell proposed this arrangement at the commission’s work session, wherein he will pay the students through Next Level Leaders non-profit organization.
* Approved hiring one part-time bus driver for the Eutaw Nutrition Site.
* Approved Blue Cross Blue Shield contract for 2018-2019.
* Approved request from Society of Folk Arts & Culture for access to the courthouse restrooms for the 2018 Black Belt Folk Roots Festival.
* Approved resolution to add lodging tax collection to services of RDS, which is the Revenue Discover System that collects various taxes for the county, including sales and use, and beer and tobacco taxes.
*Approved the clean-up and re-purposing of the Montgomery Recreational Center in the Knoxville Community.
*Approved staff travel to various workshops and training.
*Approved payment of claims and budget amendments presented by the county’s CFO, Paula Bird.
Bank balances as of May 18, 2018, reported by Ms. Bird included the following: Citizen Trust Bank – $2,787,828.27; Merchant & Farmers Bank – $2,616,703.76; Bank of New York – $918,088.04; CD Bond Sinking Fund – $805,753.35

County will sell surplus land to WestRock; addresses redistricting in Greene County

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Greene County Commission shown with two new vehicles for the County Highway Department. The vehicles are two 2018 F150 Crew Cabs 4×4 at purchase price of $28,650 each. Shown L to R: Commissioners Michael Williams, Tennyson Smith, Allen Turner, Jr.,and Lester Brown; County Engineer Willie Branch and Assistant Engineer John Ensley.

At its regular meeting held Jan. 8, 2018, the Greene County Commission agreed to sell a portion of surplus land to WestRock box plant in Eutaw. The commission is asking $30.000 for approximately 2.7 acres of land adjacent to the current WestRock property on Finches Ferry Road in Eutaw.
In an original plan, the County Commission deeded that parcel of land to the Greene County Industrial Board with the understanding that the IDA would lease the property to West Rock. Subsequently, West Rock determined that it was interested in purchasing same property to accommodate its expansion plans. The county’s plan to sell the property to West Rock will proceed once the IDA transfers the deed back to the county.
The commission voted to approve the County Registrars duties regarding the state’s redistricting and voter reassignment process for areas and voters affected by the new state legislative district lines. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States Census. The Alabama State Legislature is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines.
On May 24, 2012, the Republican-controlled legislature approved state legislative redistricting maps. Maps for both chambers were passed during a special session. It next went to Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for his signature, then to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance. The Justice Department cleared the state legislative maps on October 5, 2012. Various statewide organizations challenged the state’s redistricting lines up to the U.S. Supreme Court, but were unsuccessful.
According to the current legislative map, Greene County will fall in two State House Districts: D 71, Northwestern part of the county, (Rep. Artis McCampbell) and D 72, all other areas of the county (Rep. Ralph Howard). Greene County falls in only one State Senate District, D 24 (Senator Bobby Singleton).
Alabama’s House of Representatives is made up of 105 districts; Alabama’s State Senate is made up of 35 districts.
In other business the commission approved the following:
* Filling two employee positions in the Highway Department
* Accepting the resignation of one equipment operator and authorizing advertising to fill the position of Equipment operator.
* Travel request for employees as specified.
The Commission approved the various Committee Chair appointments as follows:
* Finance and Public Safety, Commissioner Tennyson Smith.
* Public Works and Health, Commissioner Michael Williams.
* Education and Social Concerns, Commissioner Lester Brown.
* Jobs and Industries, Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr.
* Personnel, Commissioner Corey Cockrell.
CFO, Paula Bird provided the following financial summaries as of December 17, 2017.
Total funds in Citizen Trust Bank was $2,476,161.54; total funds in Merchants & Farmers Bank was $1,961,067.02. Bond investments totaled $800,989.79, Bank of New holds $358,718.17