Eutaw City Council approves roof
for National Guard Armory

At its first regular meeting for 2023, on January 10th, the Eutaw City Council approved a $45,000 contract with PM Roofing to replace the roof on the former National Guard Armory facility on Mesopotamia Street.
Mayor Latasha Johnson said, “We must fix this roof as a first step to saving this important building for use as a meeting and event facility for the City of Eutaw. It is currently raining in the building because the roof leaks. We need to save this building for the people of Eutaw.” On a roll call vote, the contract was approved unanimously 6-0 by the City Council.
The Eutaw City Council also approved a renewal of their agreement with Mason and Gardner CPA’s for payroll and other accounting services for the current year. The Council also approved a resolution declaring two police vehicles, a 2019 Silverado Chevrolet truck and a 2013 Chevrolet Caprice, as surplus, so they can be sold.
The Council also received a copy of a letter to the Greene County Water and Sewer Authority setting out a charge for water from the city water system. “We have provided water to the county at no charge, but in the future, we will have to charge for water, based on the volume they use. This is all part of our program to revitalize and improve the Eutaw-Boligee Water System,” said Corey Martin, Eutaw Water System Operator.
The Council also received and approved a resolution consenting to the purchase of Sky Cable, a local television provider, by Charter Communications. Charter also assumed the franchise rights of the cable company. Knowledgeable observers feel this move is related to Charter’s announced plans to provide broadband services in Greene County.The Council approved a series of travel and per diem requests for the council members and staff to attend various training sessions in the coming months including the Alabama League of Municipalities Annual Convention on May 10-13, 2023, in Birmingham.
William Smith, new Assistant Chief of the Eutaw Police Department was introduced to the Council and the public.
The City Council approved payment of bills and claims for the month of December. Ralph Liverman, City financial adviser gave the Council a partial financial report and said more details would be available at the next meeting. He also informed the Council that the annual payment of $102,218 had been made to USDA Rural Development for the loan for water system improvements.
Mayor Johnson announced several upcoming meetings to review the plans for the Eutaw-Boligee Water and Sewer System. There will be a Special City Council meeting to review and approve the plans on January 17, 2023; there will also be two public meetings on February 7 at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM at Eutaw City Hall for the public to review and comment on the plans. These meeting are advertised in more detail in other parts of this newspaper.
A letter from Chris Jones, Executive Director of the Greene County Emergency Medical Services, was read praising the city for its work to clean up the streets and neighborhoods after the recent tornado. Jones said the city helped make the streets passable for emergency vehicles, like those of the ambulance service.

Greene County Commission agrees to
settlement of lawsuits with Greenetrack

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

At its February 14 regular meeting, the Greene County Commission passed a resolution agreeing to settle two long-running lawsuits with Greenetrack, which had clouded the county’s financial position.

The first lawsuit concerned the Commission’s lease payment for its undivided half of ownership of the Greenetrack property and facility. When Bear Bryant Jr.’s corporation left Greenetrack, he gave the ownership, half to the County Commission and half to the employees of Greenetrack.

Greenetrack set up a lease agreement under which it was paying $150,000 a year to the Greene County Commission. Luther Winn, CEO of Greenetrack said, “Because the Commission was experiencing financial difficulties, we voluntarily increased our payment to $250,000 a year.”

The lease agreement ended in 2012 and the Commission decided not to cash the 2013 lease payment check of $250,000 with Greenetrack, because Nick Underwood, Commission Chair at that time, wanted to renegotiate the lease and increase the amount. The 2013 check was never cashed and the dispute led to the Commission filling a lawsuit against Greenetrack.

The settlement, which was negotiated by Allen Turner, Chair and the late Lester Brown, Vice-Chair, provided that the County would be paid $100,000 a year in back rent, for eight years 2013-2021. This $800,000 would be paid in five yearly installments of $160,000. A new lease for two years, beginning on March 1, 2022, with an automatic one-year extension, would be at $100,000 per year.

If there are less than 5 gaming entities in the county, at the end of the lease period, the annual rental would increase to $175,000; if there are more than 5 gaming entities, the rental would decline to $50,000 annually; if there are 5 gaming entities the annual rent would remain at $100,000.

The settlement stipulated that the joint property owned by Greene County Commission and Greenetrack was the total 53.128 acres where the racing, gaming and collateral facilities and land are located.

The settlement also settled another lawsuit by Greenetrack against the Commission concerning operation and maintenance of the sewage lagoon on the property. The Commission had escrowed $160,000 in fees for the lagoon, which will be released to the Greene County Water and Sewage Authority on March 1, 2022.

This lawsuit settlement was first presented to the Greene County Commission at a Special Call Meeting on January 24, 2022.
The meeting was attended by three commissioners, Chair Allen Turner, Tennyson Smith and Corey Cockrell. Commissioner Brown had passed and Commissioner Summerville was absent. Smith moved approval of the settlement but Cockrell would not second the motion and said that he did not agree to the settlement because it favored Greenetrack.

At the recent January 24th meeting, all four commissioners voted for the settlement, which will now go forward.

The Commission agreed to reopen the Senior Citizens Feeding Program at sites at the Eutaw Activity Center and Forkland City Hall as of March 1. The centers had been closed due to COVID-19. The Commission also agreed to re-open the Eutaw Activity Center for other activities as of the same date.

The Commission passed a resolution to be sent to the Governor, Legislative delegation and the family to name LaPorsha Brown, to fill out the remaining months of her father’s term, representing District 1 on the Greene County Commission.

In other actions, the Greene County Commission:

• Approved the 2022 AC County licenses levy and approved a license for Christopher Atkins.

• Approved accepting low bid from West Alabama Fencing for $38,840 for fencing on roadways.

• Approved the financial report and paid outstanding claims. The report showed $4.610,952 I Citizens Trust Bank, $4.895.174 in Merchants and Farmers Bank and $1,098,699 in bond sinking funds in the Bank of New York.

• Approved advertising of available positions in the Highway Department; and travel for staff to training conferences.

• Re-appointed Shirley Edwards to the Greene County Health System Board of Directors.

The Commission tabled action on the use of American Rescue Act funds, action on a franchise agreement letter From Charter Communications concerning broadband in parts of the county; and appointment of two hospital board members from District 2.