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.

Community rallies behind Greene County
ambulance services (EMS)

In the past four months, since mid-May, the Greene County Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) has made major progress with solid support from the Greene County community.
GEMS has secured funding for two new ambulances; moved to a new office, across from the Greene County Hospital; hired a new director and staff; secured a new billing agency and higher reimbursement rates from Medicare and insurance providers; and with the help of supporters was able to raise its basic operating budget.
At its May 23, 2022, meeting the board selected Chris Jones as its new director and asked the Greene County Commission, City of Eutaw, Towns of Boligee, Union and Forkland, the Sheriff, as well as other agencies and businesses to help save and support the county’s ambulance service.
This meeting was held after the prior director informed the state that the GEMS service was closing, and he resigned. The board wrote the state to rescind his letter and started to rebuild.
Prior to the May board meeting, the Greene County Commission pledged $125,000 in American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward acquisition of a new truck engine and chassis to mount and renovate the service’s existing ambulance box. The service secured a loaner ambulance until the newly refurbished ambulance is delivered later this year.
At its September 13, 2022, meeting, the Eutaw City Council approved a contribution of $26,000, of its ARPA funding as matching funds to acquire a second ambulance and stretcher from the Alabama Council on Emergency Medical Services. Joe Lee Powell, Chair of the GEMS Board says, “We will soon have two working ambulances that we need to provide services to the residents and visitors of Greene County.” The Eutaw City Council previously used $62,000 of CARES funds to provide lifesaving equipment to the service.
Chris Jones, GEMS Director, put together a plan asking the Commission and municipalities to help cover the $40,000 monthly payroll of the ambulance service for three months while a new billing agency was brought onboard and up to speed to provide the operating revenues for the system.
The Greene County Commission approved three months of operating support at $18,356 a month – a total of $55,068. The City of Eutaw has provided $36,000 in operating support since the beginning of 2022. The Town of Boligee has contributed $10,000 in support this year, including $1,500 a month, pledged for the three-month period. The Town of Union has also pledged support. Sheriff Benison from bingo funds has contributed $65,000 and pledged $8,500 a month for the three-month special operating fund campaign.
The Greene County Health System has provided a house across the street from the hospital as an office and staging area for the ambulance staff including showers, kitchen and sleeping facilities. The GCHS Board agreed to provide seven months rent at $550 a month, from June through December 2022 as a $3,850 contribution to the ambulance service operating budget.
The Greene County Industrial Development Authority contributed $5,000 towards the ambulance service. Danny Cooper, GCIDA Chair said, “You never know when you will need an ambulance – so we must support our emergency service. We must have a functional ambulance service to assist businesses and industries that may have on-the-job accidents and injuries, needing ambulance services.”
The RockTenn Corporation, owners of the Eutaw box plant have given $5,000 toward the GEMS operating budget and other businesses in the county are expected to follow this example. The services has received other small contributions from individuals.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, vice chairperson of the GEMS board and Hospital CEO, said “We are grateful to the agencies, businesses, and people of the community for coming forward to help us stabilize and support our ambulance service. We are determined to have an emergency service that can serve the people spread around our rural county. We may need continued assistance to provide timely and quality ambulance services.”