The Greene County Commission met in regular session, Monday, March 13, 2023 with all commissioners in attendance.
Prior to action on the agenda items, Commissioner Garria Spencer moved to amend the agenda, however, his motion failed since there was a motion on the floor to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Tennyson Smith moved and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville seconded. That motion to adopt the agenda as presented passed.
It was later learned that Commissioner Spencer’s amendment concerned the lease agreement between the county and Greene Entertainment Inc. The County Commission approved the original lease agreement at its February meeting, but the officials of Greene Entertainment Inc had concerns with a component of the agreement and had not signed the document. The commission took no further action in this regard at the meeting, however, following adjournment, seemingly, informal discussions continued.
The commission acted on the following agenda items:
* Approved replacing the roof at the public library.
* Approved advertising for a clerk for the Probate Judge’s office.
* Tabled the appointment to the IDA Board for District 1.
* Approved allowing the engineer to sell three dump trucks.
* Approved travel for the engineer and assistant engineer for class in Alexander City.
Approved amending the contract for closure of the landfill to include bonding for the contractor not to exceed $20,000, authorizing necessary signatures. The amendment also indicated the removal of taxes not applicable to the county, generating a saving of approximately $17,000.
CFO Macaroy Underwood presented the financial report indicating the following bank balances as of February 23, 2023. Citizen Trust Bank – 5,448,624.44 of which $3,385,804.55 is restricted; Merchants & Farmers Bank – $6,513,733.82 of which $3,127,929.27 is restricted; Bond Funds Investment – $877,979.73; Accounts payable including payroll transfer and fiduciary – $651,795.36; Electronic claims paid – $84,708.23. Underwood reported that in the General Fund Budget Recap, 66% of funds remained.
The commission approved the finance report, then realized that the payment of claims was not listed on the agenda. County Attorney Mark Parnell advised the commission to reconsider action on the finance report. A new motion was offered to accept the finance report including payment of claims. The motion carried.
The Greene County Commission opened its March 14, 2022 meeting with newly sworn-in Commissioner LaPorsha Brown representing District 1. Ms. Brown was appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to fill the unexpired tern of the late Mr. Lester Brown, LaPorsha’s father. LaPorsha was sworn in Friday, March 11 by Greene County District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne, and will serve until the new commissioner for District 1 is selected in the General Election in November. Ms. Brown also followed in her Father’s role as she was selected to serve as Vice Chairperson of the Commission. She received three votes for vice chair and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville received two votes. The commission approved option one relative to the Greenetrack settlement on past due rent to the county for use of its share of Greenetrack property. The settlement resolution calls for $800,000 to be paid to the county by Greenetrack in five annual installments of $160,000. The specific payment plan requires an annual payment of $260,000 with $160,000 toward repayment of past rent and $100,000 in current rent payment. This rental settlement is for two years followed by a renegotiation of the current rental payment amount only. The commissioners approved the settlement on a four to one vote with Commissioner Corey Cockrell voting no. Commission Chairperson, Allen Turner, stated that he has signed the Resolution agreement and now Greenetrack’s CEO and President, Luther Winn, must sign for it to go into effect. The county’s Roads Department capital funding project received unanimous approval by the commissioners as well as the Franchise Agreement with Charter Communications regarding broadband services in the county. At the work session held March 9, the commission was informed by Robert Smith Charter Communications that the federal government is financing the broad band in specific areas of Greene County. The franchise agreement is needed for the right-of-way, which will provide a 5% feee to the county when the project is operating. Once the network is in, it will be possible to extend the service to other areas of the county. The commission approved a Positive Pay arrangement for all bank accounts assuring that only listed checks will be paid. An Employee Association bank account, which was dormant with a minimal balance, will be closed with the funds to be deposited in the general fund account. The commission approved establishing a rainy day fund and a public works fund with $500,000 from bingo monies allocated to each fund. The commission also adopted a Fund Balance Policy requiring reserve funds. This policy was approved with four votes for; commissioner Corey Cockrell voted no. In the commission’s recent work session the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were discussed, noting that the county has $204,646.78 remaining and an additional $787,733.50 allocated. The commission approved a plan for expending these funds which include the following: Each commission district would be allocated up to $100,000 for qualified ARPA projects; $300,000 to the Highway Department; $150,000 for Essential Worker Pay; approximately $5,000 each to the Activity Center and the Highway Department for multi media upgrades; Approximately $10,000 each for Courthouse and Activity Center bathroom renovations. Remaining funds to be allocated later. The commission approved a request from the Greene County Board of Education for an agreement that the county will turn over to the board moneys from millage taxes already prescribed to the board. CSFO, Macaroy Underwood presented the commission an update on FY 2022 refunding bonds cited below.
County Refunds Bonds, Saving $336,000 Greene County Commission approved its Series 2022 Refunding Bonds in the par amount of $3,655,000 to refund its Series 2007 Bonds generating a savings of $336,316.81 or 8.72% savings. Several weeks ago, the county authorized Piper Sandler & Co. and finance to review current market conditions to determine if the county’s outstanding debt could be refunded (refinanced) at a lower interest rate to save more than 3%. This process is similar to refinancing your home mortgage and it leads to issuance of the County’s Series 2022 Refunding bonds reducing the county’s annual debt service payments by $50,000 per year from 2023 through 2037 (over the remaining life of the bonds). The annual debt service payments are secured by Road & Bridge Ad Valorem Tax and Capital Improvement fund revenue; therefore, the county will have additional funds for road projects over the next 14 years.
The Greene County Health System held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, October 24, 2019 for a newly renovated and equipped Emergency Room area in its Hospital facility.
Ollie Braggs, the first patient served by the Greene County Hospital on November 20, 1961, received the honor to cut the ribbon on the new area.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of the Greene County Health System thanked the people for taking time to attend the open house and ribbon cutting. She thanked the Greene Ladies, women’s auxiliary for their dedicated volunteer service, the staff, the Board of Directors, the GCHS Foundation and others in the community for their help and support. She also thanked members of the helicopter health transfer service who were present for their work and support.
John Zippert, Chair of the GCHS Board also thanked those in attendance, including three county commissioners – Tennyson Smith, Allen Turner and Roshanda Summerville for attending. He spoke about the GCHS services including the 20-bed hospital, 72 beds Nursing Home – Residential Care Center and the Physicians Clinic.
In relation to the ribbon cutting, Zippert stressed that “Our Emergency Room and services will help to stabilize you in case of an accident, stroke, heart attack or other injury. Come to our facility first, let us restore your vital signs, stop bleeding and decide what kind of additional care you need and send you on by ambulance or helicopter to another health care facility. Many people have come to our emergency facilities first; and had their lives saved so they could be transferred to other places.”
Zippert reminded the audience that there are many health care services available at and through GCHS, including Medicare 21 day recuperation at the end of a hospital stay, physical and occupational therapy, X-ray, CT-scan, lab testing and many others. “You have to speak up and ask to come back and use GCHS services even if you are somewhere else. The choice is yours. But if we do not use the services of our health system – then we will surely loose them.”
Zippert also suggested that supporters of the GCHS need to be pushing the Governor and their legislators to approve Medicaid Expansion, to provide health insurance for the working poor. “Expanding Medicaid would do a lot to improve the financial outlook of our small rural hospital and many others around the state,” he said.
Ms. Braggs said she was a 16 year old first time mother trying to give birth at home in Boligee, with the aid of a midwife when complications developed. Dr. Bethany’s wife came to check on her and she got her husband Dr. Bethany and Dr. Joe P. Smith to admit her to the newly constructed Greene County Hospital in November of 1961 She gave birth to her son, Hubert Lewis, on November 20, 1961 and they were the first patients and baby born in the facility. Dr. William Fredericks assisted in the birth.
GCHS presented Ms. Braggs with a fruit basket in recognition of her place in the history of the facility. The newly renovated Emergency Room suite consists of four rooms on a corridor, equipped with ‘crash carts’ and other medical devices and supplies. The area is interconnected with X-ray, the CT scanner, laboratory and other diagnostic tools to help determine your health status.