Annual Industry Appreciation luncheon provides information on workforce training and the 2020 Census

Kinya Isaac standing speaking about Census 2020 and Scarlet Pearce, Demoplis Career Center seated both spoke at GCIDA Annual Business and Industry Appreciation Luncheon.

The Greene County Industrial Development Authority (GCIDA) held its Annual Business and Industry Appreciation luncheon, last Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at Ruby’s Restaurant in Eutaw.
Phillis Belcher, GCIDA Executive Director said, “We hold this annual event to honor our existing industries and major employers in Greene County. The GCIDA sees its mission as serving existing business to improve their operations and helping to attract and develop new industries and businesses to start operations in our area.”
The crowd of about 40 people heard from two valuable luncheon speakers who brought relevant information on topics of interest to business and community leaders.Scarlet Pearce of the Demopolis Career Center, which is part of the national and state Department of Labor, spoke of opportunities provided by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the nation’s workforce training legislation.
“Employers can seeking on-the-job training support, workforce training positions, apprenticeship opportunities by contacting the Alabama Career Center. We are in Workforce Region 3, which covers much of the Alabama Black Belt area. We have a budget of $6 million dollars annually for workforce development initiatives,” said Pearce.
“People looking for work or education and training to upgrade their work skills should visit the Career Center at 1074 Bailey Drive in Demopolis, Alabama, to get information, advice and assistance in seeking employment,” said Pearce.
Kinya Isaac, regional representative for the 2020 U. S. Census in Greene, Sumter and Pickens counties, spoke about the upcoming U. S. Census to be held 0n April 1, 2020. “We need to be sure to count every single person in the Census. The population count by the Census will determine allocation of many Federal and state resources. The Census will also be used to reapportion voters in Congressional and Legislative Districts for the coming decade. Alabama could possibly loose one of its seven Congressional seats if all the people are not counted in this upcoming Census,” said Isaac.
Issac pointed out that sections of Greene County are shown on the Census map as having an under-count in the 2010 Census. “We need to be sure to count everyone, especially people who live in these areas for the 2020 Census. Any assistance that businesses and industries can provide would help Greene County overall,” said Isaac.
Danny Cooper, Chair of the GCIDA thanked people for attending the luncheon and encouraged them to seek assistance from the GCIDA when they needed help in starting or expanding their businesses. The GCIDA office is located on the Thomas Gilmore Courthouse Square, in a building across from City Hall. The phone number is 205-372-9769.

Photo above shows Milton Merritt in Roll Tide shirt, Jerrie Merritt in green shirt next to her parents Eloise and Howard Crawford. They are surrounded by family and friends.Attorney Joshua Swords sworn in as Eutaw Municipal Judge Eutaw City Council and Mayor reach agreement to go forward with TAP-Streetscape Grant after prodding from citizens

Attorney Joshua Swords is sworn in as City of Eutaw Municipal Court Judge by Tuscaloosa Circuit Judge John H. England, Jr. at a special ceremony held in the William M. Branch Courthouse on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Standing with Attorney Swords are his wife Kim and son Joshua, Jr. The Swords also have a daughter, Caroline. Swords has been a practicing attorney since 2004 in Tuscaloosa and opened a second office in Eutaw in 2016.

By: John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

At its March 12, 2019 meeting the Eutaw City Council and Mayor agreed to move forward with the TAP Streetscape Grant to beautify the sidewalks, street lights and some green-spaces around the Old Courthouse Square, in the center of the city.
This issue had deadlocked the Mayor and Council for the two regular meetings in February, which surfaced concerns between the Council and the Mayor on the finances of the city, limiting the hours of staff, availability of working equipment to maintain the streets and other points of disagreement.

The TAP grant involves $640,000 of funds from the Alabama Department of Transportation to redo the external sidewalks, provide new lighting and some green-spaces on the Courthouse Square, named for Sheriff Thomas Gilmore. The Eutaw City Hall, the Greene County Courthouse, the Industrial Development Authority and other county agencies have offices in the impacted area, which is the center of downtown Eutaw and the business and civic center of Greene County.
The grant requires a match of $220,000 from the city or others including $160,000 in direct matching funds and $60,000 for engineering costs. In the two February meetings, the Council postponed action on accepting the grant because of their lack of knowledge of the city finances and concern that funds were not available to match this grant.
In its February 19, 2019 meeting the Greene County Industrial Development Authority (GCIDA) agreed to provide at least a third of the $220,000 matching funds and help raise the remainder of the needed funds because of the critical benefits of the project, the GCIDA’s office location on the Square and the overall message of progress and receptivity for change that the project represents. The GCIDA has been meeting informally with officials from the City of Eutaw, the Greene County Commission and others to help find the needed matching funds.
The Eutaw Downtown Planning Committee a multi- generational, interracial group of Eutaw citizens that have been working to improve the downtown areas and the Courthouse Square presented a letter at the March 12 Eutaw City Council urging action on the TAP/Streetscape Grant. Danny Cooper who works with the Committee and also serves as Chair of the GCIDA read the letter aloud in the Council meeting.
Councilwoman Latasha Johnson asked the Mayor what had he done to meet the Council concerns that the city workers be brought back to working 40 hours, to secure proper equipment to maintain the streets and provide an audit and a budget of city finances. Johnson said, “City workers are picking up trash with pitchforks. We cannot maintain the streets after the grant without proper equipment.”
Mayor Steele indicated that he had agreed for city workers to come back to work for 40 hours as of March 15. The Mayor said he was seeking funding through USDA Rural Development for new police cars, a street excavator, trucks and other equipment. The USDA grant requires an audit of city funds for the past years, so the Mayor has secured a CPA in Tuscaloosa to provide the necessary audit. Using information from the audit, the Mayor said he could do a budget projecting the income and expenses of the city and satisfying the Council’s request for a budget. The budget would allow the City to determine which new expenses, including matching the TAP grant, that it could afford in the future.
Based on the Mayor’s assurances, Councilwoman Johnson moved “that the City proceed to do the engineering for the TAP project, based on the funds offered by the GCIDA, and continue to evaluate the viability of the project based on continued progress toward the concerns raised by the Council.” This motion was approved 3-1-1 with Johnson, Joe Lee Powell and the Mayor voting in favor; Sheila Smith voting against and LaJeffrey Carpenter abstaining; Bennie Abrams was absent.
The vote allows the Mayor to move forward with engineering needed for the Streetscape project while the Council holds him accountable for changes that he promised.
In other actions, the Council approved the following items over the past three meetings:
• Approved ‘Back to School’ Sales Tax Holiday for July 19-21, 2019.

• Approved proclamation designing April as Fair Housing Month.

• Approved expenditure of $9,000 for speed bumps on the newly improved Branch Heights roads, for safety of children and residents.

• Supports Memorandum of Understanding with the Community Services Programs of West Alabama, to distribute food and other services to Eutaw residents.

• Approved contract with RDS to collect sales taxes and business license fees.

• Approved ordinance to declare building adjacent to the National Guard Armory surplus, so that it can be used for other purposes.

• Approved letter to State Legislative Delegation in support of Sunday liquor sales in the City of Eutaw.

Industrial development delegation visits Crossroads of America Industrial Park at Boligee to review feasibility for Waste to Energy Plant

IDA .jpg

Visiting delegation review feasibility of Crossroads of America Industrial Park for waste-to-energy project: (L to R) a member of the Greene Co. Water Authority staff, Ralph Banks III, Treasurer of GCIDA, Rev. James Carter, GCIDA, Vincent Atkins, Greene County Water Authority, Mayor Louis Harper of Boligee, Dr. Ellsworth James, consultant to project, Dr. John Wu, Chairman, JMC Renewable Energy Systems, Dao Xian Feng, JMC Senior Boiler Engineer, Danny Cooper, Chair of GCIDA, Jian Tu, JMC Project Manager, Ying Hua Deng, Senior Electrical Engineer and Christopher Wu, Board Secretary for JMC.

A delegation of representatives from JMC Renewable Energy Solutions visited the Crossroads of America Industrial Park at Boligee in late December 2017, to review the feasibility of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority’s site for a potential industry. The delegation also met with GCIDA Board members, Mayor Harper of Boligee, the Greene County Water Authority and others to discuss the potential of this renewal energy project.
JMC Renewable Energy Solutions, Inc. specializes in designing, developing and operating custom renewable energy and infrastructure solutions. JMC’s goal is to reduce the carbon footprint resulting from MSW and GHG through energy recovery and sustainable infrastructure development.

JMC is partnering with the Chinese Machinery and Equipment Corporation, an eight billion dollar publicly-traded infrastructural conglomerate, which designed, financed and constructed super projects in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The first project in the United States is a partnership with JMC Renewable Energy Solutions Inc., a Mississippi Corporation. CMEC will provide the engineering, design, and financing for the Mississippi project. JMC has put together competent local management teams in each region where renewable energy projects are planned. Current projects are planned for Bolivar County, Mississippi and Greene County, Alabama.
The proposed Greene county project is a state of the art Waste-to-Energy plant that converts all municipal solid waste – household garbage – into electricity, with no harmful emissions released in the air or toxins into the land and groundwater.
The Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plant currently under evaluation utilizes an advanced technology that converts trash to electricity and will sell the energy to the regional power grid. The plant will provide a constant supply of energy to the grid, 24-7.
The new WTE plant will reduce input to landfills and eliminate nearly 100% of toxic methane gas, the most harmful of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere. The residual 3% is an abrasive material that can be sold to landfills to absorb landfill emissions and odor, or used to make asphalt.
The WTE plant will also reduce the demand for local landfills that contaminate the land and groundwater, reduce the harmful greenhouse gases being released in the atmosphere, and convert the steam produced to generate low-cost, clean electricity.
The particular system under review is a proven technology currently used the SWA’s Renewable Energy Faciity 2 in West Palm Beach Florida. At capacity, REF 2 will process more than 1 million tons (907,200,000 kg) of post-recycled municipal solid waste annually and 3,000 tons a daily – more than 660 curbside trucks worth of trash every day!
Once fully operational, the communities in the Alabama Black Belt, that participate in the project will receive direct financial benefits by:
•reducing costly municipal expenses for garbage transport to the landfill and energy expenses for residential and business customer; and
•generating revenue sharing opportunities to communities sending their municipal solid waste to the WTE plant.
By reducing expenses and adding revenue to local municipal budgets, the communities have the potential to strengthen their financial positions. With the planned revenue, Black Belt communities can develop new long-term project plans and budgets, for desperately-needed infrastructure repairs, housing and commercial developments, all of which will provide employment opportunities for area residents.
If you would like more information about this project, please contact David Hannans at geg@gatewayenergy.co.

 

Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Greene County High School Community-wide kickoff to be held for AIDT Mobile Training Unit to prepare Greene County residents for employment

Greene County and West Alabama Works are hosting an AIDT Mobile Training Unit at Greene County High School/Greene County Career Center, located at 14223 U.S. Highway 11 South in Eutaw, Alabama.
The mobile unit will be available to community members for the next 3 months for the purposes of holding Ready-to-Work (RTW) job preparation classes, resume building, GED classes, computer classes, and C.N.A. certification.
A kick-off, open to the public, is to be held Tuesday, October 17, 2017 from 6-7:30 PM at the high school. The kick-off is designed to educate the community beyond high school and enable community members to qualify for available career opportunities.
The Region 3 Workforce Development Council, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, formed West Alabama Works to lead workforce development efforts throughout West Alabama. The regional workforce development system facilitates and implements a comprehensive, coordinated, seamless workforce development system for the region and supports workforce training activities
In the development of this mobile training unit, West Alabama Works is partnering with the University of West Alabama, Greene County Industrial Development Authority, Greene County Board of Education, Greene County Commission, Shelton State Community College, and AIDT to meet community needs. As Gary Nichols, Chairman of the West Alabama Works Steering Committee notes, “This will help individuals in the region prepare for new and existing job opportunities. We’re here to generate meaningful results.”
Tennyson Smith, Chair of the Greene County Commission said, “The Commission is pleased to support this workforce effort to provide greater employment opportunities to Greene County residents.”

Danny Cooper, Chair of the Greene County IDA, stated, “ We are very supportive of this West Alabama Works program which will assess the skills and qualifications of Greene County citizens. It will help them to better prepare for employment opportunities to be developed in our communities and for jobs that are currently available in our wider area.”
Area employers are looking to hire individuals who have successfully completed the Ready-to-Work curriculum, as it proves individuals have mastered essential soft skills for workplace success and have a skill level desirable to business and industry.
Donny Jones, Chief Operating Officer for the Chamber and Director of West Alabama Works commented, “Ready to Work programs are part of our efforts in connecting residents with high demand employment opportunities and training that will revitalize local communities. Not only will this assist people in becoming more employable, this project will enable us to fill workforce needs in rapidly advancing sectors.”
To pre-register, call 205-372-9974. Commitment to attend classes is required of participants.