Bingo facilities distribute $367,525 for month of May

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Shown above Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson, Brenda Burke representing the Greene County Commission, Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Greene County Health System CEO, Dr. Marcia Pugh, Assistance Chief Walter Beck, Probate Judge Julia Spree and Boligee Councilwoman Earnestine Wade.

 

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Greene County Sheriff Department reported a total distribution of $367,525 for the month of May from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
The following assessments are for the month of May 2018.

Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, Greene County Health System, $7,500.
River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $73,225 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, and the Greene County Health System, $13,225.
Palace (Tommy Summerville Police Support League) gave a total of $99,330 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,930; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Health System, $11,550.

 

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

Greene County Commission holds April meeting

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Shown L to R: Commissioners Corey Cockrell and Michael Williams, Chief Jeremy Rancher, Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Officer Denise Armstead, Commissioners Tennyson Smith, Allen Turner and Lester Brown

The Greene County Commission held its regular April meeting on Monday, April 9, 2018 at the William M. Branch County Courthouse in Eutaw. The meeting was relatively routine and uneventful with not apparent controversies.
Paula Byrd, the County’s Chief Financial Officer gave a financial report for the county. Her report showed a total of $5,199,690 in bank accounts as of March 31, 2018, including $2.945,469 in Citizens Trust Bank and $2,254,221 in Merchants and Farmers Bank. The county has another $ 1 million in bond funds in various accounts.

Byrd reported that half of the fiscal year had passed since October 1, 2017 and most county agencies had spent 50% of their budgeted funds, which is generally in line with the forecasted expenses. Overall county agencies spent $1,650,745 (50%) of the $3,327,528 budgeted for this fiscal year.
The Commission approved $667,743 in claims paid in March including payroll and bills for supplies. $55,579 in automatic payments for various services was also paid during the month.
The Commission members and Sheriff Joe Nathan Benison and Chief Deputy Jeremy Rancher presented a certificate to Denise Armstead for completion of a course in operation and management of a jail from the State Department of Corrections. Ms. Armstead is employed at the Greene County Jail.
In other business, the Greene County Commission, also approved:
• a Sales Tax Holiday for Back to School items on July 20-22, 2108;
• use of the Courthouse restrooms for the Greene County Health System Foundation for a health fair at the Courthouse Square on May 12, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM;
• the County Engineer to hold a public hearing in regards to vacating County Road 128;
• the County Engineer vacating of an un-named road leading to Johnson Hill Cemetery; and
• travel for an Appraisal Department Employee for state training in Hoover, Alabama on April 9-13, 2018.
The Commission went into an Executive Session to discuss legal strategy and the good name and character of a person. The Commission returned from the Executive Session and said there was no official business to decide whereupon the meeting was adjourned.
In the public comments section, Iris Sermon, Director of 911 reported that the third week in April was National Radio Dispatchers Week and asked the Commissioners and the public to thank people who worked in these capacities for the county.
At the Commission’s work session, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, several commissioners expressed interest in raising ad valorem millage to assist the Greene County Health Services (hospital) as well as millage for the county’s highway department. Commissioner Allen Turner expressed a strong position in support of generating millage funds restricted for roads, bridges and other infrastructure improvements. No further action was taken in this regard.

Commission approves $85,000 for engineering work on County Road 69

In its monthly meeting held Monday, March 12, 2018, the Greene County Commission authorized preliminary engineering work to begin on the bridge on County Road 69 with an investment not to exceed $85,000. At the previous commission work session, county engineer Willie Branch informed the body that this particular bridge has to be inspected every month and warrants this engineering work to begin to replace the bridge. The school bus cannot travel this bridge as it is. The bridge is currently posted at 3 tons.
The commission also gave its approval for the county engineer to sell all surplus equipment and/or surplus supplies.
Opening advertisement for a part-time position in the Solid Waste Department was approved following the commission accepting an employee’s resignation from that position.
The commission acted on the following:
Approved having a public hearing on vacating a portion of Outland Road from the end of the pavement at the railroad to the North Gloria Street property line.Approved various staff travel requests for continuing professional development.
In her financial report, CFO Paula Bird gave the various bank balances as of Feb. 18 as follows: Citizen Trust Bank, $3,109,438.69; Merchants & Farmers Bank, $2,157,243.70; Bank of New York, $363,933.28; total CD investments, $802,978.18. She noted that the Coroner’s office was over the amount budgeted for transportation, noting that it is difficult to estimate what will be needed for a given year. Bird also stated that the Sheriff paid $3,272.95 to cover overtime for his personnel.

County Commission extends date for solid waste fee exemption

At its regular meeting held Monday, February 12, 2018, the Greene County Commission extended the date for residents to apply for exemption of payment for solid waste pick-up services. The application period is extended for one month through March 12 for eligible county residents. According to County Engineer, Willie Branch, to be considered for exemption, social security must be the only income in the household. Branch noted that the applicant must also have a zero balance regarding county solid waste services.
The commission approved the revised resource officers contract which assigns four officers to various schools in the county. The contract only allows for the officers to be retained when schools are in session with students. The resource officers are secured through the sheriff’s office but their compensation is provided by the Greene County Board of Education.
In other business, the commission approved the following:
* Levy of taxes for 2018.
* Levy of ABC license fees for 2018.
* E911’s request to name a new road off Plum Lane as Rattle Snake Bend.

* Allowing EMA to accept equipment for the state agency.
* Agreement between DHR and EMA to provide Mass Care Operation during times of natural disaster.
* Ratified travel of jail administrator and assistant regarding Trade Show in Biloxi, MS, Feb. 6-7.
Travel request for various conferences, workshops and training.
In the financial report, CFO Paula Bird stated the following bank balances as of January 18: Citizen Trust $3,173,791.41; Merchant & Farmers $2,068,452.09; Bank of New York $619,178.37; total CD investments $801,989.79.
Regarding budget amendments, Bird noted that Sheriff Benison has provided additional funds to the county for his department’s overtime.
The commission tabled two agenda items: consideration of a resolution renaming U.S. Highway 43 in honor of Thomas Gilmore; appointment to the Water Authority.

 

County Commission approves submitting proposal to purchase Carver School facility

At the regular monthly meeting of the Greene County Commission, held Monday, December 11, 2017, the body voted 3-2 to authorize the chairman to negotiate details of an offer to purchase the former Carver School property from the Greene County Board of Education.
The first dissenting voice came from Commissioner Corey Cockrell who questioned why would the commission want to consider purchasing Carver School now. According to Cockrell, the commission had had previous discussions on the property but had taken no action toward purchase.
Commissioner Allen Turner stated that the county had a long list of projects and needs that should be addressed instead of purchasing a building that brings with it additional obligations. Both Cockrell and Turner stated that the City of Eutaw has submitted a request with a plan to purchase Carver and it seems that the county is trying to undercut the city.
Commissioner Lester Brown spoke in support of the county’s securing Carver School. He stated that there are numerous projects that the county could house in that facility including Parks & Recreation, Senior Citizens Programs, Summer Feeding, Veterans Programs and others.
Commissioner Michael Williams, who also supported the county’s move to acquire Carver, noted that the Carver facility could allow the county to sponsor various training programs and workshops that would benefit employees and the community.
Rev. Michael Barton, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Forkland, was present and seemed to be the spokesperson for many in the audience who opposed the County Commission’s efforts to acquire Carver Middle School. Many of those in the audience were among his parishioners.
It should also be noted that Mayor Raymond Steele of Eutaw, proposed Rev. Barton to be employed by the City as Recreational Coordinator, if the City’s proposal for the school facilities is accepted by the Board of Education. Steele proposed employing Rev. Barton at the November 14 City Council meeting but withdrew the proposal before a vote since Eutaw Council members were reluctant to vote on staffing before the facilities had been secured.

Many in the audience echoed the sentiments of Commissioners Cockrell and Turner which were in favor of Eutaw purchasing Carver School, however Carl Davis suggested that the county and city come together and devise a plan for joint purchase.
It should be noted that a purchase by the city is for the city; whereas the county would be obligated to serve all of Greene County.
The commission voted to allow the Coroner to establish an office in the space above the Law Library, where the Society of Folk Arts & Culture currently stores it equipment and artifacts related to the production of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival. The county is obligated to provide suitable work space for the Coroner.
In a previous conversation, Commission Chairperson Tennyson Smith stated he would work with the Society in securing suitable space for the festival equipment.
In other business the commission acted on the following:
* Approved RDS to collect lodging taxes and authorize chairman to sign necessary documents.
* Approved vacating un-named road off CR 203 with attorney filing necessary papers with Judge of Probate.
* Approved to consider agreement with JM Woods for sale of three dump trucks for June action.
* Tabled filling two vacant equipment operator positions.
* Approved joining lawsuit in regards to the Opioid epidemic and authorize Chairman to sign all necessary documents.

Approved travel for Probate Judge, Chief Clerk – Jan 16-19 in Montgomery.
Approved financial report and payment of claims as presented by CFO Paula Bird.
The CFO’s financial report included the following:Total Fund Balance as of Nov. 17, 2017, was $2,191,254.71. Total funds in banks – $4,061,096.44; total investments – $800,180.54; total ion Bank of New York – $358,521.42. Accounts payable totaled $500,574.95; Payroll Transfers totaled $242,520.89; Other Transfers totaled $71,398.97; Fiduciary $144,908; Total – $959,402.81.

West Alabama Works holds meeting to open AIDT Training Trailer at Greene Co. High School

JOB  Fair.jpgOver 150 mostly young people attended Tuesday night’s kick-off meeting for the AIDT Training Trailer, located at 14223 U. Highway 11 South, in front of the Greene County High School.
People were present to register and sign-up for classes and training to prepare for work in Greene County and surrounding counties in the West Alabama Black Belt.

Classes will be provided for Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) for entry-level work in the healthcare field. Classes will also be available for GED studies leading to a high school equivalency; Ready To Work training and certification in “work keys” which will lead to employment in the growing Alabama automotive industry; computer skills and other skill areas.
Donny Jones, Chief Operating Officer for the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and Director of West Alabama Works, said the AIDT Training Trailer will be in Greene County for the next three months, “to provide free testing and training for local residents who are willing to commit their time to acquire new skills and certification. At the end of this process, there are real jobs in the area but employers want to know if you have the skills and attitudes to fill and keep these jobs.”
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime and the chance to transform families and change communities. We are building a career connect system to provide you the entry level skills and credentials you need to work in the future business and industry” said Jones.
Jones explained that the Ready to Work program provides soft skills for people, interested in working in Alabama. These soft skills include team building, attitudes toward coming to work consistently and on-time, safety including avoiding drugs and alcohol on the job, basic math, precision measurement and other skills. People who faithfully attend this five-week program receive certification that they can present to employers when seeking a job.
The CNA training for the healthcare field will be an eight-week training leading to basic certification to work in nursing homes, hospitals and other health care facilities.
Persons attending the kick-off were able to register with West Alabama Works about their interest in training. They will be called back for more in depth testing and a recommended training curriculum to meet their specific needs. Persons who missed the kick-off can still register at: www.westalabamaworks.org or come by the AIDT trailer on Highway 11 at the Greene County High School.
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.”

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.

 

County buys new trucks; adjusts for voter registrars pay raise; imposes security deposit for Activity Center

The Greene County Commission, at its regular meeting held Monday, August 14, 2017, acted on various items carried over and placed on the agenda from the work session discussions of the previous week. The commission approved paying off an existing loan at Citizen Trust Bank on a garbage truck and beginning the process to acquire a loan to purchase a new garbage truck as well a new pick-up truck.
In addition to its current fee schedule for use of the Eutaw Activity Center, the commission approved imposing a security deposit of $150 which will be refunded to renter providing no damage has occurred during use.
As part of her budget amendments report, CFO Paula Bird informed the commission of an adjustment relative to the state mandated raise for County Voter Registrars.
In 2016 the Alabama Legislature raised the pay rate for registrars from $60 per day to $80 per day with maximum number of days for each registrar not to exceed 120 per year.

Following conclusion of required advertisement, the commission approved hiring a person in the solid waste division. Engineer Willie Branch oversees that process.
The commission approved a credit card policy which was adopted from basic policy drafts available through the Alabama Association of County Commissions.
Other actions approved by the commission included the following.
* Hiring a temporary driver for the Eutaw Nutrition Site.
* Providing access to courthouse restrooms during the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival.
* Purchasing items for the shop ($69,500) and equipment repairs ($5,000) from General Fund bingo funds and amending budget to reflect approved expenditures.
* Material agreement with Archie Bird, LLC.
* Developing a pit on County Road 117, providing basic standards are met.
* CD investment in amount of $110,416.41 with Robertson Banking Co., highest bidder.
* Budget amendment for expenditure for RSA retired members one time lump sum payment, funded from 2007 Bond Warrant.
* Renewed contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama; S&W – Revenue/Appraisal; TriState-Appraisal; Delta Software-JOP; Digital Information Systems – IT Management for courthouse, jail and highway department.
The commission tabled an item dealing with requests for bridge abandonment.

Commission supports election equipment maintenance, E911 site construction, emergency siren repair

The Greene County Commission met Monday, June 12, 2017 and considered and took action on the following:
* Approved Maintenance agreement with Elections Systems & Software relative to AutoMark equipment. (The AutoMARK® ballot-marking system provides autonomy to voters who are blind, visually impaired, or have a disability or condition that makes it difficult to traditionally mark a ballot) In the commission’s work session held the previous week, it was noted that the county has HAVA (Helping America Vote Act) funds to cover this maintenance costs of $6,039.25.
* Approved Resolution in support of cost and obligations of CDBG grant to E911 for site construction. The E911 has received a CDBG grant to construct a building to house its central operations, however the three bids submitted for the construction have all been above what is provided in the state grant. The E911 board has assured the commission that it has sufficient funds to meet the additional cost, however, since the grant is issued through the county, that entity must pledge its support toward these obligations.
* Approved contract for construction of Mantua Safe Room.

* Approved Warranty Deed for Greene County Industrial Development Authority. The commission agreed to deed approximately 1.9 acres of county land to the IDA which in turn may work out an arrangement for use of the property by Rock-Tenn Company.

* Approved Error/Insolvent Report as submitted by the Revenue Commissioner.
* Approved 2017 Sales Tax Holiday which has been moved from the first Friday in August to the third Friday in July.
*Approved license transfer of Clinton One Stop to an LLC.
* Approved request of E911 to have county’s siren system repaired, with costs covered by county’s general fund bingo resources.
* Approved staff travel as follows: Accounts Payable, July 26-28, Montgomery (AAPPA Conference); County Appraiser, June 28-29, Prattville County Government Institute; Appraisal Staff Conference, August 6-11 (2 employees); Appraisal Fundamentals of Real Property, Sept.11-15; ACI Concrete Training, 2 engineering assist, June 22-23, Birmingham; Assist Engineer and Engineer’s Assist., August 8-9, Grove Hill (ACI Concrete Training; Assist. Engineer and Engineer’s Assist, June 27-30, Auburn, Roadway Technical Course; Error/Insolvent Report, Brenda Goree, Revenue Commissioner.