LaPorsha Brown takes her father’s seat on County Commission; Chairman signs Greenetrack Settlement Resolution; approves ARPA funds allocation

LaPorsha Brown, her daugther Peyton Brown and District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne
Linette Brown, LaPorsha Brown, her daugther Peyton Brown and District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne

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.

Greene County candidates qualify for 2020 elections

Qualifying for the 2020 Alabama March Primary Elections closed on Friday, November 8, 2019 with several Greene Countians vying for public office. Greene County District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne, seeking her third term in office, is unopposed in the March Primary.
Arnelia “Shay” Johnson, who is currently employed in the County’s Appraisal Office is seeking the position of Revenue Commissioner along with the incumbent Revenue Commissioner, Barbara McShan, who is completing two years of the unexpired term of former Commissioner Brenda Goree. McShan was appointed Greene County Revenue Commissioner by Governor Kay Ivey in April, 2018 and assumed the position July 1, 2018.
Greene County School Board positions in Districts 3,4,5 will also be up in 2020. Mr. Leo Branch, the incumbent in District 4, is unopposed for the March Primary. Ms. Veronica Richardson has qualified for School Board District 3, along with the incumbent Mr. William Morgan. Mrs. Mary Otieno has qualified for School Board District 5, along with incumbent Ms. Carrie Dancy.
The position of Constable is open in each of the five districts in Greene County. Mr. Lester Brown has qualified for Constable in District 1; Mr. John Steele, Jr. in District 2; Mr. Spiver Gordon in District 3; Rev. James E. Carter in District 4 and Mr. Jesse Lawson in District 5.
The Alabama Primary Election is scheduled for March 3, 2020.