Greene County Commission adopts resolutions on 4 mil property tax increase, Streetscape II Project and Sales Tax Holiday

On Monday, June 8, 2020, the Greene County Commission held its regular monthly meeting at the William M. Branch Courtroom, with social distancing and masks. All members of the Commission were present.
The Commission passed a resolution to authorize a procedure for a four (4) mil increase in property tax, which can be approved locally without Legislative approval, since the earlier proposal for a 5 mil increase did not receive legislative consideration in the shortened session.
The 4 mil proposal includes 2 mils for the Greene County Health System, 1 mil for the Commission General Fund and 1 mil to be divided between Parks and Recreation, Senior feeding programs, storm shelters and the Public Works Department for matching funds on state funded projects.
This 4 mil tax increase will still be subject to a county-wide referendum on the November 3, 2020 General Election ballot and must be approved by a majority of Greene County voters. One mil of ad valorem property tax currently generates about $165,000 in tax revenues. The 4 mil increase would generate $650,000 in new revenues to be split among the agencies, with half going to the health system for the hospital, nursing home, and physicians clinic.
The Commission approved a resolution to allow the Greene County Industrial Development Authority (GCIDA) to make an application for an $873,000 grant from the ALDOT for a Streetscape II grant to repair and replace the inside sidewalks around the Old Courthouse Square. The resolution also provides that the GCIDA will be responsible for raising the 20% matching funds if the grant is approved.
The City of Eutaw has received a grant of $640,000 for improvements to the outer sidewalk areas around the Old Courthouse Square and is currently working on the engineering details to do this work. Matching funds for this Streetscape I project were provided by the City of Eutaw, Greene County Commission and GCIDA.
Since the Greene County Commission owns the Old Courthouse Square, in the center of the county, it had to authorize the application of funds for the Streetscape II Project.
The Commission also approved a resolution to support the ‘2020 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday” on July 14-19, 2020.
Brenda Burke, County Administrator gave a financial report showing the county finances remain solvent and generally within budget for the eight months ending May 2020. The Commission approved payment of $ 484,149 in bills and claims including $283,558 for the General Fund.
Burke asked the Commission for directions and instructions on reopening the Courthouse for regular business after the Coronavirus closing. She indicated that the procedure was to allow a limited number of people into the Courthouse at any one time, to allow for social distancing. A staff person is needed to monitor the front door and allow people to enter in an orderly fashion. The Commission agreed to check with the Sheriff to see if a deputy could be assigned to help monitor the front door.
In other actions, the Greene County Commission:
• Agreed to consider a new contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) for health insurance coverage for employees
• Agreed to modify the county’s Rebuild America Plan to include pipes and riprap purchase for Flag Road
• Agreed to proposals from the County Engineer with regard to the 2020 ADECA Community Block Grant Program for $350,000 with a $35,000 matching requirement; and awarding of a contract for Program Administration to Grant Management LLC for these funds.
• Approved utilizing the Eutaw Activity Center for COVID-19 testing on June 16, 2020; and working with other agencies in the county to expand testing and spread testing sites to communities around the county.

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.