In Eutaw Municipal elections: Runoff for Mayor between Raymond Steele and Latasha Johnson

By: John Zippert
Co-Publisher

Raymond Steele
Latasha Johnson

In yesterday’s City of Eutaw Municipal elections, 1,219 voters cast ballots. There were five candidates in the Mayor’s race. Incumbent Mayor Raymond Steele led with 403 (33%) votes, Councilwoman Latasha Johnson came in second with 359 (30%) votes; Joe Lee Powell received 257 (21%); Sandra Walker 183 (15%) and Queena Bennett Whitehead 17 (1%).
There will be a runoff election on October 6, 2020 between Raymond Steele and Latasha Johnson for Mayor.
In Forkland, Incumbent Mayor Charlie McAlpine was reelected with a vote of 216 to 60 for Rev. Michael Barton.
In the Eutaw City Council races, there will be a runoff in District I, where Valerie Watkins received 115 (44%) votes to 107 (41%) for Chondra Mayes and Ke’Undra Quintez Cox received 38 (14.6%). The runoff also scheduled for October 6 will be between Watkins and Mayes.
In District 2, LaJeffrey Carpenter received 160 (69%) votes to 70 (30%) for Bryant Snyder, Jr. and was reelected to the Eutaw City Council. In District 3, Tracy Hunter, who was unopposed was elected to that seat.
In District 4, Larry Coleman received 110 (51%) votes in defeating incumbent Councilwoman Sheila Smith with 105 (49%) and will take the seat.
In District 5, Jacqueline Stewart with 120 (52%) votes defeated Rodney Wesley with 109 (48%) capturing this seat.
When the Mayor and Council are seated and sworn-in, for a four-year term, on November 10, 2020 there will be four new council members with only LaJeffrey Carpenter returning.
In Forkland, in the only contested city council race, for District 3; Alonzo Thomas with 48 votes won with Preston Davis receiving 25 and Willie Sashington getting 9 votes.
The Mayor’s position and city council races were not contested in the Towns of Boligee and Union, so the same officials have been reelected for another term.
1,219 (49.7%) of voters out of 2,450 registered in the city turned out to vote in the first primary on August 25, 2020. “We will need to work hard to raise the turnout for the Municipal Runoff on October 6 and the important November 3rd General Election for U. S. President, Senators, Congress and other offices,” said Carol Zippert, Greene County Chair for the Alabama New South Alliance.


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.