Greene County bingo again at center of state gambling debate

With seven days left in the current Alabama 2022 regular legislative session, gambling legislation has come back up before the legislature. The future of electronic bingo in Greene and Lowndes counties is again at the center of the discussion.

In the Alabama Senate, bills sponsored by Senator Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, have passed out of committee and await floor action. Albritton’s bills would create a state lottery and allow casino gambling in Alabama.

The bills create casinos at VictoryLand in Macon County; Greenetrack in Greene County; The Birmingham Race Course. The Mobile Greyhound Park and a location in DeKalb or Jackson counties in northeast Alabama, which the Porch Creek Indians would operate. The bills would also allow two “satellite casinos” in Houston and Lowndes counties. The Porch Creek Indians currently operate electronic bingo type operations at Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery.

Under Alabama Constitutional Amendment 743, there are five operating electronic bingo parlors in Greene County, including Greenetrack, and two additional licenses which have been issued by Sheriff Jonathan Benison. The existing bingo parlors in Greene County are opposed to the legislation because it will result in the closure of their operations, and only Greenetrack will remain as a full-fledged casino, with other games like blackjack, roulette and poker, when the legislation goes into effect.

Most of the Greene County opposition is based on the future of the existing bingo operations – their employees and the charities and governmental agencies that they currently support with bingo proceeds.

In another of Albritton’s bills, there are provisions for a statewide gambling commission that will have two years to investigate gambling operations in Greene and Lowndes counties, outside the state authorized gambling operations. It is unclear how this investigative process will evolve and how many bingo parlors will survive.

In the Alabama House, two similar bills for a lottery passed through committees in the House and await floor action.

Any gambling legislation for a lottery and/or casinos, will be subject to a statewide referendum, as constitutional amendments to permit gambling, which is currently banned by Alabama law, at the November or a special election.

Some knowledgeable observers of the Alabama Legislature do not feel there is enough time left inn this legislative session for the lottery and casino bills to be reconciled and passed by both houses of the legislature. Others say there is still time to pass this legislation or for the Governor to call a special session to pass it.

People statewide, especially electronic bingo parlor operators in Greene and Lowndes counties will be watching the legislative process closely.

County Commissioner, Lester “Bop” Brown
dies suddenly at 61

Lester ‘Bop’ Brown, Greene County Commissioner for District 1, representing part of Eutaw, Union, Mantua, Jena and Knoxville, in the northern part of Greene County, passed away suddenly on Saturday night, at age 61. The family is seeking a formal autopsy to explain the cause of death.

Brown was completing his second four-year term as County Commissioner and planning to run for re-election this year. He was first elected to the County Commission in 2014, after serving several terms on the Greene County Board of Education.

Brown worked closely with the state and county levels of the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) in electing Black people to important state and county positions. He was instrumental in the write-in campaign to elect Ison Thomas as Sheriff of Greene County in 2006.

Brown was a grassroot political and community leader admired by his friends and constituents but feared and respected by his enemies. He spoke his mind and was often blunt in expressing his viewpoints. He was very generous with people throughout the county distributing sweet potatoes and other vegetables, providing coolers of water for funerals, and calling people on holidays with good wishes.

On the Greene County Commission, Brown supported more funding for employees, the hospital and ambulance service but he clashed with Sheriff Jonathan Benison on funding for his expanded staff and urged that the Sheriff be accountable financially for additional employees retained beyond the budget.

Commissioner Brown warned frequently about the fragility of counting on funding generated from electronic bingo for support of county agencies and programs. He wanted the County to develop more jobs to keep young people in the county and strengthen the tax base instead of depending on gambling revenues.

The Memorial services for Lester Brown will be:

Friday, February 4, 2022
Viewing – 12 Noon to 5:00 pm
Robert Young Community Center
(Former Carver School)

Saturday, February 5, 2022
Greene County High School Gymnasium
Lie in State 10 am – 12:00 pm
Funeral Services 12 Noon

Lester is survived by his wife Linette and his five children, as well as many other relatives and friends.


Greene County Commission approves $10 million budget; approves $150,000 for purchase of new ambulance

At its regular October meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the Greene County Commission approved a $10 million dollar operating budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.

This budget includes $3.4 million dollar General Fund, which covers most expenses of the county. It also includes a $2.5 million Gasoline Fund and other special funds which support the Highway Department and maintenance of roads and bridges in the county. It also includes funds to satisfy bond issues for the courthouse and jail construction.

The Commission also approved a supplementary budget for additional positions in the Sheriff’s Department including School Resource Officers and additional deputies and jail positions. This budget also includes payment of a vehicle lease for new cars and vans.

Agreements have been worked out between the Commission and the Board of Education for the payment for the resource officers. A separate agreement has been worked out with Sheriff Jonathan Benison for payment
of the other additional personnel and an addition $75,000 a month ($900,000) a year for the Commission in funding from electronic bingo, for the general use of the county and to help with new capital expenditures or matching Federal funds for special projects.

Under these agreements, the Board of Education and Sheriff’s Department must advance three months payment for staffing and the Sheriff must provide the $75,000 payment by the fifth of the month. The Sheriff provided a check for $163,000, which included the $88,000 advance and $75,000 for the month of September, however, the Sheriff still owes the $75,000 for October.

Commissioners Lester Brown and Tennyson Smith pointed out that the Sheriff also has not returned vehicles he promised to return to the county, after the Commission agreed to lease new ones. Brown also said the Sheriff receives funds from the jail telephone and commissary which he does not report or give to the county General Fund. The Commission agreed to write the Sheriff to return the cars by Friday Noon and pay the $75,000 in bingo funds for October.

The County Attorney pointed out that if the Sheriff or the Board of Education does not honor its payments under the agreements that the County Commission will not be obligated to pay the supplementary staff on these budgets.

Macaroy Underwood, County CFO reported that $381,781 in bills had been paid for September and an additional $76,012 in electronic payments had been made. He also asked the Commission to approve two budget amendments for payments made to staff for extra service during the pandemic.

The Commission approved an allocation of $150,000 for a new ambulance for the Greene County EMS, from the county’s $787,0000 allocation from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. This will be a truck mounted ambulance that can be used for wrecks on the Interstate and other tasks in rural areas of the county. The Commission had previously approved $90,000 in ARP funds for an ambulance but this will only support a van type ambulance, which is not suitable for all tasks. The new ambulance will not be available until July 2022, but the Greene County EMS may be able to get a loaner model until the new ambulance is delivered.

In other actions, The Greene County Commission:

• Approved a resolution for Workmen’s Compensation for employees.

• Approved a Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday for February 25-27, 2022.

• Approved advertising for a full-time worker for the Solid Waste Department.

• Approved continuation of the CIMS contract, for computer maintenance; and purchased an ice machine for the Highway Department.

• Approved an incentive payment of $3,000 for full time employees and $1,500 for part time employees of the county, for pandemic service, to be paid out of ARP funds.

Eutaw City Council certifies municipal elections; approves $70,000 + in CARES funds for EMS equipment

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at 12 noon, the Eutaw City Council met to certify the municipal run-off election held Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Mrs. Mattie Atkins, Eutaw Municipal Election Official, presented the Resolutions and Certificates of Election attesting to the process that confirmed the final number of votes for each candidate, declaring the respective winners for mayor and council members. The current council members and mayor signed all Resolutions and Certificates.
Mrs. Atkins acknowledge the assistance of Mrs. Johnnie Knott and Eutaw staff who provided invaluable assistance. Mayor Raymond Steele also offered special appreciation to Mrs. Atkins and Mrs. Knott for their service.
The Eutaw City Officials will be sworn in prior to their first official meeting in November.
The council approved a budget of $2,000 for the inauguration ceremonies.
The Eutaw City Council met in its regular 2nd Tuesday monthly meeting, following the certification. Mayor Raymond Steele did not remain for the City Council meeting. Mayor Pro Tem LaJeffery Carpenter presided.
The council approved approximately $ 68,000 in CARES funds to purchase two Life Pak 15 Defibrillators with consideration of purchasing a multiple year service contract for the equipment at $2,000 per year. The federal CARES money must be spent by December 31, 2020. Eutaw EMS Director Nick Wilson reported that the Eutaw Ambulance Service now has six Federally Registered Para Medics – three full time and three part time.
Councilman Joe Powell asked the council to consider the bid for constructing a storm shelter in Branch Heights. The only bid submitted was for $95, 495 for a shelter with a 96 capacity. The item was tabled. The council commented that the bid process for the shelter could re-open.
The council approved a request from Katie and James Powell for a daycare center in Branch Heights, with the necessary documentation from the Fire Marshall.
The council announced that Eutaw Police Chief, Derick Coleman submitted his letter of retirement effective October 30, 2020. Two additional Eutaw police officers have resigned: Assistant Police Chief Rodriquez Jones effective October 15 and Officer Christopher Gregory effective October 6. Councilman Carpenter stated that Sheriff Jonathan Benison has agreed to assist until the Eutaw Police Force is rebuilt.
The council agreed that inventory lists of city equipment from all supervisors must to be submitted by 4:00 pm Tuesday, October 20.
The council agreed to secure quotes for improvements to the park behind city hall.
On the recommendation of the city attorney the council approved payment of the John Darden claim. The attorney reported that the John and Jane McGee claim has been turned over to the insurance company.

Greenetrack Charities schedule scholarship awards to GCH graduates in postsecondary programs

Arlexia Davis
Shelton State
Willie Davis
Shelton State
Kyla Davis
Shelton State
Elouise Edwards
Shelton State
LaTaursa Jones Jr.
Alabama State
Sharlisa Taylor Shelton State Community
Quantayia Williams Alabama A& M University

Greenetrack, Inc, through its sponsoring charities, has committed a $1000 scholarship award to each Greene County High School 2020 graduate who is enrolled in a postsecondary educational program. The scholarship awards will be administered to a group of graduates monthly. This month’s recipients include Elouise Edwards, Arlexia Davis, Willie Davis, Kyla Davis, LaTaursa Jones, Jr., Sharlisa Taylor Quantiayia Williams JaQuez Hutton and Nigel Speights.
The non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of September, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
According to Luther Winn, Greenetrack CEO, Greenetrack charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack are following the rules set forth by Sheriff Jonathan Benison but they have decided to provide the funds directly rather than through the Sheriff’s office.
A total of $71,100 dollars was divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and High School Graduates College Scholarships ($9,000).
The following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Pool Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

Commission approves 2021 General Fund Budget, excluding sheriff’s employees covered by bingo funds

In a special session held Monday, September 28, 2020, the Greene County Commission approved its 2020-2021 General Fund Budget, with the exception of employees in the Sheriff’s office and jail who are funded through resources from bingo operations. The budget vote was unanimous with all commissioners present.
It was noted in the meeting that Sheriff Jonathan Benison owes the county approximately $600,000 in back pay for employees in his department who are not covered in the sheriff’s budget as funded by the county government. Sheriff Benison must pay the past due amount and advance the first quarter payment of fiscal year 2021 in the amount of $92,737 for his extra employees by September 30, 2020, the end of the current fiscal year. Payment for each subsequent quarter of 2021 must also be made in advance.
In the approval of the General Fund Budget, the Commission also approved the lay-off of the sheriff’s additional employees supported by bingo funds if the past-due amount and the advance payment are not paid by 11:59 a.m. on September 30, 2020.
The Greene County Commission approved $2,445,000 in its General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Traditionally, the Commission allocates 51% of its General Fund Budget to the Greene County Sheriff Department, which is $1,247,000 for 2020-2021 fiscal year. This supports approximately 10 employees in the Sheriff’s office and 11 employees at the county jail. In the past, the sheriff has committed to supporting additional employees in his department with resources from bingo operations. According to the County Commission, the sheriff has become delinquent in the payments for his additional employees.
In other business of the called meeting, the commission tabled the item regarding dirt for public and nonprofit entities.

Commission hires Underwood as CFO; addresses budgetary issues with Sheriff; and plans when COVID-19 occurs among staff

Macaroy Underwood

At its regular meeting held Monday, July 13, the Greene County Commission approved hiring Macaroy Underwood, CPA, of Vestavia, AL, as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The proposed agreement with Underwood provides for a two month employment beginning August 1 and continuing through September 30, 2020, when the county’s fiscal year ends. The commission and Underwood will re-negotiate his contract prior to September 30 with a term not to exceed four years.
Underwood’s compensation for the initial two month is proposed at approximately $5,000 per month, with said compensation to be increased with the new contract beginning October. 1, 2020. The proposed CFO’s schedule includes at least 30 hours per week, four days per week, with two days in the County Commission’s office and two days virtually.
The position of County CFO has been vacant since Paula Bird resigned February 29, 2020, after an employment of more than eight years with the county.
Following an executive session, the commission approved adding two Resolutions to the agenda. Resolution 7-13-20 addresses the budgetary issues between the commission and the sheriff regarding the additional employees in the sheriff’s department for whom Sheriff Jonathan Benison previously committed to provide resources. Reportedly, the commission is proposing definitive action relative to the overstaffing in the Sheriff’s Department.
At its regular meeting held Monday, July 13, the Greene County Commission approved hiring Macaroy Underwood, CPA, of Vestavia, AL, as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The proposed agreement with Underwood provides for a two month employment beginning August 1 and continuing through September 30, 2020, when the county’s fiscal year ends. The commission and Underwood will re-negotiate his contract prior to September 30 with a term not to exceed four years.
Underwood’s compensation for the initial two month is proposed at approximately $5,000 per month, with said compensation to be increased with the new contract beginning October. 1, 2020. The proposed CFO’s schedule includes at least 30 hours per week, four days per week, with two days in the County Commission’s office and two days virtually.
The position of County CFO has been vacant since Paula Bird resigned February 29, 2020, after an employment of more than eight years with the county.
Following an executive session, the commission approved adding two Resolutions to the agenda. Resolution 7-13-20 addresses the budgetary issues between the commission and the sheriff regarding the additional employees in the sheriff’s department for whom Sheriff Jonathan Benison previously committed to provide resources. Reportedly, the commission is proposing definitive action relative to the overstaffing in the Sheriff’s Department.Resolution 7-13-20(A) addresses the county’s process for protecting employees and sanitizing facilities when an employee has contracted COVID-19 or been exposed to the same. This Resolution confirms that when any employee in a department is infected with COVID-19, that county department will be closed and the employees will be required to secure COVID-19 testing and provide the results to the department head. The premises will be professionally cleaned and the department will re-open with employees who test negatively.
In other business, the commission approved repairing potholes at Robert Brown Middle School as well as re-appointments to the E-911 Board. Alonzo Thompson was re-appointed from District 1 and Johnny Isaac was re-appointed from District 4.
In her report to the commission, Burke provided the following General Fund Budget Recap by Account, Budget Allocation, Actual Spent to Date and Percent Remaining in that account:
Commission – Budget – $488,448.50, Spent – $399,924.57, Remaining – 19%; Circuit Court Judge – Budget -$1,800, Spent -$1,168.66, Remaining – 35%; District Judge – Budget – $1,800; Spent – $1,168.65, Remaining – 35%; Circuit Clerk – Budget $4,300, Spent – $3,599.88, Remaining – 14%; District Attorney – Budget – $6,575, Spent – $4,988.91, Remaining 24%; Court Reporter – Budget$1,198, Spent – $899.55, Remaining – 25%; Probate Judge – Budget – $254,845.36, Spent – $202,301.73, Remaining – 27%. Appraisal – Budget – $283,661.43, Spent – $155,398.95; Remaining – 50%; Revenue Commission – Budget -$203,282,14, Spent – 155,157.49, Remaining – 30%; Elections – Budget – $86,468.25, Spent – $58,098.70, Remaining – 23%; Board of Registrars – Budget -$65,964, Spent – $44,701.38, Remaining 32%; Maintenance – Budget -$193,143.40, Spent – $148,145.51, Remaining – 22%; Sheriff – Budget – $877,051.97, Spent – $772,842.84, Remaining 11%; Jail – Budget – $630,446.38, Spent – $509,405.08, Remaining – 18%; EMA – Budget – $48,943.10, Spent – $35,081.53, Remaining – 28%; Coroner – Budget – $31,384.50, Spent – 17,740.70, Remaining – 42%; Youth Services – Budget – $1,800, Spent $1,800, Remaining 0%; E911 – Budget – $30,000, Spent – $30,000, Remaining – 0%; Library – Budget – $20,320, Spent – $10,051.51, Remaining – 50%; Board of Education – Budget – $4,000, Spent – $4,000, Remaining – 0%; Total General Fund Budget – $3,195,432.03, Spent – $2,540,509.61, Remaining – 27% overall.

Commission holds public hearing on 5mil tax increase Greene County Commission suspends pay for 11 members of the Sheriff’s staff since he has not met agreement to cover additional salaries

A long simmering dispute between the Greene County Commission and Sheriff Jonathan Benison came to a boil this week.
The Greene County Commission budgeted $1,251,489 for the operation of the Sheriff’s Department and the Jail, for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2019. This is more than half of the County’s General Fund Budget and is in line with surrounding counties of similar size in the state.
The Sheriff in the past has chosen to supplement these budgetary funds, with funds paid to support the Sheriff’s Department by electronic bingo. The Sheriff has not paid any supplementary funds during this fiscal year since October 1, 2019, to help cover the salaries of his staff. The County Commission used contingency funds to cover the additional staff but the full annual contingency allocation for the County General Fund for all agencies was used by the end of December.
The Greene County Commission reached an agreement with the Sheriff at the end of December that he would pay $940,000 in annual supplementary funds, on a monthly basis, to cover his additional staff. The monthly base amount is $78,300, with a monthly increment to cover the three months ($240,000), which had not been paid to that point.
Allen Turner, County Commission Chairperson said, “ I have met with the Sheriff and his attorney numerous times, over the past four months and he knows the agreement. He agreed to make his initial payment by the end of January 2020. As of today – February 5 – he has not paid us anything. We had no choice but to suspend his staff until the Sheriff does what he agreed to do.”
The 11 staff members, 5 deputies, 5 jailers and an administrative staff member were selected based on senority.
Their end of the month payroll is being held pending resolution of this disagreement between the Sheriff and the Commission.
During this same time period (beginning with the month of September 2019), the Sheriff Benison has not paid to the Greene County Commission, the montly $72,000 in bingo license fees, that were previously paid to the County government and used as matching funds for Federal and state highway construction and repair.
At press time, the Democrat checked and there was no resolution of this budgetary and financial disagreement between Sheriff Benison and the County Commission.
Public Hearing held
On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, the Greene County Commission held a public hearing on its proposal to raise ad valorem property taxes by 5 mils for the Greene County Health System and other agencies.
The 5 mil increase would support six specific agencies and programs of Greene County and would be designated in the proposal, as follows:
• 3 mils for the Greene County Health System, for support of the hospital, emergency room, nursing home, physicians clinic and other health services
• 1 mil for the Greene County Commission General Fund
• .25 mil for Greene County Parks and Recreation Board
• .25 mil for Senior Citizens nutrition and other programs
• .25 mil for storm shelters
• .25 for Greene County Public Works Department
Currently a mil of additional property tax generates $160,000 additional revenues, from the appraised tax rolls of Greene County, for use by the agencies. Twenty Greene County residents attended the public hearing and some made comments.
Iris Sermon from E-911 urged the Commission to make sure all of the agencies to be supported by this tax increase are accountable and report their work regularly to the Commission.
Nick Wilson with the Greene County Ambulance Service asked why funding for EMS and the ambulance was not included in the tax increase proposal.
James E. Morrow of Boligee asked why the Greene County Golf Course was not included in the proposal.
Jane Mays of Jena said her taxes were regularly going up and did not see a need to pay new taxes.
Gilda Jowers suggested that the Commission consider an occupancy tax for people employed in Greene County and hire grant writers as an alternative to raising the property tax.
Commissioner Turner said that the Commission has been studying the finances for a while and this was their best proposal at this time. At the end of the hearing the Commission voted to formally approve the proposal for a 5 mil increase in the property taxes as proposed and send it on to the Greene County Legislative Delegation for approval.
The Commission proposal must be advertised in a local newspaper for four weeks, submitted to the Legislative Delegation, approved as local legislation and signed by the Governor.
After this process, the bill for a 5 mil increase in property tax, will be a local amendment subject to approval by a referendum of the voters in Greene County in the November 3, 2020 General Election.

Commission reports Sheriff has depleted funds in Overtime Line Item

At its monthly meeting held, Monday, December 10, 2019, the Greene County Commission took action to zero out the Overtime Line Item in the Greene County Sheriff’s budget after transferring $9,388.95 to that line item from the Sheriff’s Fuel Line Item. According to the CFO Paula Bird’s report, the Sheriff had already spent above the budgeted funds for overtime pay for employees in his department. Bird reported that she was directed by the Commission Chairperson, Allen Turner, Jr. to make this budget adjustment for the commission’s review and action at this meeting.
In the budget amendment, the commission also approved transferring $478.20 to the jail’s budget.
During the meeting the commissioners were presented a document from Sheriff Jonathan Benison, however, the contents were not discussed in the open meeting. When Commissioners Smith and Brown raised questions about the document, Chairman Turner stated that it would be discussed in executive session.
According to the CFO Bird, the county’s bank totals as of Nov. 18, 2019 were as follows: Citizen Trust Bank – $2,833,696.38; Merchants & Farmers Bank – $1,787,300.29; CD Bond Sinking fund (Investment) – $1.053,312.97; Bank of New York – $616,750.79.
Following an executive session, the commission approved the community liaison appointments presented by Commission Chair Allen Turner, Jr.: Commissioner Brown – Industry and Local and State Agencies; Commissioner Cockrell – Public Works and Housing Authority; Commissioner Smith – Education and Hospital, Health Service and Library; Commissioner Summerville – Personnel, Park and Recreation and EMS; Commissioner Turner – Finance, Department Heads and Extension Services.
In other business, the commission took action on the following:
Approved revision of 2019 Holiday schedule – employees will have Dec. 25, 26, 27 off. Dec. 24 will be a work day.
Approved re-advertising the Coroner’s Bill.
Approved the easement agreement with Marvin Smith and Greene County Commission.
Approved annual bids, including the following: Treated Timber; CMP; Polyethylene Pipe; Aggregates; Liquid Asphalt; Petroleum Products.
Approved allowing Highway Department to assist Greene County Water Authority with earthwork for new building, providing Highway Department is reimbursed.
Approved travel for Engineering Department and Highway Department personnel.
In reference to Agenda Item 12 – Consider budgetary issues with salaries and overtime – the commission approved a motion to recess the meeting until Monday, December, 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

County Commission holds annual reorganization: Turner and Summerville at the helm

Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. Chair and Roshanda Summervice Vice Chair

The Greene County Commission held its annual reorganizational meeting, Monday, November 12, 2019 and selected Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. as Chairperson and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville as Vice-Chairperson. Commissioner Lester Brown nominated Commissioner Tennyson Smith for the position of Chair, followed by the nomination of Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. by Commissioner Corey Cockrell. The vote was three to two, with Commissioners Turner, Summerville and Cockrell supporting Turner and Commissioners Brown and Smith supporting Smith.
Commissioner Corey Cockrell nominated Commissioner Roshanda Summerville for the position of Vice-Chair. There were no other nominations and the vote for Summerville was unanimous.
The commission’s reorganization process, conducted by Attorney Hank Sanders, was turned over to Turner immediately following the elections. Turner requested that the Chairman’s appointments to committees be tabled; the body approved the same. The commission agreed to maintain the same monthly meeting time of second Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. Regarding the designation of bank depositories, the commission agreed by resolution to retain the same: Citizen Trust Bank, Merchants & Farmers Bank and the Bank of New York.
The signatures for checks and the commission’s safety deposit box usually include four authorized individuals (of which two are needed for transactions) and the following three were agreed upon: Chairperson, Allen Turner, Jr.; Vice-Chairperson, Roshanda Summerville; CFO Paula Bird, and the fourth to be determined later.
Commissioners Lester Brown and Tennyson Smith declined from consideration as check signers.
The Commission also approved following the rules and procedures of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA).
The CFO’s financial report and proposal for payment of claims were approved by the body. CFO Bird also noted that the commission has not received the funds for the contingency component of the sheriff’s budget. Although approximately 51% of the County Commission’s general fund budget is allocated to the sheriff’s budget, this is not sufficient to support all the personnel retained by the sheriff, without the contingency bingo funds provided by the sheriff’s office. According to Bird, to date, these supplemental bingo funds have not been provided to the commission. She stated that the commission is approximately $25,000 short in making the next payroll that would include all of the sheriff’s employees.
Attorney Sanders advised that the commission pay the personnel who have worked and then take immediate action to reduce that work force.
Based on the CFO’s information, the commission agreed to recess the meeting until Monday, November 18, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. Prior to that meeting, Chairman Turner will arrange a meeting with Sheriff Jonathan Benison to discuss the budgetary issues.