Greene County Commission considers financial and road improvement projects

At its first regular meeting of the calendar year, on Monday January 10, 2022, the Greene County Commission dealt with financial matters and approved plans by the County Engineer for road repair projects.

The Commission authorized Willie Branch, the County Engineer, in consultation with Mac Underwood, the CFO, to proceed with road projects not to exceed $990,000 for Fiscal Year 2022. This will allow repair of County Roads 60, 117 and 18 in various parts of the county.

The funds authorized include $557,123 in funding, already in hand from the Rebuild Alabama/Federal Exchange Program and an advance of $440,000 from electronic bingo funds, to be repaid from future Rebuild Alabama funding, which is expected in the coming years.

The Commission also approved spending $500,000 from electronic bingo funds for patching and leveling roads in the county in need of these repairs. The County Engineer will provide a list of these projects in future meetings.

The Commission also approved also approved the FY2021 Annual Report to the Rebuild Alabama Program detailing the work that was done with state funding last year. Also approved was advertising for two needed Highway Department positions, one full time and one temporary worker for the Solid Waste section.

The Commission appointed a bond insurance team to refund outstanding 2007 warrants to build the County Jail facility. There is $2,775,000 in financing at 4.61% interest to be refinanced. At the Commission Work Session on January 5, Walter Lewis representing the Piper-Sandler investment banking company said he was seeking to refinance the outstanding bonds at a lower interest rate between 2.44 and 2.49%, for an additional 8.6 year term, which would save the Greene County between $569,000 and $599,000 in interest over the remaining time period.

The Commission approved a resolution, designating a team with Underwriters: Piper/Sandler; Bond Counsel: Butler and Snow; and Issues Counsel: Parnell and Thompson to work with Mac Underwood, CFO< to provide a proposal for the refinancing of these bonds.

Mac Underwood, CFO, gave the financial report as of the end of the first quarter of the FY 2021-22 showing that most agencies, including the County General Fund, had spent 25% or less of their budgeted funds, leaving 78% of the budget remaining. Underwood reported that there was $5,821,482 in Citizens Trust Bank as of December 21, 2021; there was $10,850,868 in Merchants and Farmers; with $1,102,438 in Bond Sinki9ng Funds. There is $787,734 in American Rescue Plan Act funds in Citizens Federal with $420,374 allocated leaving a balance of $367,359. The Commission authorized payment of all claims for the month of January.

The Commission heard a report from Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of the Greene County Health System on the impact of the coronavirus in Greene County. She indicated that there were no reported cases of the omicron variant among residents of the Greene County Nursing Home, who are vaccinated and tested on a weekly basis due to the high rates of positive testing in the county and throughout the state. Dr. Pugh emphasized the need for all people, above the age of 5, to get vaccinated and boosted to prevent serious disease and hospitalization.

In other business, the Commission:

• Tabled consideration of settlement of a dispute with Greenetrack, for payment of lease funds for use of the facility, which is partially owned by the County.

• Approved advertising for a person to sit at the front door of the Courthouse and screen visitors for coronavirus and direct them to the proper offices for their business.

• Approved travel for the County Engineer to a conference in Montgomery on February 9 and 10 dealing with transportation.