County Commission expresses interest in county-wide Sunday alcohol sales

The Greene County Commission met in regular session Monday, May 8, 2023. All Commissioners were present. At the Commission’s work session on May 3, Commissioner Allen Turner raised an interest in the county authorizing Sunday alcohol sales. Turner raised questions on the process – would the County have to present its request to the State Legislative Representatives, and would such a proposed bill have time to be advertised before the current session ended. Subsequently, State Representative Curtis Travis was invited to attend the Commission’s meeting on May 8. Rep. Travis stated that since Greene County is a “wet” county, the County Commission could authorize Sunday alcohol sales at prescribed times. He noted that the Commission should develop a resolution to that effect.
According to Mayor Latasha Johnson, the City of Eutaw has authorized Sunday alcohol sales, but currently that does not extend throughout the county.
The Commission approved a request by Probate Judge Rolonda Wedgeworth to secure a new contract for computer services in her office. In her initial request presented at the Commission’s work session on May 3, Judge Wedgeworth stated that her office was in dire need of an updated computer system. She noted that due to the inadequacies of the current vendor, her office is out of compliance with the State. “We are in a situation where we have to develop our own forms which is a set back to our work. Our current vendor will not respond to requests for assistance,” she said. As per her request, the Commission approved Ingenuity, Inc., business and technology services, as the new vendor at a cost of $28,000.
The Commission approved three members for the Board of Equalization: Mrs. Alfretta Crawford, Mrs. Loydleetta Wabbington, and Mr. John Vester.
Other items approved by the Commission are as follows:
* Repair Jury Building on old courthouse square at cost not to exceed $35,000.
* Engineer’s request to fill position of Shop Foreman.
* Engineer’s request for right-of-way acquisition for bridge replacement on County Rd. 220 for the sum of $20, 500.
Engineer’s request to move one driver from Highway Department to Solid Waste Dept.
Engineers’s request to adjust salaries of four employees in Solid Waste Department.
* Travel request for Assistant Engineer on June 7 and June 13-14, 2023.
* Replacing back doors at Eutaw Activity Center.
Sheriff’s request to replace commercial dishwasher at county jail.
The Commission tabled the following items.
* Request from the Water Authority Board.
Consideration of Sunday alcohol sales in the County.
The commission approved the financial report and the payment of claims for April 2023 as presented by CFO Macaroy Underwood. In his report Underwood noted the following: Accounts payable – $309,692.59; Payroll Transfer – $274,299.19; Fiduciary – $69,124.45; Total $653,116.23; Electronic Claims – $85,183.29. Bank totals at end of April: Citizen Trust – unrestricted $2,928,224.96, restricted $5,181,617.91; Merchants & Farmers – unrestricted $3,170,801.50, restricted $1,544,523.24; Total investments – unrestricted $877,979,73, restricted $881,522.99.

Community seeks donations of water to fill truck for our neighbors in Jackson, MS

The Greene County Community Associates of the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) initiated a program to fill an 18-wheeler trailer truck with water to send to Jackson, Mississippi. Over 200,000 residents of the City of Jackson have faced low pressure and contaminated water for several weeks due to flooding and the decay of their infrastructure.
The BBCF Associates were able to enlist the support of the Greene County School System, the City of Eutaw, the Eutaw Police Department, the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce, local churches, and other allies, in the efforts to gather water donations.
Miriam Leftwich, Coordinator of the BBCF Greene County Community Associates, said, “We are collecting bottled water, to fill up a trailer truckload to help our neighbors in Jackson, Mississippi, who face a devastating situation due to the failure of their water system.”
Leftwich says you can bring cases of water to the Robert H. Young Community Center (former Carver Middle School) at 720 Greensboro Avenue in Eutaw from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Thursday; and 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Fridays, through September 15, 2022.
Leftwich is coordinating the water drive with a Black radio personality in Jackson, who will help distribute the water to people in need in Jackson.
“We welcome any donations of water, from a single case to a pallet of cases of water, we want to fill the truck up, “said Leftwich.
Mayor Latasha Johnson of Eutaw said, “We are asking all citizens of Eutaw to contribute to this worthy cause, and we have made our Robert H. Young Community Center available as a collection point. We also have our staff there aiding in the collection and loading of water.”
For more information on the water drive, contact 205-496-2070 or 205-344-0739.



Christmas on the Square Bethlehem Walk

The City of Eutaw, the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce and a collaborative of local organizations sponsored  the Christmas on the Square Bethlehem Walk on Sunday December 5, 2021 to celebrate the Season with the Greene County Community.  The Bethlehem Walk consisted of various scenes of events reminding us of the circumstances of Jesus’ Birth, including the Inn that turned away Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men following the Star, the stable and animals, the Nativity Scene and more.  Gifts were shared and photo ops were available.  The annual Christmas Tree Lighting was held Thursday, December 2, 2021on the old courthouse square in Eutaw. Other sponsors of the event included the Housing Authority of Greene County, SCORE International, True Vine Foundation and the Arington Foundation.

Eutaw City Council deals with water, budget and street repairs

At its regular meeting on February 23, 2021, the Eutaw City Council continued grappling with problems of the water system, street repairs and assembling a budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which began October 1, 2020.
The Council heard from Corey Martin, the full time Water System Operator, recently hired to help supervise and correct the physical and billing problems of the Eutaw city water system. Martin reported that for the four months, October 2020 to January 2021, the city was pumping 30 million gallons of water a month but only billing for thirty per cent of this amount. There was a 70% loss to leaks, incorrect billing, meters not working properly and not reporting properly to the computer billing system and pother problems.
Martin stated his job was to work together with Terry Tyson, an engineering consultant retained by the City to audit the water meters, and the Water Department staff to correct leaks, faulty water meters, missing water meters, water meters that are not properly tied into the computerized billing system. Martin said, “We have 1,400 water customers and we will visit every meter, correct the problems and should have the system working correctly in two to three months.”
Martin as a certified water operator will also be able to do monthly sampling for testing the city’s water for quality and environmental contamination required by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). This will avoid compliance issues that Eutaw has experienced recently. Water customers received a letter concerning compliance with testing requirements this past summer, which has now been corrected.
Attorney Ralph Liverman, financial consultant to the City Council presented members with his third draft budget for the City, which details projected revenues and expenses for six city funds including: The General Fund, Water and Sewer Fund, 7-Cent Gas Tax Fund, 4-Cent Gas Tax Fund, Special Street Fund, and a Capital Improvements Fund, which account for $3.5 million a year. The Council agreed to hold a Work Session on March 3rd to review and discuss this budget in more detail. It should be noted that Mayor Latasha Johnson made a campaign promise to develop a budget for the City, which did not have one for many years. Mayor Johnson reported on the Streetscape grant (TAPNU-TAI) for the City from the Alabama Department of Transportation. The grant provides $640,000 in Federal funds and $160,000 in local matching, plus local responsibility for engineering cost, for repairs to the sidewalks, railings, lighting and landscaping of the outside of the Thomas Gilmore Square surrounding the historic old Courthouse in downtown Eutaw. There is a separate project for repairing the inside sidewalk of the Square.
The City of Eutaw, Greene County Commission and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority agreed to share in providing the $240,000 in matching funds and engineering for this project. The project has been delayed by the State Historical Commission review which questioned if the project would conform to the city’s designation under the National Historic Register. The project engineer has resolved the issue with the Historical Commission and the project can go forward, however, the city will be required to update its registration with the National Historic Registry, which may cost an additional $20 to $30,000 to complete. The Council voted to approve the expenditure of funds to update the National Historic Registry.
The Council approved the rental agreements for the CFRD and Liberty Tax for rental of space in the Robert H. Young Community Center, formerly the Carver Middle School. The Council also approved re-opening the Fitness Center in the Robert H. Young Community Center for a $20 a month membership fee and compliance with COVID-19 health guidelines and an insurance liability waiver by persons wishing to use the athletic equipment. The equipment was donated by Auburn Extension Services in past years to improve the health and fitness of community residents. A staff person was recently employed to take care of the facility who will also help to monitor the Fitness Center.
Tammy Holley of West Alabama Works, a workforce development agency, made a presentation of some of the services her agency offers and requested a longer session with the council to fully explain the services of her agency. The Council agreed to her request at a future work session, to be scheduled.
In other business, the Eutaw City Council:
• Approved a resolution to provide the Mayor and Mayor Pro Temp access to all the city’s email accounts and passwords to handle business in the absence of city employees.
• Approved the solicitation of bids to resurface the City’s portion of the Lower Gainesville Road and Choctaw Road.
• Heard concerns from Council member Valerie Watkins for the installation of speed bumps on Roebuck Avenue to protect children in the area.
• Received a report from Mayor Johnson that the Police Department has set up a sub-station in King Village and is looking for female officers to augment its staff of 9 fulltime and 2 part-time officers overall.

ADECA awards $400,000 grant to City of Eutaw for sewage connection to Love’s Truck Stop site at Exit 40 on Interstate 20/59

The Alabama Department Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has awarded a $400,000 grant that will help bring a new rest-stop option to travelers along Interstate 20/59 in Greene County and create new jobs in the process.
The City of Eutaw will use the Community Development Block Grant to extend sewer service to an area on Alabama Highway 14 at exit 40 off Interstate 20/59. The sewer extension will provide the groundwork for a new location of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. Love’s expects the new location to create 43 jobs.
“Job creation continues to be a priority of my administration, especially in rural Alabama,” said Governor Ivey in making the grant. “I am pleased to support this project which will bring additional jobs and economic growth to the city of Eutaw and the surrounding area.”
The project will include installation of about 6,000 feet of sewer line, eight manholes and related sewer components. The total project cost is $872,425. Along with the CDBG award, the city is providing $100,000 in local funding and $372,425 in funding from the Delta Regional Authority to supplement the grant.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ADECA also manages the Delta Regional Authority program in Alabama.
Mayor Raymond Steele of Eutaw, said, “ We are grateful to ADECA for supporting an extension of our sewage line to Exit 40. This will bring us another step closer to opening a Love’s Truck Stop in our community to provide jobs and revenues for our city.”
“The Governor understands the importance of economic growth to our state, especially job-growth impact in rural areas,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join this partnership to create new economic activity in the city of Eutaw.”
ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, water resource management, energy conservation and recreation development.