FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its 44th Annual Meeting on December 19, 2019 in the recently dedicated Willie Carpenter Conference Room in the credit union offices at 112 Prairie Avenue, on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw, Alabama.
Joyce Pham, Credit Union Manager announced that as of December 31, 2018, the FOGCE Federal Credit Union had assets of $1,314, 887, which included $896,874 of member’s shares, a $100,000 non-member deposit and the rest in reserves and undivided earnings. She reported a surplus of $10,076 in income over expenses for the year.
She reported that the credit union had $466,544 in outstanding loans to members, $111,867 in cash, $31,000 invested in its building and the rest invested in other credit unions. She indicated that the credit union had 896 members.
Rodney Pham, speaking for the Credit Committee stated that the credit union had made 449 new loans in 2018 for $338,675 including five car loans for $105,535.
He said the credit union has a variety of loans, from small unsecured loans up to $500, larger loans for home repair, appliances, school expenses and other personal loans, as well as car loans for new and used cars.
Carol Zippert, President of the FOGCE FCU reported on the history of the credit union movement and the specific growth of the local credit union since 1975. “We are saving and borrowing each others money. In one of the smallest, poorest counties in Alabama, we have accumulated over $1.3 million by working collectively together. In 44 years, we have grown the credit union to over a million in assets and moved from rented rooms in the back of other buildings to our own offices at the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert indicated that the FOGCE Federal Credit Union was regulated and supervised by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a division of the U. S. Treasury Department. The NCUA also guarantees deposits in the Credit Union up to $250,000 for each account, similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantee for bank accounts.
“NCUA makes sure your deposits are safe but they also have been very hard on smaller size credit unions like ours. They are always suggesting that we merge with a larger credit union. They are not encouraging credit unions like ours, which teach self-determination and self-development of financial skills, thrift and systematic savings in the Black community,” said Zippert
Zippert also announced that the Credit Union Board had named the conference room in the back of it’s office building, as the Willie Carpenter Conference Room, in honor of the longtime Treasurer of the credit union, who passed away during the past year. “We will be placing a framed picture of Mr. Carpenter in the room with a written statement of his the dedicated work in building the FOGCE FCU over the past four decades,” said Zippert.
Darlene Robinson, Vice-President pointed out that the FOGCE FCU has payroll deduction with the major employers in Greene County, such as the School Board, Catfish plant, Hospital, WestRock box factory and many others. “This means that you can make savings and pay loans through your place of work. The funds will come out of your check and come automatically to the credit union,” she said.
Darlene Robinson was also Mistress of Ceremony for the Annual meeting and conducted elections, distributed door prizes and played some Christmas related games. Two members were re-elected to the Credit Union Board, Carol P. Zippert and Earnest Edmonds and one new member, Jackie Allen, was elected for three-year terms. James Powell and Debbie Rice were re-elected to the Credit Committee, which evaluates and approves loans.
Robinson pointed out that the “FOGCE Federal Credit Union is open to all who live, work or worship in Greene County.
Membership is $10 plus a minimum first deposit of $25. You can save regularly and systematically and your savings will grow. Then when you need a loan – you have a friendly place to borrow. The Credit Union office, on the Courthouse Square, at 112 Prairie Avenue, phone number 205/372-9025, is open weekdays, to receive new members.”

County Commission supports Northfolk’s sale of land to WestRock

At its regular meeting held Monday Dec. 10, 2018, the Greene County Commission approved a resolution supporting Northfolk Southern Railroad’s sale of property to WestRock (box plant). As discussed in the previous commission work session, Northfolk Southern offered the county first option to purchase a 350 ft. parcel of land near the railroad. As indicated in the resolution, the commission declined the offer and gave support of the land sale to West Rock at a cost of $18,850. This parcel is also adjacent to the approximate 2.75 acres West Rock purchased recently from the county.
In other business the commission took action on the following:

  • Approved a retail beer license for TJ & J Grocery and Deli in Clinton.
  • Approved the contract with Means Construction for a storm shelter pad in Forkland.
  • Approved the extension of the county’s garbage exemption until January 18, 2019.
  • Approved travel for engineer and assistant engineer to training in Prattville, AL, Jan.30-31, 2019.
    Authorized Chairman Smith to execute papers with Goodwin & Mills for preliminary engineering work on County Road 69.
    Approved the county engineer’s demolition of the old daycare center in Forkland.
    In the financial report, CFO Paula Bird presented the following bank balances as of November 18, 2018: Citizen Trust Bank, $2,413,982.41; Merchant & Farmers Bank, $2,375,492.14; Bank of New York, $359,378.56; Total CD Bond Sinking Funds, $923,021.52.
    The commission approved finance report, payment of claims and budget amendments.
    Having no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

County will sell surplus land to WestRock; addresses redistricting in Greene County

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Greene County Commission shown with two new vehicles for the County Highway Department. The vehicles are two 2018 F150 Crew Cabs 4×4 at purchase price of $28,650 each. Shown L to R: Commissioners Michael Williams, Tennyson Smith, Allen Turner, Jr.,and Lester Brown; County Engineer Willie Branch and Assistant Engineer John Ensley.

At its regular meeting held Jan. 8, 2018, the Greene County Commission agreed to sell a portion of surplus land to WestRock box plant in Eutaw. The commission is asking $30.000 for approximately 2.7 acres of land adjacent to the current WestRock property on Finches Ferry Road in Eutaw.
In an original plan, the County Commission deeded that parcel of land to the Greene County Industrial Board with the understanding that the IDA would lease the property to West Rock. Subsequently, West Rock determined that it was interested in purchasing same property to accommodate its expansion plans. The county’s plan to sell the property to West Rock will proceed once the IDA transfers the deed back to the county.
The commission voted to approve the County Registrars duties regarding the state’s redistricting and voter reassignment process for areas and voters affected by the new state legislative district lines. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States Census. The Alabama State Legislature is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines.
On May 24, 2012, the Republican-controlled legislature approved state legislative redistricting maps. Maps for both chambers were passed during a special session. It next went to Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for his signature, then to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance. The Justice Department cleared the state legislative maps on October 5, 2012. Various statewide organizations challenged the state’s redistricting lines up to the U.S. Supreme Court, but were unsuccessful.
According to the current legislative map, Greene County will fall in two State House Districts: D 71, Northwestern part of the county, (Rep. Artis McCampbell) and D 72, all other areas of the county (Rep. Ralph Howard). Greene County falls in only one State Senate District, D 24 (Senator Bobby Singleton).
Alabama’s House of Representatives is made up of 105 districts; Alabama’s State Senate is made up of 35 districts.
In other business the commission approved the following:
* Filling two employee positions in the Highway Department
* Accepting the resignation of one equipment operator and authorizing advertising to fill the position of Equipment operator.
* Travel request for employees as specified.
The Commission approved the various Committee Chair appointments as follows:
* Finance and Public Safety, Commissioner Tennyson Smith.
* Public Works and Health, Commissioner Michael Williams.
* Education and Social Concerns, Commissioner Lester Brown.
* Jobs and Industries, Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr.
* Personnel, Commissioner Corey Cockrell.
CFO, Paula Bird provided the following financial summaries as of December 17, 2017.
Total funds in Citizen Trust Bank was $2,476,161.54; total funds in Merchants & Farmers Bank was $1,961,067.02. Bond investments totaled $800,989.79, Bank of New holds $358,718.17

Greene County Commission acts on County Engineer’s requests

At a routine meeting the Greene County Commission approved requests coming from Willie Branch, County Engineer, for sale of surplus property and vehicles as well as improvements to the William M. Branch Courthouse and Eutaw Activity Center.
The Greene County Commission approved the following requests from the County Engineer:
• declare equipment and materials, a pile of scrap metal, as surplus and eligible for sale;
• declare surplus and sell three dump trucks and one low-boy, for a guarantee of $526,000;
• purchase three dump trucks at $131,644 each and one low-boy for $114,989, to replace the ones sold. This arrangement allows the county to have new equipment for a small annual lease payment;
• approve placement of a sign by the Extension Service on the Eutaw Activity Center building;
• approve agreement with KDM to install 5 thermostats for the cost of $10,000 in the Courthouse and an annual contract of $4,600 to maintain the HVAC service in the Courthouse;
• approved agreement with ADS Security for the Eutaw Activity Center, at an installation cost of $1,098 and $49.95 a month for three years for the system; and
• approve travel for Highway Department Office Manager for training on June22-24, at Orange Beach, Alabama.
Paula Byrd, Chief Financial Officer gave the Commission a detailed financial report through the end of March, which is the six month period of the fiscal year which bean October 1, 2016. The report showed bank balances of $ 2,786,484 in Citizen Trust Bank and $2,172.444 in Merchants and Farmers Bank for a total of $4,958,929.
Another $684,146 in bond sinking funds are in the Bank of New York.
Ms. Byrd also reported on payment of bills and claims of $686,540 for February and that the total of expenses from all accounts were running at 44% of budget, which is below the 50% goal at the middle of the fiscal year.

The Commission also approved transfer of 1.96 acres, in the Eutaw Industrial Park area, to the Greene County Industrial Development Authority. The Authority plans to enter into agreements to make the land available to WestRock to expand their manufacturing facility and create new jobs.The Commission did not approve a request from the City of Eutaw to move a power pole from one corner to across the street.
The Greene County Commission approved the appointment of Jasmine Smith to the Greene County Hospital Board and Mattie Strode to the Greene County DHR Board. Both appointments were from District 2.
In the work session, preceding the regular meeting, the Commission heard from Marilyn Gibson, Chief Librarian, who asked the Commission to reconsider an appointment to the Library Board. She argued that the person that was replaced was very experienced and helpful in writing proposals to secure funds for the library. The Commissioners said they could not change an appointment but that the Library Board could give special status as an emeritas member, without a vote, to anyone they thought could assist and support them to make the library better for Greene County.