Blount Health Care Authority focus of January breakfast

Update from the chamber of commerce

The monthly Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce breakfast will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Twin Oaks. The program begins at 7:30 a.m. and features members of the Blount County Health Care Authority, elected officials, and others involved in the renovation of the old Blount Memorial Hospital. The program will be sponsored by a company operated by Jeff Hallmark, a member of the Blount County Health Care Authority.

During 2004, a small number of individuals, the chamber included, came together to formulate ideas on how the old county hospital facility could be transformed into a social services mall. During the next four years, those involved in the project grew, and incrementally the project began to take shape.

One of the purposes of this meeting was to lay out the future use of the old hospital. An exciting part of the project’s history is that local citizens, using creative thinking, raised funds to start the renovation. The tireless energy of Brother Bud Jones kept the project alive, and the unqualified support of the Blount County Health Care Authority, coupled with grants received, allowed the refurbishment to go forward.

Blount County Health Care Authority

The history of the board goes back to 1950 when the Alabama State Legislature established the right for counties to set up a body to address public health issues (The Blount County Hospital Board).

Currently, the Blount County Health Care Authority has nine members who are appointed by the Blount County Commission for six-year terms. The overall purpose of the authority is to promote public health, safety, and welfare for the people of Blount County. Funding for the authority comes from ad valorem taxes, two mills of county property taxes.

There are certain key activities and initiatives that the authority presently sponsors. All are aimed at promoting public health, safety, and welfare for all Blount Countians. These contributions include (but are not limited to):

1) own and lease facilities to St. Vincent’s Blount Hospital;

2) own and lease facilities to Blount County Health Department;

3) contract with Blount EMS Ambulance Services, Inc.;

4) own and lease wellness and exercise facility (The Gym);

5) own and lease Family Services Mall to the Hope House;

6) provide 100 percent funding for Blount County Mental Health offices;

7) provide 100 percent funding for two Blount County school nurses;

8) providing funding for juvenile mental health counselor and case manager; and

9) provide funds annually to local health providers such as the Hope House, Children’s Center, and volunteer fire departments.

It is obvious that the Blount County Health Care Authority adds to the quality of life of all Blount Countians by providing tools to local agencies so they can better assist the children and citizens of the area.


Jeff Hallmark gives tirelessly of his time and resources to many Blount County endeavors. He is a proud sponsor of many activities related to Locust Fork schools. He is an active member of the Blount County Education Foundation, and he is a very important member of the Blount County Health Care Authority.

Recently Jeff and Gregg Armstrong opened The Hornet’s Nest, a restaurant located in Locust Fork. The Hornet’s Nest is an active member of the Blount County- Oneonta Chamber of Commerce.

January – School Board Recognition Month

During the month of January 2009, schools across Alabama will salute some 800 local school board members for their contributions and dedication to public education. As community servants, school board members devote countless hours attending school functions, training for their role as local education leaders, and preparing for and making difficult decisions that affect thousands of students and school employees.

Alabama’s theme, “Making a World of Differences,” acknowledges school board members’ role in preparing today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders for productive citizenship. There are more than 742,789 Alabama schoolchildren currently enrolled in this school year. The board members of the Blount County and Oneonta School systems are part of a statewide team that supervises 49,364 teachers, 3549 administrators, and 38,400 support workers in 1538 schools.

Join the chamber as we salute the board members of our two excellent school systems during January and particularly as we recognize them at our monthly breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. 28.


Pessimistic economic news persists in the forecast but new businesses keep on locating in the county, and the county unemployment rate continues to be one of the lowest in the state. This points to a great work ethic of Blount Countians and to an entrepreneurial spirit as individuals still are willing to open new businesses.

It is more important than ever to shop locally, keeping tax dollars at home and helping local merchants.

By working together, we are making a very good community even better.