Commission appoints economic development council; tables Blountsville funding request

by Ron Gholson

The Blount County Commission Monday appointed five members to the Blount County Economic Council executive board and announced nine more members appointed by various stakeholder groups. One representative remains to be appointed by members themselves.

The Economic Development Council was formed as a non-profit corporation by action of the commission at its December 2013 meeting, when it passed a resolution sanctioning the entity and endorsing an advisory draft of articles of incorporation for it.

Members appointed by county commissioners to represent each district are as follows: District 1 Tim Compton, Traditions Bank District 2 Allen Gilliland, Spring Valley Beach District 3 Clyde Woods, businessman and former chamber of commerce executive District 4 Waymon Pitts, former District 4 county commissioner Chairman’s appointee John Brothers, retired bank executive Members appointed by the mayors of municipalities of each district include: District 1 Darren White District 2 Allen Smith District 3 Lisa Wester District 4 Gary McBay

Additional members representing various stakeholder groups include: Kelley Cochran Stone (utilities), Bob Harvey (real estate), Danny Kelly (banking), Tim Whitley (Blount County Farmers Federation appointment), and Evan Ray (Blount County Health Care Authority appointment).

“Creating this council is one of the most monumental things this county will ever do,” said Commission Chairman Chris Green as the appointments were announced.

The commission tabled a request for funding from the Blountsville Business Association. The agency had requested $12,000 over four years to help defray expenses of an infrastructure improvement and expansion project described by Blountsville councilman Dennis Beavers as having an estimated potential payoff of $15 million in economic benefits to the area within a three-year period.

A motion to fund the project was made by District 2 Commissioner Carthal Self. In discussion following District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong’s second of the motion, District 3 Commissioner Dean Calvert moved that the matter be tabled until a later time, suggesting indirectly that the newly created Economic Development Council is the appropriate agency to consider such matters.

Following consultation with county attorneys, it was ruled the commission needed to vote on the motion to table before voting on the primary motion to approve the funding request. A tie vote resulted on the motion to table, with Commissioners Calvert and Gary Stricklin voting in favor, and Commissioners Self and Armstrong opposed. Green broke the tie by voting in favor of tabling the funding request.

The commission approved requesting bids on residential garbage collection in each district, for the haulaway and disposal of garbage received at the convenience center (transfer station), and – as an alternate optional bid item – for the management and operation of the transfer station itself. In other actions, the commission:

•adopted a resolution appointing the county administrator as safety coordinator and the commission human resources manager as co-safety coordinator; the appointments and associated discharge of associated responsibilities will enable the county to receive substantial discounts on insurance costs.

•approved executing an agreement with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) for scrap tire disposal; the agreement will reimburse the county for cleanup of small, illegal dump sites associated with scrap tires.

•approved a request by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) to subdivide a large room in the Frank Green Building into smaller offices, contingent on the work being done under the supervision of building and grounds manager William Blythe and on DHR purchasing the required materials.

•approved use of tobacco products confiscated by the county license inspector by commissioners as an incentive to county inmates for providing labor for county projects.

•approved budget amendment for $694 to the landfill for insurance recovery, to be paid from that account for expenses incurred.

•approved $1,500 to sponsor the North Alabama Youth Rodeo Association, with the Blount County Agri- Business Center as co-sponsor. Appointments and purchases

•appointed Damian Veazey, District 1, to the Blount County Health Care Authority board, replacing Danny Riggs, who resigned.

•tabled the appointment of a replacement for Marsha Beam, who resigned from the Palisades Park board.

•approved the purchase of a Ford Explorer for the Emergency Management Agency from the state bid at a cost of $26,288.

•awarded the bid for a single-axle dump truck for District 2 to Birmingham Freightliner for $61,716.

•approved purchase of a dump bed for a single-axle dump truck for District 2 from the state bid for an amount not to exceed $15,000.

•approved purchase of a diesel generator for not more than $5,000 for the Animal Adoption Center from Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) surplus, subject to approval for capacity and compatibility by the building and grounds manager.

•approved placing a county employee on paid administrative leave for 30 days, following executive session to consider. In other business:

•county attorney Jeff Sherrer reported that the County Line Sewer may be transferred to a non-profit operator without penalty to the commission; however, if transferred to a profit-making entity, the grant money used in its construction must be repaid to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

•Commission Chairman Chris Green announced that the fiscal year 2012 audit report of county operations conducted by the Department of Public Examiners is available in the commission office for review by the public; the report is a “clean” report, he said, with no findings of errors, or recommendations for changes.

All commissioners and the commission chairman were present at the Feb. 10 monthly business meeting.

The next commission work session will be Thursday, March 6, at 9 a.m. The next business meeting will be Monday, March 10, at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be in the commission boardroom at the courthouse in Oneonta.