Commission approves funding for Economic Development Council

The Blount County Commission, by means of a unanimous resolution, approved initial funding of $15,000 for the Blount County Economic Development Council in its monthly business meeting Monday.

The action follows the commission resolution of Dec. 9, 2013, creating the council and the filing of a Certificate of Formation for the council with the state about three months later. The preliminary allocation was given to the council to help cover expenses as it enters a phase of fundraising as well as orientation and training to carry out its mission.

Fifteen board members have been appointed and officers have been elected, with Clyde Woods serving as chairman, Kelley Cochran- Stone as vice-chairman, Lisa Wester as secretary, and Danny Kelly as treasurer. The goals of the council, in the words of the resolution, are “to promote industry, commercial development, and trade; render aid and encouragement in the economic development of Blount County; and to assist the governing bodies of Blount County in their economic development efforts.” Other actions

In other actions, the commission:

• authorized the commission chairman to enter into an agreement to provide $6,500 to the Broadway Group LLC for road access improvements for a new Dollar General store at the intersection of U.S. 231 and Dow Drive, about 2.5 miles east of Oneonta.

• approved the Community Corrections Plan for fiscal year 2015; the Community Corrections Program is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation; it is not funded by the county commission, but is required to submit its operating plan annually to the commission before final approval by the Department of Corrections, according to its director Daryl Wheeler.

• approved a request from Republic Services to be released from its bid award and contract obligation to provide garbage pickup services in District 1; pickup services in District 1 will continue to be provided by Blount Waste Services, though not under contract with the county.

• approved mailing the annual bid for county products and services, to be opened and awarded July 29, at 9 a.m. in the commission boardroom at the courthouse.

• appointed county administrator Zac Marsh as alternate board member for the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A).

• adopted a resolution to allow the Douglas Water Authority, which has a small service area in Blount County, to amend its Articles of Incorporation to allow board members to be compensated, in addition to actual expenses, $300 per meeting attended, not to exceed $3,600 per year, with the chairman to receive $4,000 per meeting, not to exceed $4,800 per year, in conformance with state law.

• approved a 90-day threshold (study period) requirement for Affordable Care Act purposes to identify by actual hours worked (1) part-time employees who average working more than 29 hours per week, and (2) full-time employees who work less than sufficient hours according to their job description to qualify as full time – both cases having to do with qualifying (or not) for full-time employee benefits, including healthcare incentive pay; authorized the human resources manager to update the personnel policy manual accordingly.

• approved purchase of pickup truck on state bid contract for $25,835 for District 3. Budget amendments

• approved a budget amendment for District 2 for a $50,000 advance on District 2 road funds from 2015 fiscal year budget, to be repaid following adoption of 2015 budget in September; purpose is to allow completion of paving on Mt. Carmel Road.

• approved the following routine budget amendments:

• District 1: Town of Hayden, $1,171.45; Progress Rail, $947.97; sale of fixed asset, $851.

• District 2: Heritage Crystal Clean, $17.50; Progress Rail, $674; Town of Blountsville, $1,930.50.

• District 3: Town of Highland Lake, $842.64; Town of Highland Lake, $969.95.

• District 4: Town of Locust Fork, $2,584.25; Progress Rail, $1,065.27; Town of Rosa, $413.97; Town of Rosa, $448.68. Engineering items

County engineer Winston Sitton reported on the status of county Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) road projects. He said paving work on county road 27 should be completed this week. The bid for paving on the remaining half of county road 1 (Allgood to the county road 33 intersection) is due to be let on July 25, with work to begin perhaps by early fall. Paving contracts on county roads 8, 26, and 29 are set for bid by early fall, with paving to begin next year.

The commission approved the final plat of Parker’s Legacy Subdivision in District 1 off county highway 5, one of the first subdivisions to be submitted for approval since the beginning of the recession of 2007. Commissioner remarks

District 4 Commissioner Gary Stricklin thanked other commissioners for their assistance in completing his 2014 paving schedule, involving 10 roads and about 13 miles of paving. He said he is within about a week of completing the schedule. Stricklin is the only one of four commissioners to submit and complete an annual district paving program this year.

District 3 commissioner Dean Calvert reported that the process of removing storm debris from Highland Lake (from the April 28 tornado) was completed last week, and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) road debris removal process is now officially complete. Quorum and future meetings

All commissioners and the commission chairman, county attorney, county engineer and county administrator were present at the July business meeting Monday. The next commission work session is Thursday, Aug. 7, at 9 a.m. The next commisssion business meeting is Monday, Aug. 11, at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be in the commission boardroom in the courthouse in Oneonta. Budget meetings

A budget planning meeting will immediately follow the Aug. 7 commission work session. The public may attend. Budget planning meetings are tentatively planned for Aug. 14 and Aug. 28, as well. Both are scheduled for 9 a.m. at the courthouse in the commission conference room. These meetings, occurring earlier than the normal September weekly budget meetings, may permit the adoption of the 2015 fiscal year budget before the normal end-of-September deadline.