Due to a meeting conflict in Montgomery, the Blount County Commission delayed the commission business meeting scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9, until Thursday, Jan. 12, at 9 a.m. The work session is devoted to discussing matters which may be scheduled for commission action in the business meeting. Matters discussed in the work session are not officially disposed until the commission votes to approve or reject them in the business meeting.
Among the guests addressing the commission were attorney Brett King, Sheriff Loyd Arrington, Rusty Gaines, Richard Brown, and Dave Dunlap.
King, appointed last year to represent Blount County on the Birmingham Water Works Board, reported that he had been seated on the board as scheduled. He reported to the commission that a new chairman, Sherry Lewis, had been elected, and said he had engaged in positive conversations with her. His immediate impression of prospects for the board and its future direction is optimistic, he said.
Arrington asked the commission to consider two bills for referral to the Blount County legislative delegation to introduce in the upcoming session. One bill would permit him to sell confiscated property, rather than have it accumulate uselessly, taking up space which is at a premium. He said most of the property would be of value only as scrap.
The second bill would be to establish minimum qualifications for the position of sheriff in Alabama. It would require any candidate for sheriff to be 25 years old, to have served as a law enforcement officer for at least three years, to be a resident of the county for at least one year, and to not have been convicted of a felony. Arrington said there is a recent precedent for a felon serving as sheriff in Alabama. The commission discussed aspects of the bill that might have a bearing on possible legislation.
Rusty Gaines addressed the commission to inquire into the status of replacing Gaines Road Bridge.
Richard Brown, who has represented the Smoke Rise Homeowners Association as ombudsman to the commission, told them he is retiring from that role after several years of diligent monitoring. He thanked the commission for their efforts to answer his occasional questions, and introduced his successor, Roger Hart.
Dave Dunlap, representing American Fidelity, addressed the commission to present a pricing option for county employees to buy additional life insurance coverage at low cost.
2017 paving plan
In the engineering portion of the work session, county engineer Winston Sitton handed out a chart showing the first installment of county roads to be paved with proceeds from the Moving Blount County Forward tax referendum passed by vote of Blount County citizens in November. It appears below. While three roads are shown for each district, Sitton said only two of the three will be paved in 2017. The third will automatically roll over to 2018, he said. The reason for including the third road for each district is in case something should cause one of the other two to be re-scheduled, necessitating a substitute in order to maintain the two-per-district plan.
Moving Blount County Forward
2017 Paving Priorities
County Road 4
(Rickwood Caverns Road)
County Road 7
County Road 43
(Wallstown Road and part of Armstrong Loop)
County Road 21
(Slab Creek Drive)
County Road 14
(Stancer Bridge Road)
County Road 10
(Putman Mountain Road)
County Road 28
County Road 29
County Road 12
(Appalachian School Road)
County Road 33
County Road 13
(Crooked Shoal Road)
County Road 57
(Berry Mountain Road)
Other agenda items
The commission covered a number of agenda items, scheduling at least 14 for a vote of the commission during the upcoming business meeting. Subjects included:
• four resolutions – three honoring individuals and one necessitated by grant requirements
• purchasing software enhancements for the outdoor siren weather warning system
• agreements with financial services firms for additional security services
• authorizing required actuarial services
• approving production of Moving Blount County Forward project signs
• approving five budget amendments
• approving purchase of needed equipment to support road improvement.
The commission also scheduled an executive session for Thursday to discuss rising inmate medical costs at the Blount County Jail.