West Blount Fire District Board appointed, solid waste plan approved

BLOUNT COUNTY COMMISSION

In its business meeting Monday, the Blount County Commission appointed the five-member board, as mandated by state law, to guide the newly formed West Blount Fire and Emergency Services District. The district was authorized by vote of the people in the Nov. 3 general election this year, capping a period of more than a year of intensive work by members and supporters of the fire department board of trustees to inform citizens of fire district benefits.

Appointed to serve staggered terms on the board were Tim Sosebee, one year; Greg Reid, two years; Delores Fort, three years; Robert J. Manney, four years; and Marty Stover, five years.

Commission Chairman Chris Green congratulated Delores Fort, who represented the current West Blount Volunteer Fire Department Board, for the lengthy and successful public information and getout the-vote campaign for the fire district.

“There is a lot of work left to do,” she said.“We ask that people be patient and give us time to do this job.” She added that creating the fire district does not mean having a paid fire department immediately, adding that that is one of the board’s longer-range goals.

She said the next step will be the first meeting of the newly-appointed board. The meeting will be Dec. 16 at Hayden Town Hall at 7 p.m. She said the public is invited to attend.

Speaking of the economics of the new district, Dick Brown, representing the Smoke Rise Homeowners Association, said that without a fire district, he would have sustained a $400 increase in his property insurance premiums. He said that places the $150 he will pay in mandatory annual fire dues in proper perspective, in light of the additional $400 premium he will not have to pay.

Solid Waste Plan Approved

The commission approved by resolution the updated and rewritten 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan as specified by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), following a brief public hearing. The plan projects wastes that will be generated by the county over the next 10 years, based on population projections, and specifies how they are to be disposed.

Celeste Lachenmyer, president for Environment Services Associates who prepared the plan, said it provides the county more flexibility than the former plan in that certain anticipated changes may be made without the necessity of formally amending the plan and holding an additional public hearing on them.

Dual resolutions for water improvement project

The commission also passed separate resolutions selecting an engineering firm and a project management firm to manage and oversee a project providing public water to three areas of the county: Huffstutler Road, Frost Road and Frost Drive. The combined project is funded by a Community Development Block Grant for water system improvements benefitting primarily low and moderate income households.

Selected were Nelson Engineering Associates of Gardendale to perform engineering services and Community Consultants of Huntsville to provide project management and administrative services for the project. Both firms were the only bidders on their functions in connection with the project.

EDC hires probate office employee Lisa Baker

The commission formalized by unanimous vote an agreement with the Economic Development Council (EDC) to hire current probate office employee Lisa Baker full time as community development coordinator with the EDC, effective the first of the year. Salary and associated expenses will be paid from the county economic development fund, with the EDC to reimburse all expenses to the county. Subsequent budget amendments to allow for those expenses and reimbursement were approved in the motion.

Animal treatment plan

The commission voted unanimously to authorize the county administrator to negotiate an agreement with Blount Animal Clinic to provide treatment services to animals at the county Animal Adoption Center, with costs to be offset by charges for animals adopted such that the result would be improved animal health at break-even cost to the county. The commission chairman was authorized by the same motion to execute the agreement and approve subsequent budget amendments to reflect revenues and expenditures.

2015 holiday schedule

The commission approved the following 2015 holiday schedule for county employees:

New Year’s Day Thursday, Jan. 1
Martin Luther King Jr./ Monday, Jan. 19
Robert E. Lee’s Birthday
President’s Day Monday, Feb. 16
Confederate Memorial Day Monday, April 27
National Memorial Day Monday, May 25
Jefferson Davis Birthday Monday, June 1
Independence Day Friday, July 3
Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7
Columbus Day Monday, Oct. 12
Veterans Day Wednesday, Nov. 11
Thanksgiving Holiday Thursday, Nov. 26
Friday, Nov. 27
Christmas Holiday Thursday, Dec. 24
Friday, Dec. 25

In other actions, the commission approved:

• accepting bids of $858 for a trailer and $1,089 for a Ford truck offered by District 4.

• declaring surplus four Blount County Transit System buses, described as asset numbers 7962, 7914, 7728, and 7963; and authorizing the county administrator to sell by the most appropriate means – sealed bid, public auction, or Internet bid.

No reports were made by the county engineer or county attorneys.

Quorum and next meetings

All commissioners and the commission chairman were present at Monday’s public meeting: District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong; District 2 Commissioner Carthal Self; District 3 Commissioner Dean Calvert; District 4 Commissioner Gary Stricklin; and Green.

The January commission work session will be held Thursday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. The January commission business meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 12 at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be in the commission boardroom at the courthouse in Oneonta.