Mims re-elected as commission chairman

Published 2:50 pm Monday, November 14, 2011

Tim Mims was re-elected Monday as chairman of the Chilton County Commission, and he and the rest of the commissioners will likely face the same issues in 2012 they have dealt with the past several years.

The commission voted on its next chairman at its last meeting, on Oct. 24, but the matter was tabled because of a 3-3 gridlock along party lines.

Mims picked up a vote Monday from Greg Moore, a fellow Republican who was absent from the last meeting.

“It’s a job I enjoy, and I appreciate the support of my fellow commissioners,” said Mims, who will serve as chairman for the fourth consecutive year. “We have, I feel like, one of the best commissions that has ever served in Chilton County.”

In a show of support for Mims, the commission asked that their vote be entered into the minutes as a unanimous decision.

Moore, Allen Caton and Joe Headely originally voted for Mims, as did the candidate himself. Democrats Bobby Agee, Heedy Hayes and “Red” Turnipseed voted for Hayes.

Caton was unanimously elected to serve as vice-chairman.

The election of a chairman was the commission’s final order of business. Conversations earlier in the regularly scheduled meeting made it clear what the body would focus on in the coming year.

State Sen. Cam Ward and Rep. Kurt Wallace attended the meeting at the commission’s request and discussed the county’s need for additional funding.

The legislators said they would continue trying to funnel grants to Chilton County—as they did with a $9,271 grant for severe weather sirens upgrades from CAWACO Resource, Conservation and Development Council presented during the meeting—but were less committal about introducing a bill that would allow Chilton County residents to vote on the implementation of a 1-cent sales tax increase, presumably to go toward road improvements.

Ward and Wallace said they were not opposed to such legislation but would want a resolution from the commission showing that all or at least most of the commissioners were in favor of the measure.

“I’m not going to stand in county government’s way,” said Ward (R-Alabaster). “I’m not here to be an obstructionist or tell you how to do your job.”

Wallace (R-Maplesville), who as a member of the House of Representatives would introduce a bill, added: “You give me that resolution, and I’ll make a decision at that point.”

Ward and Wallace said they didn’t know beforehand what commissioners wanted to discuss and would like time to study the issue before making any commitments.

As if making the point about the need for additional funding, several residents of Autauga County Road 108 and Chilton County Road 441 were first to address the commission Monday, about a bridge that has been closed.

The bridge is located in Chilton County, though most of the road winds through Autauga.

The residents were told there is not enough money to fix the bridge in the near future and were given an estimate of four to eight years because the bridge is fourth on a list of structures that need to be replaced.

“I don’t have the money in my budget to replace any of them,” County Engineer Tony Wearren said and added it would take about $175,000 to replace the bridge in question.

The commission did decide to spend some money, voting to borrow about $250,000 through a United States Department of Agriculture loan to replace the leaky roof at the Chilton/Clanton Public Library.

The loan will carry a 3.375 interest rate, said Turnipseed, who has worked on the project.

Hayes and Headley opposed the motion. Hayes said he wanted additional information before voting in favor of the roof replacement.

In other business, the commission:

•Appointed Larry Hayes and Edwin Petty to the Chilton County Airport Authority board. Petty was already on the board and was recommended by his peers, along with Mark Conradi. But Larry Hayes was elected to Conradi’s seat by the vote of four commissioners (Hayes, Caton, Mims and Turnipseed). Also in the running for both seats was Dale Wade, who addressed the commission about her desire to be included in the running.

•Allowed Wearren to seek funding through the Alabama Department of Transportation for improvements to County Road 42 in Jemison because of a planned expansion by Alabama Washer and Oven Company located there.

•Allowed Sheriff Kevin Davis to hire David Williams for a narcotics officer position to replace an officer switching from full-time to part-time.

•Renewed an agreement with Jefferson State Community College where the institute gives the county a grant for police officers’ overtime pay that comes from working traffic duty.

•Decided to have a dead tree near the courthouse cut down, and the stump grinded, for $175.

•Allowed the Chilton County Extension Office to plant a tree and do some additional landscaping work at its building.

•Renewed a lease on a commission office copy machine.

•Renewed a federal transit funding agreement for the Chilton County Transit Authority.