Commission works to further county economic development

Published 3:53 pm Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chilton County Commissioners are working to further county economic development with plans to hold a second economic work session Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center adjacent to Jefferson State Community College.

Commissioners discussed Tuesday night the success of the October work session where more than 30 people attended the event to discuss county economic development.

“We are excited about where the county is moving,” commissioner Shannon Welch said.

During the work session held Oct. 6, commissioners discussed the possibility of members of the community traveling to places such as Butler County and Cullman to see the success from economic development in those areas.

Welch said on Tuesday that a trip has been scheduled for Nov. 13 at 8:30 a.m. for anyone interested to travel to Greenville in Butler County and meet with officials to see how they furthered growth in their community.

Commissioner Joseph Parnell highlighted the positive movement in the county pointing out the work session on Oct. 6 lasted more than two hours with individuals sharing positive news about things going on throughout the county.

“When I left the work session the other night, I thought about it all week,” Parnell said. “The only thing I think we are doing wrong is not disseminating this information to the public. We could hardly fit into the meeting that night all of the great things going on in our county. The thing we are failing at is our public relations. We have things going on in this county that is something to be proud of, and we need to be telling people about it.”

Welch said the second work session in December would focus on the “nuts and bolts” of what kind of county individuals would like to see Chilton County become.

“We need to sit down and figure out what we would like to be,” Welch said. “What kind of industry do we want to attract?”

As part of furthering county development, commissioners unanimously voted to extend a loan to the Chilton County Airport Authority to buy the first delivery of jet fuel.

Commission Chairman Allen Caton said the Airport Authority board was requesting commissioners consider granting them the loan for the purchase of the fuel with the agreement the money would be paid back within the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Billy Singleton with the Airport Authority said the money earned selling the jet fuel to customers would be paid back to the county.

Earlier this year, the city of Clanton approved installation of a jet fuel system at the airport.

In other news, the commission:

•Heard from county resident Crystal Hickman who spoke to commissioners of her experience as a victim of fraud regarding subdivision property.

Hickman told commissioners she spoke with county engineer Tony Wearren regarding the issue, and wanted to make commissioners aware of her situation.

County Attorney John Hollis Jackson said he would like to meet with Wearren and discuss the issue with plans to report back to the commission in the future.

•Voted to upgrade County Road 51 from a minor collector to a major collector.

•Voted to upgrade County Road 36 from a minor collector to a major collect.

•Voted to give Wearren permission to purchase from the ALDOT surplus yard a 2012 pickup truck.

•Voted to give Wearren permission to purchase a bulldozer from the ALDOT surplus yard, and have an older 1996 bulldozer declared as surplus.

•Voted to allow Chilton County Probate Judge Bobby Martin to elevate a temporary employee to a full-time employee.

Everyone voted in favor except commissioners Bobby Agee and Heedy Hayes who left the meeting early for previous engagements.

•Voted to not accept a two-year car tag plan, per the request from Chilton County Tax Collector Tim Little.

Little spoke to commissioners several weeks ago regarding the possibility of commissioners voting on a bill that would allow the Chilton County Tag Office to sell a two-year car tag.

Caton asked Little his opinion regarding the matter, and Little told commissioners he thought they should vote against it until more information could be provided in the future.

Commissioners unanimously voted to go along with Little’s recommendation of not accepting the two-year car tag plan.

•Voted to approve a heat pump system at Higgins Ferry Park in the amount of $3,900 to come out of the county’s General Fund.

•Approved a resolution from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama opposing Amendment 2 which will appear on the Nov. 4 election ballot. County administrator Connie Powell told commissioners it was her understanding the ACCA was recommending everyone vote no on the proposed amendment. The commission adopted a resolution recommended by the ACCA to show opposition to Amendment 2.

•Met for more than one hour in an executive session at the request of Parnell concerning a pending legal matter.