Commission plans to host work session Feb. 19

Published 3:23 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Chilton County Commission plans to host an economic development work session Feb. 19 at the Alabama Power Conference Center at 5:30 p.m.

Commissioners discussed the work session during the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. This is one of a series of work sessions the commission has scheduled within recent months to have an open forum with local officials, elected leaders and residents interested in seeing Chilton County move forward.

“This meeting scheduled for Feb. 19 will be where we really start putting our plan together,” Commissioner Joseph Parnell said. “This is where we will really be able to discuss where we see ourselves heading.”

Parnell told commissioners members of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, the Chilton County Industrial Development Board and elected officials will meet with Ephraim Stockdale, a facilitator provided by Alabama Power, who will help create a short-term and long-term plan for growth in the county.

On Jan. 28, commissioners hosted a work session with Cullman’s Economic Development Agency director Peggy Smith, who shared different experiences and ideas related to Cullman’s growth in recent years.

Although there is a distance between Chilton County and Cullman County, Parnell said on Monday there are many similarities between the two counties.

“We could really learn a lot from what they have been able to do in their county,” Parnell said.

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided at 5 p.m. on Feb. 19, and the work session will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Commission Chairman Allen Caton told commissioners Parnell spoke on Feb. 3 at the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the “state of the county.”

“Joseph really did this county proud,” Caton said. “He did an excellent job speaking.”

In other news, the commission:

•Heard from Chilton County resident Robert Binion regarding several pothole issues at the end of County Road 365. Binion asked commissioners to consider fixing the potholes. Commissioners told Binion the issues would be looked into by the county road department.

•Heard from Binion regarding the need for more diversity within county offices at the Chilton County Courthouse. Binion told commissioners he was concerned with the lack of black representation in many of the offices.

•Approved a request by the road department to hire a motor grader operator.

•Scheduled a special meeting for March 16 at 5 p.m. for the purpose of meeting with the Clanton City Council and the Chilton County Industrial Development Board to discuss possibly buying some land. Chilton County Industrial Development Coordinator Fred Crawford requested the meeting be held in an executive session, which is not open to the public.

•Heard from Caton regarding an update about a bridge on County Road 441 that some residents were requesting be fixed by the county. Caton said he learned the bridge was actually located in Autauga County and Chilton County would not be responsible for working on the bridge.

•Voted to allow Caton the authority to sign an understanding that the county will work temporarily on fixing certain areas of the Chilton Interstate Park, which is being marketed for future business projects. The site has about 232 acres of land, which is mostly private property, but Crawford told commissioners he would like to show interested developers the property and needs some of the overgrown brush to be cleared.

•Tabled a discussion regarding a contract between Minooka Park and the Jemison Police Department for security at the park. The contract has expired, and commissioners would like to discuss the possibility of having the sheriff’s department provide security at the park.

•Voted to give Chilton County Transit Authority Director Jessica Carter money appropriated from the state to her budget retroactive of Oct. 1, 2014.

•Approved Erica Thomas to be hired as a part-time employee at the Chilton County Jail effective Feb. 9.

•Approved Shelby Lockhart and Austin Carr to work at the Chilton County Jail part-time effective Feb. 3.

•Approved a resolution re-appointing Elmore Hicks to the Chilton County Water Authority board. Commissioners also decided to not change the way they handle decisions regarding appointing individuals to certain boards. The topic was brought up to consider re-appointing and appointing individuals to various boards during the same meeting as opposed to delaying the decisions over a period of two weeks. Some commissioners said they liked the way things were handled while others said it didn’t make sense to delay the decisions. Ultimately, commissioners decided to continue with the practice they have always followed. In most cases, individuals are nominated for re-appointment or appointment to a board during a commission meeting, and commissioners have the option to formally vote on that nomination at the following commission meeting.