Commission receives hospital update

Published 3:18 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Chilton County Commission received an update during the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday regarding the new hospital in Chilton County.

Commissioner Shannon Welch gave an update to commissioners regarding the Chilton County Health Care Authority and St. Vincent’s Health System announcing a formal agreement for St. Vincent’s to operate the under-construction hospital in Chilton County.

“We are officially married to St. Vincent’s for 29 years,” Welch said.

Welch also told commissioners a groundbreaking ceremony has been planned for the hospital on Oct. 8.

“There will be formal invitations sent out, but this is something we are all excited about,” Welch said.

St. Vincent’s will operate a 30-bed facility that should open in fall 2016 and include a 24/7 emergency department, surgical services, diagnostics, inpatient care, intensive care and other services.

The operation will be called St. Vincent’s Chilton.

The county will maintain ownership of the facility, as construction is being funded through a 1-cent sales tax increase approved by Chilton County voters.

Welch said during the commission meeting that an official time for the groundbreaking ceremony had not been set, but further details would be released in the coming weeks.

Commissioners also heard from Chilton County United Way Executive Director Shelly Mims, who requested permission from commissioners to reach out to departments within the county and ask for tax-deductible donations.

The 2016 fundraising goal for Chilton County United Way is $170,000.

Mims told commissioners the organization serves as a way to give back to the community.

Some of the agencies supported by United Way include Chilton County Emergency Assistance Center, Chilton County YMCA, SPAN of Chilton County, American Red Cross, Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center and the Chilton County Board of Education.

Mims also asked commissioners to consider donating to the campaign as well.

Welch moved to allow Mims to approach various departments within the county.

Everyone voted in favor of the motion.

In other news, the commission:

•Approved a request from county engineer Tony Wearren to hire from a pool of truck drivers that he is currently taking applications on, when advertising time has expired, for a driver who resigned.

•Awarded a series of bids for the 2015-2016 fiscal year including gasoline to Thomas Oil, diesel to Thomas Oil, liquid asphalt to Hunt Refining, cold mix to AAP, hot mix to Wiregrass, corrugated metal pipe to ACME and road signs to Traffic Signs.

•Approved a request from Tax Assessor Rex Cleckler to hire Rita Jordan, effective Sept. 16, to fill a vacancy in the Mapping and Appraisal Office.

•Approved a request by Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon to declare four vehicles as surplus. The vehicles include a 1999 Crown Victoria, a 2008 Dodge Charger, a 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe.

•Approved a request from Shearon to add Kevin Littleton as a full-time employee to fill a vacancy at the jail.

•Approved a request from Jessie Carter with the Chilton County Transit to promote Mary Mims to a full-time driver to fill a vacancy. Carter also requested the commission hire James Smith as a part-time driver to fill a vacancy, and advertise and hire a dispatcher and full-time driver to fill vacancies.

•Approved membership dues for the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham in the amount of $17,941.

•Voted to adopt subdivision regulations as approved by a subdivision regulations committee.

•Heard from Robert Binion, who spoke to commissioners regarding the lack of diversity on county boards.

•Heard from Larry Hayes, who asked commissioners for an update regarding a bridge replacement project on County Road 352. Commission Chairman Allen Caton told Hayes the county was waiting to hear from the state regarding the project.

•Heard from Ted Wilson who spoke to commissioners regarding an increase in traffic on County Road 350.

•Heard from Chris Johnson with the C.W. Johnson Education Foundation Inc. who operates radio stations in the county including WPJN. Johnson requested the commission to allow WPJN to place a small microwave antenna on the Chilton County Courthouse antenna to get a link to the studio in Jemison. Commissioners learned the antenna Johnson was wanting to put the connection on is owned by Chilton County E-911 and the request would have to be approved by the E-911 board. Commissioners voted to pay the power bill for the connection if E-911 approves the motion.

•Tabled a discussion regarding the closing of a portion of County Road 238 until the Sept. 28 commission meeting. At the Aug. 24 meeting, commissioner Joe Headley told commissioners he spoke with residents who lived on the road who were requesting a portion of the road be closed.

Headley told commissioners he got signatures of everyone who lives on the road and notarized it, saying the residents want the road closed. Headley did not elaborate why the residents wanted the road closed, but commissioners voted in favor of allowing the road closure to be advertised. A resident showed up on Monday saying he did not want the road to be closed. It is a customary procedure for commissioners to hold a public hearing for road closures after the advertisement has run for four weeks. If any individual shows opposition to the road being closed, commissioners usually vote against closing it. Headley said he wanted to table the discussion until the Sept. 28 meeting to find out more information about the situation.