Commission has prospective land for new courthouse

Published 11:46 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission entered into two Memorandums of Understanding, for two adjacent pieces of land that could be the future site of the new Chilton County Courthouse during it March 14 meeting. The first MOU was with the city of Clanton and Mayor Jeff Mims for eight acres of land on Alabama Highway 145.

An MOU is a document that outlines an agreement that two or more parties have reached. It is not a finalized document stating the deal is done, but more of a master plan and a formal gentlemen’s agreement.

The county and the city will be switching properties with the county acquiring the land for the new courthouse, and the city will require the old courthouse building. Commissioner Joseph Parnell asked if the commission was entering an abiding agreement with the city of Clanton, and if the commission would potentially lose its current courthouse prematurely. Chairman Jimmie Hardee assured him that would not happen because the agreement states the county has seven years to complete the construction of the new courthouse.

A second MOU to enter into an agreement to buy the adjacent property next to the city property was made. Buying that property will give the county 13 acres of land to construct their new courthouse on. The resolution to enter into the MOU with the adjacent landowner was approved 5-1, and Commissioner Allen Williams was opposed. Commissioner Matthew Mims was absent from the meeting.

Williams brought a new motion to the commission concerning County Road 161 that stated “I move that we advised our road department to remove any obstructions from CR 163, CR 161, CR 154, and open them back up to the public.”

Bone seconded the motion to open discussion. Hardee and Parnell both stated that the commission needs to get more solid facts before moving forward in either direction. However, all of the commissioners agreed they want to do the right things for all parties involved and go through the proper processes.

Williams’ motion failed 4-2 with Joe Headley, Kelley, Parnell and Hardee voting against it. Bone and Williams voted in favor.

Hardee made a motion after that vote that “we table this and do a thorough investigation with the help of our attorney to make sure we are going in the right direction.”

A 30-day time period was agreed on to investigate it further, then it will be revisited after the 30 days. This resolution was approved with a 5-1 vote, and Williams voted against it.

Nominations to fill a position in the Central Alabama Wellness Board was held, and CAW requested that Jason Calhoun be re-appointed to the position. Parnell nominated Calhoun as well. Nominations for the position will remain open for two more meetings before the position will be voted on and filled at the April 11 meeting.

Parnell requested that Hardee work with Chilton County Litter Agent Libby Ratliff and the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office to potentially request a way for Ratliff to write citations for illegal dumping in the county. Hardee agreed he would look into the request.

Also, during the meeting, the commission:

  • Reclassify Stacy Wyatt as the Chief Clerk and move Cody Johnson into Stacey’s position.
  • Approved Tiffanee Thornton as the public records coordinator.
  • Approved the purchase of a new self-supporting tower and a few battery back-ups for other preexisting towers for the P25 county-wide emergency communications system.
  • Approved correcting the emergency hire of the Higgins Ferry assistant park ranger from Michelle Madison to Madison Orr.