"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jackson County Commission - Economic Development Authority (EDA) Appointment

Jackson County Courthouse (photo by G. Morgan)

This afternoon was a regular meeting of the Jackson County Commission. (photo by G. Morgan)

The big stories involve Commissioner Clemmons.

Item C on the agenda involved the elimination of the License Inspector position and the Solid Waste Enforcement Officer position. Both positions are to be consolidated into a Revenue Officer position. The position should be a "Compliance Officer" position much like Marshall County and other counties in the State of Alabama, reference:  http://www.marshallco.org/personnel/jobdescriptions/970%20-%20COMPLIANCE%20OFFICER.htm

Clemmons claimed the consolidation of the two positions would save the county between $50,000 and $80,000.  Also, the motion made by Clemmons included hiring of two Revenue Clerks. However, there were no questions from the other commissioners concerning benefits and retirement costs related to the 3 new positions.  The motion received a second and was approved with one no vote from Commissioner Smith.  Smith stated, "you are sitting up rules for a new commission. We should wait and allow the new commission to make the decision."  The action will become effective on July 1, 2012.

Item G on the agenda involved the appointment of an Economic Development Authority board member. Unfortunately Commissioner Clemmons appointed himself. This was reminiscent of the Jackson County Park Board. Apparently something went afoul in the prior dealings concerning the appointment. Decisions and deliberations were being considered prior to the commission meeting but sometime between noon and 4:30 PM the situation changed.
District 4 Commissioner Horrace Clemmons. (photo by G. Morgan)

Problems on the Jackson County Economic Development Authority Board?  Sources involved in this matter state, "there are issues relating to accountability at the Economic Development Authority." Apparently the move to place Clemmons on the EDA was a move to gain some sort of accountability relative to the EDA Director, say sources involved in this issue.  The appropriate question concerning the EDA and alleged accountability issues, "truth, fallacy or pay back?"

The EDA Director has the support of 4 members of the EDA Board;  sources state, "regardless of the situation 4 members will support the director. The problem rests with failed accountability of the Director and some on the Board of Directors who will support the Director regardless."  Maybe Mr. Clemmons would be a beneficial addition to the EDA. His business sense would certainly benefit the EDA.
EDA Director Dus Rogers, left, chats with State Senator Shad McGill during a ground breaking ceremony. (photo by G. Morgan)

In other Business: 1) The county Administrators Contract was renewed. 2) Marvin Barnes resignation from Public Works was approved. 3) Donation to the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama was approved for $1000. This action serves a public purpose and is contingent on a letter stating the number of meals served at the Boys & Girls Club of Jackson County in Scottsboro. 4) HVAC bid was awarded to W.J. O'Neil & Co. 5) Jackson County Commission employee  Ida McClendon's retirement was approved effective June 1, 2012. 6) Agenda addition - Federal Grant cost share was approved for county bridge project. Dollar amount stated by the County Engineer was $483,000; county's share being $93,000.

June 4th will be a State Holiday,  the courthouse will be closed for Jefferson Davis's Birthday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scottsboro City Hall Flag Ceremony

Scottsboro City Hall Flag Ceremony. Flag lowering and posting ceremony at Scottsboro's City Hall. Flag Retirement Ceremony this weekend at Fairgrounds. Pictures and info at http://garrylmorgan.blogspot.com/

"The annual  Flag Retirement Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 26,2012 at 10 a.m. at the Jackson County Fairgrounds sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 220 and Troop 18, American Legion Post 30, VFW Post 6073 and the Scottsboro Fire Department. Scottsboro City Council president Matthew Hodges will serve as Master of Ceremony for the event. Jack Livingston will be the guest speaker. If you have a soiled or damaged American Flag or for more information contact Gordon Hodges at 256-575-9012."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

This weeks council report is courtesy of the Daily Sentinel as I was out of town on Monday.

The big story, "CDA Board Requests Money:" "This is something we need to bring to your attention," CDA board chairman Scott Berry told city council members Monday during a work session...Berry asked the council to consider giving the board $15,000 per budget year. In the meantime, he requested temporary funding of $10,000." 
Read more at-

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scottsboro City Council - Jackson County Commission Report

Scottsboro City Council Regular Meeting
1) Resolution for Council on Aging transportation funds. This is a funding match from the State of Alabama, the Scottsboro City Council approved  $60,460. 2) Resolution to approve a purchase of a vehicle for the City Planning and Inspection Department. A SUV was approved for purchase costing $32,334.70 off of the State bid list. There was no mention of where the vehicle was to be purchased or the make of the vehicle. 3) Resolution approved to sale surplus Street Department equipment locally as scrap. 4) Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board/Goose Pond Colony Board appointment - out of 6 candidates for the position, one was nominated and unanimously approved, Mr. Matt Lockmiller.
Mr Matt Lockmiller was selected for a 6 year term on the Goose Pond Colony Park Board by the city council. (photo by G. Morgan)
5) 5 police vehicles were declared as surplus due to high milage and frequent breakdowns. 6) Councilman Thermon Bell appointed Mr. Doug Bryant to the Airport Advisory Board. 7) Due to the Memorial Day Holiday the May 28 regular city council meeting is moved to May 21, 2012.
Reports: Don't forget the Catfish Festival this weekend at the Jackson County Park beginning Friday May 18, 2012; information plus other area attractions.
Daily Sentinel city council report:  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_5226b7ca-9ee2-11e1-9c45-001a4bcf887a.html
Jackson County Commission Regular Meeting
1) Consent Agenda items were approved for: a) $2185 to Coosa Valley Youth Services, April 2012; b) $2737.50 to Tennessee Valley Family Services, April 2012. 2) Resolution approved for the Council on Aging to dispose of 2 surplus vehicles on GovDeals.com. 3) 3 temporary hires were approved for the County Park, Justin Hoff and James Lankford were approved for the 2 laborer positions. Connie Whitded was approved for an office staff position. 4) Resolution approved for a Haul Truck replacement per request of the County Engineer. 5) May is declared as Foster Care Month by the commission in recognition of Foster Parents, more information: http://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/  6) Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday Declaration: July 6-8, 2012 - more info  http://blog.al.com/bargain-mom/2012/05/alabamas_1st_sales_tax_holiday.html  7) School supplies sales tax holiday approved, August 3-5, 2012  8) Approval of travel expenses for the County Tax Assessor to attend the Alabama Tax Administrators Association Summer conference June 17-21st 2012 9) Motion to approve the County Administrators contract was tabled. 10) a) $12,400.20 was approved for Paint Rock Valley Senior Center Walking Trail lighting which will be paid from Commissioner Clemmons salary. b)  Scottsboro City Schools Leadership Program funding approved for $14,859.00 which will also be paid from Commissioner Clemmons salary. Commissioner Clemmons donates his county commissioner salary to governmental projects in Jackson County. 11) The next Commission regular meeting moved to May 29, 2012 due to Memorial Day on May 28, 2012.  Daily Sentinel report of commission Meeting:  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_64cb013c-9ee3-11e1-a586-001a4bcf887a.html

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Work Session and Railroad Crossing Public Hearing

Monday May 7, 2012 was a Scottsboro City Council work session. Agenda is listed below, click on image for an expanded view.

1) The Owens Rd issue was not discussed. 2) Mr. Bob Mellert suggested a name change of Jefferson Drive to Hero Drive in reconition of veterans and first responders. 3) Public Transportation request discussion - $60,164 is the annual budget amount set aside for the Rural Transportation Program. 4) Discussion concerning surplus property at the police department. 5 vehicles, breaking down frequently - 3 Ford Crown Victoria's and 2 chevrolet Impala's; 2001 - 2005 models, all over 100K, some 200K for milage. 5) Street Department surplus property discussion, some can only be scraped out due to mechanical failure - fork lift, air compressor and auto lift. 6) Six candidates have applied for the Goose Pond Colony Board position, decision to be made at next Mondays regular meeting. 8) Electric power board applicant discussion.


A Public Hearing was conducted concerning closing the Railroad Crossing at North Broad Street due to a request from Norfolk Southern Railroad. Two persons spoke, Mr. Howard Hill and Mr. Garry Morgan.

The railroad crossing at North Broad Street, Market Street and Kyle Street are dangerous due to a high incline. Tractor and Trailer vehicles should never use any of the 3 crossings listed as they are unsafe for towed vehicles. Crossing warnings - "No Entry To Tractor and Trailer Vehicle" signs are present at one crossing, North Broad St.,  but no signs on Market and Kyle Street's  railroad crossings.

An accident involving a train derailment blocking Maple Street where hazardous cargo is involved has the possibility of isolating the North side community from emergency vehicle access or evacuation if required. City Council members stated they would need to work on an Emergency Response Plan in the event of an accident blocking crossings from North Cedar Hill Dr. to Tupelo Pike. Obstructed crossings results in an extended emergency response time. Travel from 5 Points via East Willow St. to  Ridgedale Dr. to Tupelo Pike back to Maple St. at Tupelo Pike is 11 minutes.

A train derailment blocking Maple Street with a hazardous materials spill could lead to catastrophic consequences for the North Side Community. There are no Emergency entry or exits to or from the north side if Maple Street is blocked and Cedar Hill Dr., North Houston St., Market or Kyle Streets were obstructed.

Daily Sentinel links on this issue:

 North side approach to railroad crossing, North Broad Street. Note sign on the left, "No Tractor and Trailer Trucks."

Another photo displaying a closer look at the angle and short approach and departure on the north side of the North Broad Street railroad crossing.

The North Broad Street Clossing should not have a bearing on Emergency Planning related to the North Side Community. Emergency Preparidness must take precedent involving this issue.

The crossings are hazardous and emergency planning is lacking.
South side approach to the North Broad Street crossing. Note the sign to the right, "No Tractor and Trailer Vehicles." No doubt the steep approaches and short departure ramps to a parallel roadway to the rail tracks is dangerous.

Looking west to the N. Broad St. crossing from Maple and Market St. intersection. North Broad Street is the next crossing shown to the west.

 North Kyle Street south side crossing. There are no tractor and trailer warning signs.
North Kyle Street north side crossing.  There are no tractor-trailer warning signs.

North Market Street south side approach crossing. There are no tractor and trailer warning signs. The north side departure is steep and short due to the parallel road to the railroad. This is a hazardous railroad crossing with no warning signals or signs prohibiting tractor trailer vehicles.

THERE ARE TWO DISTINCT ISSUES: 1) Closing of hazardous and dangerous railroad crossings. 2) Emergency Preparedness relating to the North Side Community of Scottsboro. A rail accident in Scottsboro could isolate the North side Community. This could be an extremely dangerous scenario if Maple Street is blocked and the downtown crossings are obstructed.