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Friday, September 6, 2013

Jackson County Commission Work Session and "We want our property back."

Approximately 1.5 acres of property (50ft. by 1320ft. marked on Google map) between South Broad Street and Bob Jones Avenue was deeded to Jackson County in 1966. The County Attorney, John Porter, reported the original owners deeded the property to the county for unknown reasons. The property owners heirs and families are requesting the county return the property to them. Mr. Porter stated to the commission that he would draw up a deed to transfer the property to the original owners which are attempting to sell the property. Mr. Kenneth Looney is serving as the previous owners attorney. (see video below)
My thoughts based on experience and reading: In Alabama any property that is to be disposed of by a government entity, such as Jackson County, must be declared excess. Governmental Real Estate property can not be "given away," it must be sold for fair market value unless there is a stipulation in the deed that the property is to be returned either for non-usage or after a specified time frame. (Section 94 of the Constitution - State of Alabama prohibits giving the property away in aid of an individual or corporation. http://www.legislature.state.al.us/codeofalabama/constitution/1901/toc.HTM  ) It is my understanding that none of the conditions described are contained in the deed.
Mr. Porter briefs county commission on "we want it back" property issue, Commission Chairman Matthew Hodges looks on.
Surplus equipment discussed and Sheriff's Department Uniform bid will be rebid, see video below for full report.
In other business, the commission held a budget hearing for Public Works after the work session. It was disclosed that the original 2014 budget for Public Works reflected proposed expenditures of $3.4 million dollars. It was reported that total revenues are estimated at $2.495 million. Those figures reflect an original deficit of $905,000 in the Public works account, expenditures vs revenue. The expenditures were revised to reflect a $2.7 million budget for public works. It was stated, "the public works fund will need to be supplemented." The "supplemental funds" needed will be approximately $200,000.

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