Tag Archives: Jeffco

Indigent healthcare community forum to be held May 21

Photo of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. Courtesy Sharon Phelan Evans.There is still a great deal of concern about how Jefferson County’s poorest citizens access and receive healthcare, especially as folks continue to navigate changes made at what is now Cooper Green Mercy Health Services after December 31, 2012. The changes have left the county with an urgent care system labeled by some, including the Jefferson County Medical Society, as an “abject failure” since the beginning of the year.

Dr. Gregory Ayers, the society’s president-elect of the Society and one of the signers of the organization’s statement, and Dr. Mark Wilson, head of the Jefferson County Department of Health, will speak at a community forum on Tuesday evening, May 21, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Five Points West Public Library (directions), located across from the Birmingham CrossPlex. In addition to talking about the organization’s public  written statement, Dr. Ayers will also be discussing proposals to fix the new system.

We are aware of the fact that all members of the Jefferson County Commission and county manager Tony Petelos have also been invited to attend Tuesday evening’s forum.

The forum is being hosted by Birmingham ViewWeld for BirminghamThe TerminalUrbanham.comWhat’s Happening Birmingham; the Metro Birmingham Branch of the NAACP; the Public Health Network; the Social Concerns Committee of Noble Chapel CME Church; and the Committee to Save Cooper Green’s Patient Action and Advocacy Committee.


ALDOT shares Plan A, then springs possible Plan B for I-20/59

Boutwell public hearingA small crowd gathered upstairs at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium to learn about plans for the replacement of 6,600 feet of bridge deck between U.S. Highway 31 and the area known to many locals as Malfunction Junction.

Those in attendance did learn about how that plan would proceed, including receiving some clarification about reports of the project taking two years. The first year would allow for things like electrical power to lighting along the highway to be relocated (possibly below ground) and for the estimated approximately 100 sets of steel girders to be ordered for the project – meaning little disruption for motorists. One direction would then be shut down for up to 25 weeks during the second year, with the other one being shut down afterward. This is similar to what recently happened along the portion of I-20/59 in Bessemer (here’s the official project page) – a contract with incentives built in to encourage it to be completed as soon as possible.

Motorists looking to avoid the construction while passing through the metro area would be encouraged to use Interstate 459 since planned highway projects cannot be rerouted along city streets (though officials did announce that three northbound and three southbound city streets running under the span would need to be open throughout the process).

After the update, those in attendance were informed by Brian Davis, ALDOT‘s division engineer for the region that includes Birmingham, that both the city and Jefferson County had asked for the agency to consider completely replacing the section of road from the ground up in order to address several issues (including sound from the roadway) – and that they would be investigating the option before going forward.

There was no timetable available for when that investigation would be finished and how long it would hold up the start of the project if it was deemed an appropriate alternative.

While major construction would not interfere with the expected opening of The Westin Birmingham on January 1, 2013, it may be an issue for those planning to open businesses in what’s currently being referred to as The Marketplace later on next year.

In case you’re planning to renew your car tag today…

The line outside of the Jefferson County Courthouse, 5.31.2011

The line outside of the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Birmingham is quite long this morning, extending deep into Linn Park. It is the last day of the month (and the first since the Jefferson County Commission decided to close satellite offices once again in order to save money), meaning people from throughout the region are making that last ditch effort to pay their tag renewals.

Don’t forget that you can choose to pay your tag renewal fees virtually, though you’ll be paying an online convenience fee of anywhere between $3-30 depending on how you choose to pay – and you won’t necessarily get that tag renewal in time to avoid getting a ticket. There is word though that the county may have extended the deadline for renewing your May tags until June 30, but we’re waiting for confirmation and it’s been confirmed.

Thanks to Jacob Pigott for sharing his photo with us this morning.

Jefferson County… on the BBC

Official seal of Jefferson County, ALThe BBC World Service’s Business Daily decided to take a look at Jefferson County’s sewer debt situation as an example of the issue of potential municipal and county level bankruptcy.

One statement of note during yesterday’s interview with Jefferson County Commission president David Carrington when asked if the county has come close to bankruptcy(at 5:23 in):

I guess, if you look at $3.2 billion – or $4.2 billion with the debt that we can’t afford to pay, I have to be in all sincerity that we are  bankrupt, right now. We can’t pay our bills. We’re just not in bankruptcy. We’re going to have to restructure our debt or we will be in bankruptcy.”

Times are already tight at the County Commission as Carrington’s chief of staff, Pascal Caputo, made his first drive to Montgomery to essentially serve as the county’s lobbyist during the legislative session. ABC 33/40 reported that the daily trips are a result of the $129,000 contract for a county lobbyist being eliminated.

No sales tax holiday from JeffCo this year

This morning the Jefferson County Commission voted 3-1 to opt out of this year’s back to school sales tax holiday, scheduled for August 7-9 (Commissioner Carns was not present for the vote). The commission says that the move would save the county approximately $200,000 and at least seven jobs. The Birmingham News posted a list of cities that will participate in this year’s holiday on Monday; Birmingham has announced that it will be participating this year. The repeal will only affect the collection of the state’s 2% worth of taxes, including the 1% educational tax.

It is interesting to note that yesterday was the deadline to notify whether or not cities or counties in the state would participate. You may also want to check out the list on the state department of revenue website to find out just what items are tax exempt during the holiday.

JeffCo county manager issues moves to forefront

One issue that appears to be high on the priority list for Jefferson County delegation of the Alabama State Legislature as the new session fast approaches is the installation of a county manager to help deal with, well, you know. Both sides appear to be taking the pulse of the community to see what they think.

There is currently a rally planned for tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 9 a.m. by the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham to show support for the bi-partisan bill being introduced by Rep. Paul DeMarco. This evening (Monday) JeffCo Commissioner Sheila Smoot and Team Seven plan to hold “an important town meeting” to deal with several issues facing the county, including the idea of a county manager, the sewer debt and the recent occupational tax ruling.

Looks like it’s going to be an interesting ride this session.

Soothing banks through music

JeffCoCrap.com screenshotOne resident thinks that music and bumper stickers will help ease the Jefferson County sewer debt, though in a completely different way than Birmingham city councilor William Bell’s proposal or one suggested by Jefferson County Commission president Bettye Fine Collins. This proposal calls for visitors to jeffcocrap.com to purchase bumper stickers, t-shirts and similar items, with a portion of the proceeds going to cover the principal of the county’s mounting debt. You can also check out the Jefferson County Sewer Flush over on YouTube.

We still have a feeling that it would take a long time for the money to pile up.