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County commission deals with BCIDA debt

At its monthly meeting this week, the Butler County commissioners debated over what to do with a $166,902 debt incurred by the Butler County Industrial Development Association (BCIDA) that it can not pay.

The debt, BCIDA Chairman Steve Norman reported, was incurred when a federal grant for work at the county’s industrial park fell through and work had already been performed on the expectation that the grant would be approved.

The commissioners voted to borrow the money to pay the past-due amounts of the debt, and Norman assured the commission that the park was expected to obtain new tenants soon that would bring in the needed revenue to pay back any borrowed amounts.

The money is owed to HDA Construction, Woodland Specialists, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood and Carlton and Associates.

In other business, the commission approved a bid from Delta Computer Systems (DCS) to replace the computer hardware and software systems used by the Tax Assessor and Tax Collector offices.

The current system has been experiencing severe problems, and the company that installed and was on contract to maintain the system has failed to respond to repeated requests for assistance with the problems from the two offices’ personnel.

Tax Assessor Carolyn Middleton reported that she is at a standstill with her work until a resolution to the problem can be found or the system replaced.

The commission passed a resolution to enter into a three-year loan agreement with the company for the approximately $158,000 needed for the installment of the new system.

DCS also has systems in many other Alabama counties, including Baldwin and Morgan.

The commission also approved a request from Annabel Markle of the Butler County Historic Landmarks Society to acquire old bricks that were removed recently from the old County Engineers building on Walnut Street to be used in the Old City Jail restoration project.

Commission Chairman William Phillips requested Commissioner Frank Hickman speak with Bo Thagard about the number of &uot;for sale&uot; cars being parked in the county courthouse parking lot.

Phillips reported that several county employees were having to park elsewhere due to the lack of spaces because of the number of spaces the &uot;for sale&uot; cars were using.

In his jail report, Phillips also reported problems with the jail’s visitation windows, which were having screws and glass panes taken out so that items could be passed through to the inmates.

Phillips suggested having the windows welded to eliminate the screws and panes being removed.

Other than those improvements, Phillips said the jail was in good shape. He also reported that the jail had 32 inmates at this time.

Other actions taken were:

o Tabled a request from Carolyn Crenshaw for county road work on Sims Loop Road.

o Approved a request from Drug Task Force representative Chris West for $1,822 to accommodate drug investigation and enforcement work by the task force.

o Announced first aid and CPR training for county personnel, coordinated by Bob Luman.

o Passed a resolution changing the cutoff date to have an item added to the commission’s meeting agenda from noon of the Thursday prior to its monthly meeting to noon of the Monday prior to the meeting. The commissioners felt this would allow more time for all of the information needed for discussion of the items on the agenda to be gathered.