Commission sets quarterly night meetings

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/7/17

The Walker County Commission formally agreed Monday to hold four of its “third Monday” meetings in 2018 at night to see if the public will turn out after work, although the first meeting will actually be on a Tuesday.

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Commission sets quarterly night meetings


The Walker County Commission formally agreed Monday to hold four of its “third Monday” meetings in 2018 at night to see if the public will turn out after work, although the first meeting will actually be on a Tuesday.

In the wake of the commission’s failed 1-cent tax vote in August, commissioners had discussed the idea as one that the public had requested often in critiquing the commission’s operations. The commission had actually agreed to the concept in November, but only adopted a resolution at Monday’s meeting.

Commissioners meet on the first and third Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the commission’s meeting room in the annex courthouse, to the rear of the main courthouse. That schedule will generally continue.

According to the resolution, “The Walker County Commission’s regular meetings shall be on the first and third Monday of each month, unless said Monday is a legal holiday, in which case the meeting will be held on Tuesday, the following day, at the same time as the Monday meeting was to be scheduled.

“The time for said meetings will be as follows: The meeting on the first Monday of each month will start at 9:30 a.m. The meetings on the third Monday for the months of January, April, July and October will start at 6 p.m. The meetings on the third Monday of all other months will start at 9:30 a.m.” 

County Administrator Cheryl Ganey clarified Wednesday that the third Monday meeting in January will actually be on Tuesday, Jan. 16, as the third Monday in January falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 15.

Last month, District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis had suggested the Tuesday date to deal with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The other Monday evening dates in 2018 will be held on April 16, July 16 and Oct. 15.

“This change shall be posted at the courthouse and shall be forwarded to all local news media who have on file with the Walker County Commission a written request for notification of the schedule of the regular meetings of the Walker County Commission as required by law,” the resolution said.

District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough, who has pushed the idea, said at Monday’s meeting, “I know each of us have had people who were concerned, especially going back to the tax vote. They didn’t have the opportunity to come sometimes. I’m glad to see we’re doing this.” District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams said he agreed with that.

In other action at Monday’s meeting, the commission:

• Agreed to a commercial lease downtown property in Jasper from Pinnacle Bank to use for a parking lot. “It’s half of that parking lot,” Ganey said. The lease will be for two years, starting on Jan. 1, and ending on Dec. 31, 2019. It may be cancelled by either party with one month’s notice. The county will pay the bank $800 a month in rent.

Williams said, “I want to go on record that it is a shame the county sold that property to start with — the commissioners who were in charge then. I can’t go on record and tell you how I really feel about it when they did it. I’m just being honest. I think that was a very stupid decision they made when they did that.” He went on to say he was surprised the county still owns its airport property.

Chairman Jerry Bishop said, “I’m not familiar with it, Ralph, so I can’t comment on it.” Williams seconded the motion, with commissioners noted that the employees have to have a place to park. “I don’t like it, but I’ll go along with you,” he said.

Williams agreed about the need. “I would recommend they build a parking deck out there. The employees would be free and anyone else could pay,” he said.

• Voted to reappoint Tim Stockman and Jeris Crump to the Walker County E-911 Board, as well as appoint County Engineer Mike Short to the board, replacing Tommy Johnson. The members will serve four-year terms that took effect on Dec. 4. Commissioners said the three are well qualified for the board.