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By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
It has been a busy time of year for the Coosa County Commission, which met three times during September and has so far met twice this month, including regular meeting dates, recessed and reconvened meetings.
District 1 County Commissioner Randall Dunham has not been present for any of the last five meetings held or reconvened.
After conducting interviews the evening of September 22, during its evening meeting September 27 the County Commission approved hiring Hollie Osbourn as the county’s new Emergency Management Services director to oversee the upcoming county-wide ambulance service. Commissioner Unzell Kelley abstained from voting on the matter.
It was reported that Osbourn had accepted the position and that her projected start date was October 1. During the meeting Osbourn stated that she looks forward to the challenges the position will present.
The approved salary for the EMS director position is $45,000 annually with county benefits of insurance, paid holidays, earned vacation, and sick time being granted, as well as retirement with Retirement Systems of Alabama, or RSA.
Following that meeting, Osbourn stated, “I appreciate the commission for their confidence in my ability to continue the hard work that has already been put forth to establish what I consider a much needed and valuable service for the citizens of Coosa County. I thank everyone for the warm and accepting welcome I’ve received. I’m excited for the challenge before me and the opportunity to bring Emergency Medical Services a little closer to home for those living and working in Coosa County.”
Related to the Coosa County EMS, two business items were approved during Tuesday morning’s County Commission meeting.
During the October 5 reconvened meeting the commission briefly discussed a 2012 Chevrolet Suburban 4×4 that was owned by the state park and was now for sale. It was mentioned that the vehicle has 159,000 miles on it and would cost approximately $12,000.
At that time the commission approved purchasing the vehicle, with Kelley abstaining from voting.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the commission further approved and adopted a resolution for the expenditure of American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds for government services for the purchase of a used EMS department vehicle in the amount of $12,140, with the resolution needed to follow through on the approval of the purchase from the previous meeting. Kelley abstained from voting on that matter, as well.
Additionally, during Tuesday’s meeting the commission also unanimously approved for Chair Bertha K. McElrath to sign a resolution for the expenditures of ARPA funds for government services of the EMS director’s 6-month salary in the amount of $28,119.
That cost includes insurance and benefits, and County Administrator Amy Gilliland mentioned that they would need to approve it every six months to utilize ARPA funds for that cause. Kelley once again abstained from voting.
Also regarding ARPA funds for the county, it was mentioned that the commission received the first allocation of funds on September 28, 2021. However, the county has not yet received the second allocation and is still waiting for those funds.
In other business, among the various meetings the commission has discussed at great length the mold issue at the Extension Office as previously reported. After much discussion, measures taken to clean and disinfect the facility, securing items that were stored in the basement, and determining that the upstairs area of the building was safe and not unhealthy, the commission took official action on the urgent matter during Tuesday’s meeting.
After doing what could be done, the commission unanimously approved for the Extension Office employees to return to the Extension Office building on October 11.
In other business, during Tuesday’s meeting the commission also unanimously approved:
- A contract with Ingenuity, with no changes, with a start date of February 2.
- Advertising for a van driver position for Peace & Goodwill Community Life Center in Cottage Grove.
- Chair McElrath signing an agreement with John Boswell and Coosa County for landfill services relating to electronics and scrap, with Boswell being who is currently used and there being no cost for this service.
- McElrath signing the Funding Agreement between Coosa County and the Coosa County Animal Shelter utilizing ARPA Revenue Replacement Funding, with the total amount being $30,000 over time and being used on a reimbursement basis.
- McElrath signing a resolution for transfer of ARPA funds to carry out a public purpose project, which is also part of the necessary paperwork relating to the animal shelter.
- McElrath signing a resolution in support of proposed statewide amendments 2 and 7, with the resolution presented by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.
For information on other business conducted during the recent commission meetings, including raises and budget approval, see next week’s edition.