Jefferson County Commission OK’s More Cleanup Help In Fultondale

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Jefferson County Commissioners Joe Knight and Jimmie Stephens during the Sept. 8, 2020 meeting.

Solomon Crenshaw Jr., BirminghamWatch

Joe Knight didn’t want Fultondale tornado victims to miss out on help from whomever that aid might come.

The District 4 Jefferson County Commissioner suggested that a resolution on today’s commission agenda be tweaked to broaden the scope of entities that could come to the north Jefferson County city to assist in cleanup.

Initially, the resolution authorized the Alabama Forestry to help in debris removal from the Black Creek Park area, granting permission to access the city-owned property.

“It may be Forestry or it may be another agency from Alabama, like ADEM or somebody like that,” Knight said. “All this does is gives the ability for these entities to come on their property and use their park in order to get access to Black Creek.”

Knight, whose district includes Fultondale, said Thursday there could be repercussions to not clearing the debris.

“We haven’t really decided whose responsibility it is to go there,” he said. “But somebody has to get those big trees out of that creek or it’s going to back up and start flooding and start blocking roads and flooding these houses that are damaged.”

Commissioners did approve tweaking that resolution and then passed the resolution.

They also approved hiring 12 temporary laborers for road cleanup, which could include cleaning up storm debris in Fultondale. The commission debated that measure during Tuesday’s committee meeting.

Rental Assistance

Knight later mentioned that Cares Act funds had been allotted to help people pay their residential rent. He noted that storm victims are affected by two emergencies — the pandemic and the tornado.

“We spent a lot of time and a lot of money on rental assistance from COVID funds,” he said. “Now we’ve got this new stream of funds that are going to do the same thing. What I was asking is to look for a way to get these people some help, no matter what the funding source.

“They need some rental assistance just to have a roof over their head,” Knight continued. “We’re (putting) them in hotels but that’s only sustainable for so long. Unless FEMA declares we’ve reached that threshold, we can’t put somebody else ahead of somebody that’s already in line for one of those units. If there’s an emergency declared, then you can make exceptions and we got four or five units that we can utilize these for rental.”

The commissioner said the county spent nearly $2 million in Cares Act funds on rental assistance.

“We have a real emergency need for rental places, short term,” he said. “But let’s see if we can find a way to help them. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Landfill

In another matter, commissioners voted 4-1 to deny the application of C&D Landfill to establish a landfill in Mount Olive.

Lashunda Scales cast the lone vote to approve the matter.

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