Jun. 25—Calhoun County will officially recognize Juneteenth this year on July 2, closing most county offices for a long Independence Day weekend.
The U.S. Senate had approved Juneteenth, a celebration the American abolishment of slavery at the end of the Civil War, just days before the holiday's June 18 recognition this year and about a week after the Calhoun County Commission's last meeting, when it typically takes official action. The commission approved recognition of the holiday during its meeting Thursday morning. Commissioners said the county courthouse would remain open, as its operation is essential.
Meanwhile, county residents are finding new trash cans outside their homes from Arrow Disposal Service, the replacement for Advanced Disposal.
The company announced Thursday that it was partway through distribution of its new blue containers throughout unincorporated Calhoun County. Any resident registered with Advanced Disposal will receive one of the new garbage cans by July 1, when Arrow takes over garbage collection, and be automatically enrolled for service.
Those not registered with Advanced Disposal can still get one of the trash containers by enrolling in the service at the county Ag Center this Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the Arrow announcement.
County leaders had to choose a new waste collection service earlier this year when prices shot up to about $64 per household for residential trash pickup, around $20 more than before. Houston company Waste Management had acquired Advanced Disposal shortly before the price hike.
During its meeting, the commission also:
— Appointed Commissioner Carolyn Henderson to the position of chairman, with current chairman J.D. Hess stepping back into a regular commission role as of July 2. Henderson is the county's first female commissioner and the commission's first female chair.
— Approved an application for the FEMA Public Assistance Program that will help pay for debris pickup in the wake of the March 25 tornado that took six lives and destroyed property in the Ohatchee and Wellington areas.
County Administrator Mark Tyner said FEMA could cover as much as $3 million, about 75 percent of the cost.
— Agreed to buy various heavy construction equipment for the county Highway Department in fiscal 2022, including backhoes, excavators and a bulldozer through the Association of County Commissions of Alabama's joint equipment bid project.
In a separate resolution, the county agreed to purchase eight heavy-duty truck chassis, two low boy tractors and eight 16-foot steel dump truck bodies.
— Entered an agreement with the ACCA to receive money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which can be used to respond to public health emergencies among other needs, as part of the ACCA's Investing in Alabama Counties Program. The program will serve as a resource for the planning, administration, management and completion of projects authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, according to ACCA materials.
— Amended employment contracts with Assistant Administrator Melissia Wood and county engineer Brian Rosenbalm, extending their employment with Calhoun County for another five and four years, respectively.
— Appointed Tyner, the county administrator, to a position on the county 911 board.
— Authorized JMR+H Architecture to move to the next phase of designing additions and renovations at the Calhoun County Jail. According to the resolution, 35 percent of the design has been completed and agreed upon; the company can now work toward the 65 percent mark.
— Authorized purchase of 50 ExpressVote terminals, which Tyner said will help county residents with disabilities in voting. The terminals and their accessories cost $125,000.
Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.