Commission hears Jacob’s Well/food ministry

At the regular meeting and work session for the Jackson County Commission held on Monday, February 14, 2022, several items were voted on and discussed. Betty Bellomy/Treasurer of Jacob’s Well Ministry (JWM) was present to request an amount in funds equal to give years of their food budget to be used only for food.
Currently, JWM is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the needy and hungry in Jackson County since 2013. JWM currently distributes the third Saturday of each month at the Skyline Community Center and also supports the Backpack Buddies program.

Bellomy stated that while some distributors stopped during the pandemic, JWM continued distributing food while following the North Alabama Food Bank pandemic criteria and converting to a drive-thru distribution to protect both pantry clients and volunteers.

Bellomy also stated that JWM is currently funded through the generous donations of local churches and individual pantry partner donations.

Currently every family receives a generous donation of non-perishable food as well as several pounds of frozen meat each month. JWM is also serving hundreds of families just in Jackson County.
If you are in need, or know someone who is, they can come to the Skyline Community Center the third Saturday of the month with their photo ID and fill out an application. JWM will not distribute food to anyone not in possession of a valid photo ID. A most recent water bill, utility bill, or any other official correspondence proving residency in Alabama is also required.

Britney Williams/North Sand Mountain Recreation Director of Youth Sports, was also present to request permission to install a t-ball field at North Sand Mountain Park and drop gravel in a nearby field for more parking. Williams stated that currently there is no parking, and spectators are forced to park in a sometimes muddy field and on the side of a busy road.

At the following work session, David Coggins/Director of Parks and Recreation presented photographs and further explained the situation at the NSM park. “The t-ball field would be behind the right field area of the park in the back in the wide, open field,” Coggins stated. “They already use it for t-ball practice now. They would also put gravel in this area where people already park to make it a better parking area. I’m familiar with the area, and I don’t find any issues with this.”

The Commission approved the work at the following meeting, with the stipulation of as long as the work being done is approved by someone in the department, and that safety issues are met. They then set aside the rules and approved a motion to allow approval to proceed on the t-ball field and parking.

The commissioners also discussed a motion to approve the city of Bridgeport funding request for Riverfront Park with the Industrial Development Board. As of now, the only recipients of funds have been to fund a water project to Scottsboro, to the EDA and to Stevenson, in amounts ranging from $18,300 to $35,000.

Bridgeport is requesting whatever funds can be made available, leaving the amount at the discretion of the commission.

“I, at one time, proposed the idea that we do a grant system with this money, instead of just doing it upon request. I would like for us to consider doing that, and maybe even setting it up on an off-year from election time. I wouldn’t mind doing a $50,000 grant or two $25,000 grants or five $10,000 grants. Let the commission review and award the grants we think would have the most economical impact for any given community requesting the funds,” stated Commissioner Jason Venable.

The Commission decided to set aside $25,000 for Bridgeport’s Riverfront Park event, and they will proceed with a grant process that will include reviewing applications.
The Commission also voted on approving Southern Health Partners amendment to health services agreement for base compensation at the jail. The amendment increases the county’s monthly payment by 41,640 for an annual amount of $19,680 but allows a nurse practitioner or doctor at the jail to be on site twice as long in a month. This comes in hopes it will cut down on expensive hospital stays.

County boat ramps and safety were discussed with Coggins once again explaining and answering questions. Currently there are six to seven boat ramps with some in need of maintenance or proper lighting. Coggins has been determining if the county or cities nearby the ramps are responsible for this said maintenance. The Commission also discussed the possibility of installing some small docks to allow one to launch a kayak without having to enter the water.

Rick Roden/Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO was present to talk about the My Lake Guntersville stakeholders group and how it was started when TVA stated they would be withdrawing from spraying private properties and would be pulling funding by a third from a million dollar annual budget dedicated to helping the lake control and maintain its aquatic species.
“There are four parts to My Lake Guntersville that we deal with: invasive species like Asian carp; erosion of islands, contamination and litter,” stated Roden.

Through the WET (Water Environment Tourism) Foundation, a 501(c)(3), funds will be secured for My Lake Guntersville’s spraying of private property and lake/island maintenance. Until then, funds have been secured through Senator Shelby and TARCOG to help with this year. Just recently Senators Scofield and Livingston allowed $5 to be added to boat registration fees, with the funds going into a state fund that organizations can apply for through grants starting next year.

My Lake Guntersville also just received the results from an economic impact study of Lake Guntersville, with the results coming in at $1.42 billion just for Jackson and Marshall counties. If Blount, Coleman, DeKalb and Madison are added in, the total impact came to $1.42 billion for just one year.

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