JeffCo Puts Beavers at Top of Most Wanted List on Accusations of Abetting Flood Waters

A beaver gnaws through wood for its construction supplies (Photo by Linnaea Mallette via (PublicDomainPictures.net)

Beavers do what beavers do, so Jefferson County has to do what it has to do.

During its committee meeting today, the Jefferson County Commission moved to its agenda a resolution to award a contract to Nuisance Wildlife Control for the removal of beavers from designated zones in the county as needed and directed by the county sheriff.

“It’s been an ongoing issue,” said Heather Carter, director of the county’s roads and transportation department. “Obviously, we have lots of areas of habitat and the little critters are industrious.

“Especially in the areas where we have more floodplain, they tend to get in there and dam things up,” she said. “We have to remove beavers in order to get them to stop repairing their dams. It is what it is.”

Heather Carter, director of the Jefferson County Roads and Transportation Department. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

The captured beavers are euthanized.

“We have a very robust beaver population. Really, the issue we get into is if you try to relocate an animal into another area you can create conflicts with existing populations and all sorts of other things,” Carter said. “The kinder thing to do is just to euthanize them. The Wildlife Control folks that do that, they’re licensed and very humane about that.”

New Budgeting Software Being Considered

In another matter, commissioners moved to Thursday’s agenda a resolution to buy ClearGov, a budgeting software that a lot of governmental entities are using.

“We’ve got a lot of projects, capital projects against multiple funding sources,” Carter said. “When we’re proposing projects, it allows us to put them all into the system to put that information out there to the associated workgroups to get all of it filled in so that we have real accurate budget numbers. It helps us summarize all those costs against available buckets of funding.”

The resolution that will be considered Thursday provides the software for one year for about $60,000. The commission will consider renewing the service on its customary 3-year schedule next year.

“With budget season coming up, we’re making sure that it’s a good fit and it will do everything that we want it to do,” Carter said. “We’ve done quite a bit of vetting on it already but now we’ll put it to the test and make sure that it does what we want it to.”

Preparations Being Made to Prepare for the World Games

Also moved to Thursday’s agenda was Phase 2 of the Gateway Project, which is a cooperative agreement between the county, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the city of Birmingham and UAB.

Initial landscaping has been done along several roadways leading into Birmingham. The second phase of the project provides for that landscaping to be maintained for the next three years.

“We have provisions within the contract for litter pickup, for mowing and just kind of general maintenance of all of those landscaping elements,” Carter said. “Obviously, when we’re doing cooperative agreements like that, it a takes a little bit to get agreements done. It was very important to us to get this pushed out so we can get several mowing and litter pickup cycles in advance of The World Games.”

Speaking of The World Games, commissioners moved to the agenda a possible move of the committee and commission meetings July 12 and 14 that are scheduled during The World Games to the Bessemer Courthouse. That action likely would mean the July 28 commission meeting in Bessemer would be moved to the Birmingham Courthouse.

Difficulty in reaching the downtown courthouse during the games is the reason for that proposed moved.

Tax Levy Language Changes Discussed

In another matter, a resolution was presented from County Attorney Theo Lawson that fixes a couple of clerical errors in the county tax levy. The resolution calls for correcting the milage rate from 7.1 to 10.1 in the city of Birmingham and corrects the authorizing date to March 7, 2017. The change does not increase the current tax; it just cleans up errors in the language.

Idea to Replace Sheriff’s Training Center Pitched

Additionally, commissioners heard a presentation from Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Willie Hill about a proposal to replace the current Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Training Center. The sheriff’s department would seek $5 million from the commission – likely from American Rescue Plan Act funds – and the sheriff’s department is committed to $250,000 a year to help pay back those funds.

Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Willie Hill talks about a proposal to replace the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Training Center. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

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