Sanitation office to close

The Sanitation office located in the Henry County Courthouse will be closed to the public on Monday, September 16th and Tuesday September 17th in order to upgrade computer software. No payments can be accepted on site during those days.

Trash pickup will run as normal on these days.

Red Cross Shelters opened for storms

Henry County will open two Red Cross shelters on Sunday.  The First Baptist Church Headland located at 301 East Church Street in Headland and the Abbeville United Methodist Church located at 100 West Kelly Street in Abbeville will open at 4:00pm on Sunday September 10th.

 

Residents living in mobile homes are encouraged to seek out one of these shelters or stay with friends / family in a sturdy home.

From the Courthouse to your House (August 2017)

“Get in the Game”

By:  David Money

     In 1988, I left the mayor’s office after twelve years in municipal government.  There was no doubt in my mind that a career in public service had ended.  Our business was going through some challenging times and I needed to devote all my energies to bringing it back.  Then, in 1999, I attended ‘The Walk to Emmaus’ in the Big Bend community near Tallahassee.  That weekend I heard a talk from a lay speaker that centered on Isaiah 6:8 – when the Lord asked, “Who will go for us – whom shall I send?”  And Isaiah answered, “Here am I, Lord…send me.” I’ve never forgotten that talk…and that became a life verse for me.  It reminds me that we are all called to missions…to serve others.  Karen, Erin and I have since been on numerous mission trips – to help establish churches in Costa Rica and Belize…to assist in the vaccination of sheep, goats, horses and dogs on the Navajo Reservations of New Mexico and Arizona…to take supplies to the poor regions of Appalachia surrounding the Red Bird Mission in eastern Kentucky.  The more we served the more blessed we became.  And it opened my eyes to how much I missed public service.

     After selling the dealership in 2011 a door opened that would allow the opportunity for a return to public service.  For the past 4 ½ years, I’ve been honored to serve as your probate judge and county commission chairman.  I’ve recently shared my desire to serve one final term.  A strong foundation has been laid but there’s still much work to be done.  We’ve just returned from the annual convention of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (A.C.C.A.)  Strategies were developed that should lead to more jobs for our citizens, better county roads, a plan for a revised juvenile justice system and improvements in many other areas of concern for those of us in Henry County.  The convention’s theme was ‘Get in the Game.’  Last Thursday, I was elected as the A.C.C.A. vice president for the coming year.  With it comes an opportunity to have an even stronger voice for Henry County on the state level.  

     Public service is much like mission work…it can and should be a ministry of sorts…a calling to serve, to meet needs, to be there for others.  Since January of 2013, I’ve centered my work around a second verse of scripture, Micah 6:8:  “Seek Justice, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with your God.”  May that be our guiding principle as we all seek to ‘get in the game.’

 

30 Day Update:

  • Probate Court Activity for July: one probating of a will; two adoptions; two involuntary commitments; two guardianships; seven miscellaneous hearings; five final settlements; two name changes and seven marriage licenses issued
  • If your last name begins with ‘J’ – ‘K’ – ‘R’ today is the final day to renew your tags and avoid a penalty. Last names beginning with ‘Q’ – ‘S’ – ‘T’ will renew in September.
  • July 31 – We welcomed U.S. Senate candidate Mo Brooks as he visited Henry County.
  • August 2 – I attended an A.C.C.A. Workers Comp board meeting in Montgomery.
  • August 3 – Abbeville and Headland Chambers sponsored a luncheon honoring Wallace Community College baseball coach Mackey Sasser and WCC President Dr. Linda Young.
  • August 5 – We attended the Henry County Historical Group’s annual dinner/meeting.
  • August 7 – Around 80 poll workers attended our poll worker’s training at AUMC.
  • August 8 – I interviewed for vice president of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama in Montgomery – the election will be held on August 24
  • August 15 – We had a small turnout (app. 18%) for the U. S. Senate primary election.
  • August 16 – I attended an Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force meeting at the Capitol.
  • August 21-25 – We attended the A.C.C.A. annual convention in Orange Beach.
  • August 28 – HCHR board meeting – noon at HCHR board room.
  • August 28 – I represented Henry County at the dedication of ‘The Rainbow Soldier.’ It was exactly 100 years ago (August 28, 1917) that 3,677 WWI soldiers departed Union Station in Montgomery.  Several from Henry County were in that 42nd Rainbow Infantry Division, including my grandfather and great uncle.  They have all now been memorialized with the unveiling of a bronze statue at Union Station.   
  • August 31 – Henry County Commission 2017/18 budget preparation work session.

 

Dates to Remember:

  • September 4 – Enjoy a safe Labor Day holiday.
  • September 7-10 – Bethlehem Walk to Emmaus (Dr. Perry Mobley is the lay director.)
  • September 12 – Wallace College Foundation Board meeting
  • September 12 – September Administrative meeting – 9:00 AM – Probate Court Room
  • September 12 – September Commission meeting – 10:30 AM – Probate Court Room
  • September 13 – E911 board meeting – Headland annex
  • September 13/14 – A.C.C.A. board member seminar – Lake Martin
  • September 14 – SEARP&DC board member/annual dinner – Ozark Civic Center
  • September 21 – Henry County Youth Leadership conference at Troy University
  • September 22 – ‘Leadership Alabama’ regional luncheon – Dothan Country Club
  • September 26 – Republican runoff for the U. S. Senate election

From the Courthouse to your House (June 2017)

‘Why Must It Be So Complicated?’

By:  David Money

     The Alabama legislative process is by no means a simple one.  Much more goes on ‘behind the scenes’ in Montgomery than is visible on the floor of the House or the Senate.  Never has that been more apparent than during the debate over the ATRIP2 legislation as the 2017 session drew to a close.  By statute, all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  Those bills are not allowed to come to a vote on the floor of the House until the General Fund budget has been passed (which historically happens well into the session.)  A way around this is through what’s known as the B.I.R. (Budget Isolation Resolution.)  Passage of a B.I.R. that is tied to a specific revenue bill allows that particular piece of legislation to be brought to a vote on the House floor even if the General Fund budget has not been passed.

     The purpose in addressing this in this column is to clarify what has become a confusing situation.  I’ve been asked about statements I had made indicating that our local legislators in the House of Representatives were not supportive of the ATRIP2 legislation (this is the bill that would have provided over $10 million in funding to make needed improvements to almost 100 miles of roads in Henry County and its municipalities.)  Here is the clarification:  I have no doubt whatsoever that IF the ATRIP2 legislation had gotten to a vote, every local Representative in the Wiregrass area would have voted for it.  I have no doubt about that.  The issue is that there was a problem just getting it to a vote.  When you have the ‘no new tax under any circumstance’ Republicans as well as the Democratic Caucus and various other special interest groups trying to work deals to satisfy their own interests, the easiest way to prevent this type revenue legislation from coming to a vote is to bog down efforts to get the B.I.R. passed.  That is what happened with the ATRIP2 bill.

      Sadly, too often the ‘wants’ of special interest groups blind them to the ‘needs’ we face on the county level every day.  My ‘special interest’ is this:  to improve our roads and do it as soon as funds are available to get it done.  Legislators don’t get the majority of calls from citizens who are rightfully demanding better roads.  Those calls are made – as they should be – to their county commissioners and to the local road and bridge department.  But, the truth of the matter is that our hands are tied financially.  No one wants better roads more than we do – it is the number one priority in county government – but, as a county commission, we don’t have the statutory authority to pass some magical funding mechanism.  That is the role of the legislature.  So to any legislator who felt I was indicating that they didn’t support the bill itself, I apologize.  My plea to each of them is this:  do all you can to get the legislation to a vote on the floor of the House; then support it by voting ‘Yes.’

 

30 Day Updates

  • May probate activity: five adoptions, nine guardianship/conservatorships, three involuntary commitments, one miscellaneous hearing and 14 marriage licenses sold
  • If your last name begins with “I” or “M” you have only today and tomorrow to renew your tags without penalty. July will be the renewal month for those with last names beginning with “L” or “P”
  • June 6 – attended the Wallace College Foundation Board meeting in Dothan
  • June 7 – attended an Alabama Workers Comp board meeting in Montgomery
  • June 8 – attended the Todd’s Farm RV Campground ribbon cutting in Headland
  • June 8 – attended the SEARP&DC board meeting in Dothan
  • June 13 – appointed by Governor Ivey to serve on the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force (representing the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama)
  • June 12/14 – attended the Alabama Probate Judges Association Summer Conference
  • June 20 – monthly administration and commission meetings
  • June 21/22 – attended the ‘Budget & Finance’ conference in Prattville
  • June 26 – attended the HCHR board meeting in Abbeville
  • June 28/29 – attended the ‘Alabama County Government’ conference and the ACCA board meeting in Prattville and Montgomery

Dates to Remember:

  • June 30 – Wiregrass Forum in Ozark
  • July 4 – Happy 241st Birthday, America
  • July 11 – July Administrative meeting – 9:00 AM – Probate Court Room
  • July 11 – July Commission meeting – 10:30 AM – Probate Court Room
  • July 20 – Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force meeting – Montgomery

From the Courthouse to your House (May 2017)

“Watching County Road Restoration Funds Disappear Down the (Pot) Hole”

By:  David Money

     As this is being written on Friday, May 19th), the Alabama Legislature is today winding down the 2017 legislative session…with ZERO help for county roads. This is especially frustrating because county and city officials from all over the Wiregrass had come together in support of a plan that would have made a remarkable difference in our quest for economic development and improved road safety.  The effort that died in this year’s session actually began with meetings with legislators last summer and fall.  Then in December, counties statewide voted to endorse a program, drafted by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA), that would generate a funding source with all the proceeds earmarked to restore county roads that are not eligible for federal funds.  As the ACCA District 11 board member (representing the nine counties in the most southeastern part of Alabama) I know firsthand the work and effort that went into crafting a piece of legislation that is both affordable and accountable.  It would use a three cents per gallon fuel tax increase to support a $1.2 billion dollar bond issue.  As has been stated, for the driver putting 20,000 miles per year on a vehicle averaging 22 mpg, this would result in a charge of about $1.25 per month (the price of a 20 ounce soft drink – one soft drink per month!)  Henry County alone would have realized $10.2 million dollars from this program – known as ATRIP2.  Our county engineer and his staff had already met with each individual commissioner to determine the roads in most need of work in each district.  We were prepared to put out proposals as soon as the legislation was signed by Governor Ivey (who remains a strong supporter of this legislation.)  We would have been one of the first counties in the state to begin shovel ready projects.  In addition to providing relief for Henry County, 20% of the proceeds were earmarked for the four towns in our county – each mayor strongly supported the legislation.  We were prepared to resurface 75 to 100 miles of roads in Henry County and its municipalities.  This kind of program is well beyond our reach with today’s revenue.  All of the local officials in our area went on record in support of this effort.  And we were encouraged when the bill was finally scheduled for a floor vote. 

     So what happened?  When that day came and the bill reached the floor of the House of Representatives in April, it was pulled before a vote could ever be taken.  In the aftermath of our disappointment, the ACCA reported that the effort was unsuccessful for three reasons: First, the members of the Democratic Caucus in the House collectively led a filibuster and prevented a critical procedural vote (called the BIR) that is necessary to move a bill to the floor.  Second, a group of north Alabama Republican legislators who ran on the platform of ‘no new taxes’ refused to support the bill despite its many accountability provisions.  And, third, the mayors of Alabama’s five largest cities sought to change the established formula for distributing gas tax revenue because they wanted to shift more money into their cities. 

     These factors influenced a few (including some of our local legislators) to find reasons to step away from the bill when we had the opportunity to get it passed.  Because of this, the citizens of Henry County are left right where we were this time last year when the 2016 session ended: driving on badly and quickly deteriorating roads with no money for repairs.

     I’ve received four calls this morning (May 19th) from citizens complaining about the conditions of our roads (two of those calls were about County Road 55.)  Three of the four callers stated that they would have gladly paid the small increase for improved roads.  They expect and deserve accountability.  And they would have gotten it.  It was my plan to publish regular updates to publicize the roads that were to be resurfaced as well as the projected cost for each road.  We would have then identified each month the road(s) that would have been the next ones to be resurfaced.  EVERY PENNY of the new ATRIP2 funding would have gone to roads…no salary increases…no new equipment…all to roads that needed it most.    

     So what’s next?  I personally believe this issue is too important to die simply because the session has ended.  There’s the possibility of a special session being called this summer and the hope, if there is one, that Governor Ivey will place the infrastructure issue in her Call. If that happens I urge you to contact your legislator and enlist his support of this critical legislation.  I know of no other answer.  I welcome – no, encourage – anyone to show me a plan whereby we can resurface the roads you drive on every day without the resources to pay for it.  Let’s get our heads out of the sand and do what’s needed in Henry County.

30 Day Update:

  • March probate activity was as follows: one will probated, one adoption, three involuntary commitments, two guardianships, two administrations, one legitimation, one final settlement, two miscellaneous hearings and eleven marriage licenses issued.
  • Citizens with last names beginning with ‘H’ or ‘O’ have five days remaining to renew your tags. If your last name begins with ‘I’ or ‘M’ you will renew in June.
  • May 1 – several businessmen met with Representative Grimsley to urge his support of the ATRIP2 program to generate much needed funds for county road improvements.
  • May 4 – we presented Henry County Youth Leadership pins to HHS participants.
  • May 11 – we observed the National Day of Prayer with a very meaningful service in the upstairs court room.
  • May 5 – Wallace College Foundation Board members assisted in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the very impressive Health Science Building on the Wallace campus.
  • May 15 – the Henry County Road Department made its final pass through the tornado damaged area in Sunset Acres – our sincere appreciation to all who have helped.
  • May 17 – we presented Henry County Youth Leadership pins to ACA participants.
  • May 18 – we presented Henry County Youth Leadership pins to AHS participants.
  • May 21 – we attended the retirement reception for Phil and Katie Craddock at Headland United Methodist Church.
  • May 21 – we attended the celebration of the 20th birthday of the Haleburg Senior Citizens Center.
  • May 22 – HCHR board meeting
  • May 23 – we held the commencement dinner honoring the nine participants of the 2016/2017 Henry County Youth Leadership Program. We also welcomed back the participants from Class # 1 and introduced the participants for Class # 3.

Dates to Remember:

  • May 31 – E-911 board meeting – Headland E-911 office
  • June 6 – Wallace College Foundation Board meeting – Dothan
  • June 7 – ACCA Workers Comp Board meeting – Montgomery
  • June 11/14 – APJA Summer Conference in Orange Beach
  • June 18 – Father’s Day
  • June 20 – May Administrative meeting – 9:00 AM – Probate Court Room
  • June 20 – May Commission meeting – 10:30 AM – Probate Court Room

From the Courthouse to your House (April 2017)

“From the Eye of the Storm to the Hearts of the People”

By:  David Money

     Just before noon on April 5, 2017, the White Oak Creek area of north Henry County was hit by an EF-2 tornado.  Sadly, there were at least nine homes destroyed and more than twenty others that received extensive damage – primarily in the Sunset Acres and Calhoun Drive areas.  But we are grateful that there were no deaths or reported injuries.  There are many people, churches and organizations to thank.  At the risk of omitting some who have been a part of this effort, I’d like to mention a few.  Henry County Engineer Chris Champion, EMA Director Ronnie Dollar and Sheriff Will Maddox and their staffs were on site immediately – clearing roads, securing the area, assessing damages and making sure that needs were being met.  District Three County Commissioner Jay Calhoun and his family brought food to those involved.  The Calhoun family and the Crawford Bush family offered their land to place the tons of trees and limbs that had to be removed from the storm damaged area.  Calvary Baptist Church and the Henry County Court House made safe places available for those who didn’t have one.  First Baptist Church paid for motel rooms for some of those temporarily displaced while Dale Ezzell and other members of the Abbeville United Methodist Church offered housing for volunteers who came in from out of state.  Disaster teams from Ridgecrest Baptist in Dothan, Watermark Church in Ashford, the Judson Baptist Association and other churches from across the area have been there to help residents cut trees off their houses and take them to county road right of ways.  Various power companies and other utility companies worked together to restore power and communication systems.  Local volunteer fire departments from around the county were on site immediately and stayed as long as they were needed.  Many groups from across the state either joined the effort or offered to do so. 

     Several of us toured the area with Alabama EMA Director Art Falkner the day after the tornado.  The threshold for a federal declaration is $7M.  The estimated damages fell far short of that number meaning that Henry County will bear the blunt of the expenses incurred in removing all the debris.  Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver – as well as the Houston County Commission and their Road and Bridge Department – are to be thanked for sending men, trucks and equipment to assist us with the tons of debris that had to be removed.  With a small road and bridge staff, we are limited with what can be done in other areas of the county while we tend to the immediate needs in the lake area.  I thank you for your patience in regard to the needed road repairs in your area until we can get back on schedule. 

      In situations like these, it takes a well-coordinated effort from all involved as well as an understanding of the importance of communication and working together to make things better for all those affected.  On behalf of the citizens of Henry County – and especially those residents who were directly affected by the storm – a very special ‘thank you’ to everyone who worked to make an unfortunate situation better.  We are most appreciative of those who brought food for the residents and the workers, those who have given financially and all who have prayed for the welfare of those who were in the path of the tornado.  It truly represents the giving spirit of the residents of Henry County and the Wiregrass region.  Thank you.

 

        30 Day Update:

  • March probate activity was as follows: one will probated, one adoption, three involuntary commitments, two guardianships, two administrations, one legitimation, one final settlement, two miscellaneous hearings and eleven marriage licenses issued.
  • All citizens with last names beginning with ‘F’ – ‘G’ – ‘N’ who failed to renew their tags in April will be subject to a penalty in May. If you last name begins with ‘H’ or ‘O’ then May will be your month to renew your tags.
  • March 31 – attended the Wiregrass Forum in Ozark to get an update from our legislators
  • April 4 – attended an information meeting at the new Alabama Power emergency staging area (the former Gathering Place in Headland.)
  • April 5 – an EF2 tornado strikes White Oak Creek area of northern Henry County
  • April 6 – we toured the area damaged by the tornado with the state EMA director and began to make restoration plans.
  • April 7 – attended Child Advocacy program in Dothan
  • April 10 – took the HCYLP students to the Hyundai plant for ‘State Industry Day’
  • April 13 – D-1 Commissioner Benton Beasley and I spent most of the day in the State House to lobby for funding for Henry County roads
  • April 19 – took the HCYLP students to the Capitol tour and a legislative session as part of State Government day
  • April 20 – hosted more than 75 Henry County 11th graders for Student Government Day
  • April 21 – hosted about 15 Lakeside Christian home school students for court house tour
  • April 27/28 – attended Alabama Probate Judges conference in Tuscaloosa
  • May 3 – Henry County Engineer Chris Champion, Commissioner Henry Grimsley and I attended ‘County Days’ at the State House (again to lobby for Henry Co road funding.)

 

         Dates to Remember:

  • May 4 – National Day of Prayer on the west lawn of the court house – 11:00 AM
  • May 5 – Abbeville Chamber monthly meeting at GSWCC – 12:00 noon
  • May 5 – Wallace College Health Science Building dedication – 10:00 AM – public invited
  • May 5 – Abbeville Chamber ‘Yatta Abba’ Street Dance – Downtown Abbeville – 6:00
  • May 6 – Abbeville Chamber ‘Yatta Abba’ Festival – Downtown Abbeville – 9:00 – 3:00
  • May 9 – May Administrative meeting – Probate Court Room – 9:00 AM
  • May 9 – May Commission meeting – Probate Court Room – 10:30 AM
  • May 12 – AUMC Dinner/Auction for Missions – AUMC – 5:30 PM
  • May 15 – final pass for debris cleanup from tornado damage (Sunset Acres/Calhoun Dr.)
  • May 20 – Headland Chamber Daylily Art/Garden Festival – Headland Sq. – 10:00 – 3:00
  • May 23 – HCYLP Commencement Dinner – AUMC-FLC – 6:00 PM
  • May 29 – Memorial Day (please remember those who have sacrificed for our freedom)

STORM DEBRIS PICKUP UPDATE

May 9, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Abbeville, AL – Due to the severe storm damage that occurred in northeast Henry County on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the Henry County Road Department will be picking up tree and limb debris.  Residents that live in Sunset Acres, which includes Lakeview Drive, Sunset Drive, Laurel Drive, Magnolia Street, Dogwood Circle, Hillcrest Drive and Holly Drive along with residents that live on Calhoun Drive may place tree and limb debris by the road for pickup.  No household or demolition debris will be picked up.

The road department will make the final pass through the area the week of May 15th.  Any debris left after May 15th will be the responsibility of the property owner.

Any questions concerning this may contact the Road Department at 334-585-2735.