Secrecy and rushed decision making equals non-transparent government. Such is the relationship with the Scottsboro City Council and the Jackson County Legislative Delegation.

Questions and More Questions - What happened to discussion of issues at a work session prior to the Scottsboro City Council voting on expenditure of funds and usage of city property by non-city entities? City Council members, what was the rush? Rushed decisions without deliberation do not support accountable, open government.

There is a law suit pending in the Jackson County Circuit Court concerning the Legislative Delegation’s use of TVA-in-lieu-of-tax-funds; according to the law suit, improper use of public funds. Have repercussions of the law suit been considered?

Will the delegation build an office space in city hall, as approved by the city council on Nov. 25, 2013? What happened to the $211,000 low bid for the delegation’s Laurel Street renovation? Reference, “Al.com” article dated January 29, 2013, by Kelly Kazik, titled: “Work set to begin on new offices for Jackson County legislative delegation in Scottsboro.”  Has the delegation’s Laurel Street plan been abandoned?

Apparently there has been no decision whether the delegation will build, renovate or stay put and spend $1,900 per month for their current office space rental. Is the mold and leaking roof included in the cost?

Delegation’s New Office Plan - Scottsboro’s taxpayers will share in the cost of the delegation’s conference room, approximately $12,500 according to Mayor Potter. Total cost of the conference room was reported as $25,000, 50 percent cost share between the delegation and city. Total cost for the Legislative Delegation City Hall office construction is unknown, but could cost the citizens another $150,000 plus, if approved by the delegation.

The Legislative Delegation’s money is provided from Jackson County’s TVA-in-lieu-of-tax-funds; these are public funds designated for Jackson County, hijacked under the “color of law” in a series of Local Legislative Acts some period of time ago by the Democrat legislators.  Republicans commented for many years: “The TVA-in-lieu-of-tax was the local Democrats reelection fund.” It seems the Republicans have learned well from their Democrat predecessors. A question begs to be asked, has anything changed for the better?

The Legislative Delegation recently opened the process of its deliberations concerning the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax-funds distribution to public scrutiny, and that was greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, there have been no public notices posted at the delegation office for the meeting’s place, date and time visible to the public, hopefully this will change.

I remember when the legislative delegation had one room in the commission office at the courthouse, no staff except commission staff. Current estimated annual expenditures for staff and services are in excess of $100,000. The more government expands, so does its’ cost.

On Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 at 10 a.m. the legislative delegation’s Discretionary Fund Committee, which includes county commission members, is scheduled to meet at the delegation’s office on the corner of South Broad and Peachtree Street to decide the office space dilemma.

Garry Morgan is the author and owner of  In the Boro,” a local blog located at arklite.blogspot.com

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